Susan Dennard's New York Times bestselling, young adult epic fantasy Witchlands series continues with the story of the Bloodwitch Aeduan.
Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop a bloodthirsty horde of raiders preparing to destroy a monastery that holds more than just faith. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.
“Worldbuilding after my own heart. It’s so good it’s intimidating.”Victoria Aveyard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Queen
Sightwitch (illustrated novella)
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The blood looked fresh in the rain.
Weeping, oozing, even streaming in some places, the water from the storm hit wounds on corpses that had been stagnant for days. The granite bedrock would not accept the offering, and a river of blood slid downhill, following the terrain, gathering around Aeduan's boots. So many blood-scents to mingle against his magic, so many dead for his gaze to drag across.
This was the third massacre he'd found in two weeks. The third time he'd followed carnage on the air, the third time he'd smelled wet caves and white-knuckled grips amidst the slaughter. He was catching up to the attackers.
Catching up to his father's men.
The four stabs in Aeduan's abdomen spurted with each of his hunched breaths. He should have left the arrows where they'd hit, let the Threadwitch remove them with her careful hands instead of yanking them out as soon as they'd punched through stomach wall. Twenty years of habit were hard to change in just two weeks, though.
He also hadn't expected the barbs.
Aeduan sucked in a ragged breath, rain coursing into his open mouth. There was nothing to keep him here, and the scent he'd hoped to find — the one he'd followed for two weeks, ever deeper into the Sirmayans — was not nearby. Oh, the summer heather and impossible choices that marked her blood had been here, but she had moved on. Before the attack, he assumed, or she too would now be numbered among the dead.
Before Aeduan could turn away from the corpses and limp for the evergreen forest whence he'd come, a new blood-scent tickled against his nose. Vaguely familiar, as if he had once met the owner and bothered to catalog the man's blood, but had never tucked it aside to remember forever.
The smell was sharp. Still alive.
Between one heartbeat and the next, Aeduan changed course. Thirty-four careful steps over gape-mouthed bodies. Rain sprayed into his eyes, forcing him to blink again and again. Then the stone expanse gave way to a mossy carpet stained to red. More bodies, all ages, all angles, covered the earth with a density that spoke of attempted escape. The square Nomatsi shields on their backs, though, had done nothing to stop the ambush from the front.
Blood, blood and empty eyes everywhere he looked.
Onward he picked across the bodies until at last he reached the swaying conifers. The scent he'd caught was thicker here, but the pine-needle floor was also slippery, dangerous from the storm. Aeduan had no desire to fall. He might heal from every scrape, every broken bone, but that did not mean it wouldn't hurt.
Or drain his magic further, which was the problem now. Stomach wounds were particularly unwieldy to repair.
Aeduan inhaled. Exhaled. Counting, waiting, watching as his blood dribbled out and the world fell away. He was not his mind. He was not his body.
He kept moving.
But then, over distant thunderclaps from the south, he heard a human groan. "Help." With that word, his senses sharpened, his spine straightened, and a new energy kicked in.
He strode faster. Rain splashed beneath his boots. Thunder rolled to the south. He followed a path through the spruce trees, their trunks creaking like ships at sea; he knew this was a Nomatsi road. He knew that traps like the one he'd triggered beside the morning glories likely waited ahead.
The voice was weaker, but closer — as was the scent of the dying man's blood. A monk, Aeduan realized, when at last he crossed a dip in the path where a stream swelled with storm. Three steps up the rocky hill, a fallen white robe lay stained to rusty brown. And three steps beyond, with his back pressed against a fallen log, the robe's owner clutched at wounds in his belly.
Wounds like Aeduan's, that had come from traps meant to protect the Nomatsi tribe. Unlike Aeduan, though, this man had not removed the arrows.
For half a moment, Aeduan thought he could help the man. That he could use what remained of his own power to stop the man's bleeding. He had done it before with Evrane; he could do it again. The vast city of Tirla was no more than half a day away.
But even if Aeduan could sustain such power in his current state, there could be no healing the sword gash on the monk's thigh. The femoral artery was split wide, and though rain fell hard enough to clear away blood, the artery gushed faster.
The man had only minutes left to live.
"Demon," the man burbled. Blood seeping from the edges of his mouth down his seamed chin, riding the rain. "I ... remember you."
"Who did this?" Aeduan asked. There was no time to be wasted on names or useless memories. If anyone had been trained for death, it was the Carawens. And if anyone could help Aeduan make sense of this slaughter, it was the dying man before him.
Aeduan blinked. Rain splattered off his lashes. The Purists, though foul members of humanity, were not known for violence. Except ...
Except when Purists were not Purists at all.
"Help," the man begged, clutching at the wound across his thigh.
At that sight, anger thickened in Aeduan's throat. Mercenary monks faced the Void's embrace without fear, without begging. To see desperation darken the man's eyes — it was wrong. All wrong.
Yet Aeduan still found his magic reaching out. Spiraling around the white fire and iron ore that made the monk who he was. A pointless endeavor, for there was so little blood left inside the man's veins it felt like trying to catch wind. No matter how tightly he grasped, his magic always came up empty.
"Why did you not use your stone?" Aeduan asked, and he glared at the man's ear. At the Carawen opal that glistened there, waiting to summon other monks in case of an emergency.
The man shook his head, a bare trace of movement. "Sur ... prise." The word came out choked with blood, his face paler and paler with each breath. "Trained ... better."
Impossible, Aeduan wanted to say. No one is trained better than a Carawen mercenary. But then the man started coughing and reached for his mouth, and Aeduan realized he bore the burn-flecked hands of a blacksmith, the lopsided shoulders of a man who worked the forge.
An artisanal monk. The least combat-ready of all the Carawens. Why was this man here at all, away from the monastery and away from his post?
Aeduan's lips parted to ask, but before the words could rise, the monk's final breath escaped from punctured lungs. His heart slowed to silence. All life vanished from his blood.
And Aeduan was left staring at yet another corpse rotting beneath the rain.CHAPTER 2
Iseult thought he might not be coming back. All night, she had waited — since dusk, when Aeduan had first strode off to inspect the path ahead.
The sun set, the moon rose, the rain came. The moon set, the rain subsided. Until at last, mist and dawn laid claim to the mountainside. Still, Aeduan did not appear.
Logically, Iseult knew it was unlikely that he would never return. After everything that they had been through together, why would he abandon her now? Two weeks, he had stayed by her side. Two weeks he had guided Owl and Iseult higher into the Sirmayans with neither payment nor prod to force him onward.
Viscerally, though, Iseult could easily find a thousand reasons the Bloodwitch would never return. A thousand excuses from coin to company for why he'd strode into the foggy forest at dusk and why he might never come back.
The story that shone brightest though, as the sun's first rays clambered over mountain peaks, was that he was kept away not by choice, but by captor. Or injury.
That possibility sent her pacing on the gravel clearing beside their campsite. Ten steps one way. Pivot. Ten steps the other. Pivot. She never left sight of the narrow entrance leading to a dry, cozy cave of Owl's creation. Inside, the girl's mountain bat, Blueberry, curled fiercely around the child's sleeping form, leaving little space for anyone else.
Not that Iseult could have slept had she been in there too. Sleep had been her enemy for days now. Ever since the fire and the voice that controlled it had slithered into her dreams. Burn them, whispered a leering face consumed by flame. Each night he came to her. Burn them all.
She had tried to cleave him in her sleep. Tried to sever his Threads and corrupt his fire magic, just as she had done in her waking in the Contested Lands, but the man had only laughed while the flames swept higher. Flames that were all too real, as she'd learned that first night, when Aeduan had roused her. A stray ember from the campfire, he'd said, and too much kindling nearby.
Iseult had not bothered to contradict him. She also had not slept again, and that lack of sleep had left her with no means to speak to Esme about why this was happening. About why the Firewitch she had killed now seemed to live inside her.
No exhaustion burned in her eyes tonight, though. She wanted to leave — wanted to walk between those pines exactly as Aeduan had done at dusk and search every corner of the shadowy terrain. She knew it would be a fruitless hunt, though: Aeduan was too skilled to leave tracks behind.
Besides, she could hardly leave Owl.
Either Aeduan would return or he would not, and Iseult would keep marching back and forth until she had her answer.
Iseult heard him approach before she saw him. It was so unlike the ever-cautious Bloodwitch that she actually drew a cutlass from the sheath at her waist. There were bears in these woods. Mountain cats, too. And unlike humans, they bore no Threads — no colors to tendril and twirl above them, telling Iseult what they felt and to whom they were bound.
It was no Threadless animal that stumbled from the tree line, though, but the Threadless Bloodwitch instead. The instant she saw Aeduan's Carawen cloak brightening the shadows between the trees, cool relief crumbled through her. Until she realized something was wrong.
He limped from the forest, and his eyes, when they slid up to hers, were hooded and lost. "They're all dead." The proclamation came out low and hoarse. Aeduan swayed.
The relief in her belly splintered to horror. He was hurt. Badly.
Without another thought, Iseult shot toward him and swooped an arm behind his back — except her hand met rain-soaked fletching and arrows. Countless bolts erupted from his back like the spines of a sea urchin, and now that she looked, his cloak was shredded and stained to brown.
Aeduan listed into her; his breath came in short gasps. His crystal eyes swirled red. Whatever was happening, he clearly would not stay upright much longer, and Iseult didn't want him passing out on top of her. Right where Owl could walk out and see him. The girl had a tendency to shatter the earth when she was upset.
There's a spring uphill, Iseult thought, a crude plan cobbling together. I can clean him there without Owl finding us, and I can dry his clothes in the morning sun. She just had to keep Aeduan from slipping into unconsciousness before they reached the water.
With aching slowness, she guided Aeduan up the hillside. His eyelids fluttered, his feet dragged. Each step sent the ice in her belly knotting wider. As did each arrow she counted — seventeen in total. More than enough to kill a regular man, but Aeduan was no regular man.
Still, Iseult had seen him hit with double this many bolts before. There was something else happening here. Something deeply wrong. For some reason, he did not seem to be healing. His Bloodwitchery was not squelching or cleaning, it was not ejecting arrows and knitting him back together as she had seen it do before.
"Are you hurt somewhere else?" Iseult pitched the question into his ear. Stay awake, stay awake. "Is there a wound I cannot see?"
"Arrows." The answer slurred out. Useless.
She changed tactics. "Is this injury why you took so long to return?"
A grunt, a vague nod. Then: "Survivor."
Iseult tensed. "The woman from Owl's tribe?" Aeduan had followed the woman's scent for almost two weeks now. Twice, they had found these massacres, and twice, the woman's scent had continued on. This latest would mark the third instance. But when Iseult searched Aeduan's face for answers, all she got were pallid cheeks and harsh exhales.
"Was the woman there?" she pressed. Still no answer, though, so she let it go. They had reached the spring — thank the Moon Mother — and Iseult's exhaustion was catching up fast. Fear could only sustain a tired body for so long.
Iseult led Aeduan to a low boulder beside the spring's clear pool. The creek that trickled down the mountain had doubled in size overnight, thanks to the rain. With every muscle tensed, she eased Aeduan into a sitting position. A moan escaped his throat. Pain slashed across his face; she could hear his teeth grinding.
Even in the worst flames of the battlefield, even in the sea-swept moonlight beside a lighthouse, she had never seen him wear such suffering. Gripping his shoulder to keep him upright, she circled behind him. She would have to cut the cloak off if she wanted to keep this clean —
"Hurry," he said, and with that command, Iseult gave up any hope of avoiding a mess. There was no time to lose. She just hoped Owl would not wake soon.
She gripped the first arrow and yanked. Minuscule barbs shredded flesh, and blood sprayed. Aeduan hissed, head tipping back, as one by one, Iseult snapped the arrows from his flesh, and a pile of bloodied white feathers and cedar gathered by her ankles.
By the time she removed the last, his white cloak was streaked with fresh red. His spine slumped, and the only thing keeping him from falling headfirst into the water was Iseult's iron grip upon his collar. With the last arrowhead removed, she dug her heels into the gravel shore and towed him back. She wanted him to be upright so they could move away from the growing pool together.
Instead, Aeduan toppled backward. She barely caught him before he hit the earth and her knees buckled beneath his weight. Her bottom hit the rocks, pain barking through her seat bones. Her back hit a boulder, and her head cracked hard.
The spring wavered. Her eyes burned with sudden tears.
"Aeduan," she said, but her rasping words earned no response. His magic had finally dragged him into a sleep. He would not wake up until he was healed.
Meaning Iseult was trapped beneath him, while her chest swelled with ... with something. "You're heavy," she said, trying to move him. But she had no energy left. Not enough to move his blood-slickened dead weight. His head, peaceful and still, rested on her shoulder.
He was so warm against her, even as the cold morning caressed her skin. Then there it was again, that swelling in her lungs. Warm. Fizzy. Until at last it burst forth in a shrill laugh that felt a thousand miles away. It was someone else's panicked amusement. Someone else's weary body and fire-kissed mind. Someone else's burgeoning headache and bloating scalp bruise.
Iseult was countless miles from her home, pinned to the rocks by a man who'd once been her enemy, while a wren chirruped from the waking forest nearby — and while a little Earthwitch and her mountain bat slept inside the hollow hill below.
If only Safi could see me now.
Unable to fight it any longer, Iseult let her eyelids sink shut, and the world went quiet.
* * *
Heat roars. Wood cracks and embers fly.
"Run." Blood drips from his mother's mouth as she speaks.
It splatters his face.
With arms stained to red, she pushes herself up. She wants him to crawl out from beneath her. She wants him to escape. "Run, my child, run."
He does not run. He does not move. He waits, as he always does, for the flames to overtake him and the world to burn alive.
* * *
Aeduan had been in this nightmare before. Trapped and bleeding while flames crowded closer. Heat fanned against him, smoke scorched his lungs. But instead of the fiery tent he was used to seeing, instead of the storm he knew would come coursing in, he found only blue sky and wispy clouds. Instead of the clotted stench of his mother's blood, he smelled only the faint reek of his own.
The pain in his chest was the same, though. Agony that did not want him to move, that argued with his mother's last words. Run, my child, run.
Aeduan tried to turn, as he always did in the dream to no avail. Except this time, his head swiveled easily. The arrows and death that usually pinned him down were not stacked atop him. Instead, he realized with a jolt of confusion, he was pinning down another.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Bloodwitch"
Copyright © 2019 Susan Dennard.
Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is no secret how much I love Susan Dennard’s Witchlands series. I fell head over heels in love with Truthwitch and even more so with Windwitch and Sightwitch. And then when I found out I won an ARC of Bloodwitch from BookishFirst a few weeks ago? Tears. Instant happy tears. And, y’all, I could NOT put this one down! Seriously, Bloodwitch is one of Sooz’s best books to date. I cry on any day that ends in Y but these emotions ran DEEP. And I just need y’all to pre-order and suffer with me! So there’s not much to go off of from the jacket copy. BUT. As any Witchlander would know, we’ve all been heavily anticipating the return of #Baeduan since the end of Windwitch. And hoooooo boy, did Bloodwitch deliver. We get so much insight into Aeduan’s character, and we see so many different sides of the story. The part I loved most about Bloodwitch was how it developed every character. And I mean ALL of them. It’s a big ensemble, but Sooz made it work. And the best part? It wasn’t just the protagonists that got that treatment. The folks we’d been led to believe were the bad guys get their stories fleshed out and you’re suddenly rooting for any person who shows up on the page. They’re all multi-faceted and you need to know how everyone fares at the end of the war. It was a non-stop gripping tale that wove and unwound all plot threads, until it all came together in one big climax. I couldn’t stop reading. I cried while reading on my lunch break at work. I needed to read it again. And, no spoilers, but once I hit the last 100 or so pages, it was just non-stop feels, y’all. Don’t sleep on this book, get it off the ice and DEVOUR it immediately! Witchlanders, don’t miss out. I’m sure y’all have pre-ordered ages ago, but if you’re new to the Witchlands, pick up Truthwitch and binge that series, yo. You won’t regret it. This series has already enshrined itself in my “Fave Fantasies of All Time” list. It beat out Harry Potter, guys. I’m not kidding.
Bloodwitch is the third novel in the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. I’ll be honest with you here; I only discovered this series a few months ago, but I’m so hooked. I read all three novels and the novella in short order, and now I’m already experience withdrawal from the series. I honestly can’t wait for news about the next Witchlands book. In the short amount of time I’ve been following this series, I’ve seen the fans begging for Aeduan to get a chance to tell his story. As you can probably tell from the title of this novel, it’s finally his turn. I’ll admit that I’m also exceptionally fond of Aeduan, so I may have joined in on the excitement to see his side. I loved everything about this novel. It was everything I had hoped for, and so very much more. It expanded on all of the plots and characters I’ve come to love, and even let us know more about a few others that I hadn’t thought much about. The insight was perfection. Obviously, I was thrilled about the Aeduan perspective and focus. That was pure perfection. Aeduan had been a fascinating character before, but Bloodwitch brought him to life. He rapidly became a character worthy of his own book – heck, I wouldn’t mind a whole series just for him. I loved reading about Aeduan’s past and learning more about what drove him. It helped show us just how conflicted he’s become in recent times. So many different allegiances are pulling him all over the place – it’s no wonder he was introduced as a more grayscale character at first. The tension between him and Iseult was beautifully written. Their relationship is so wonderful and yet so believable. I love how gradual the changes were. I honestly don’t think either character would have been able to point out any of the changes as they happened, but that’s what made it all so perfect and real. Safi’s plot was absolutely amazing as well. I loved everything about it. From her trying to find a solution to her current predicament…to her trying to learn more about her abilities and their limitations. I personally am fascinated by her truthwitchery, so I particularly loved these parts of the story. The new perspectives were oddly refreshing. I still loved every chapter dedicated to Aeduan, Iseult, Safi, and Merik, but I also really enjoyed learning more about the other characters involved in this very complex story. Their perspectives helped to provide a better idea of what was happening in other locations, as well as showing us the depth of the dangers occurring. This was a tense and brilliant read. I feel like every chapter built on the previous one. The worldbuilding in the first books helped support I ended up reading Bloodwitch in one sitting, and I’ll be honest with you. I kind of regret that. Because now I have no more Bloodwitch to read, and I can’t exactly read it for the first time again, now can I? It was absolutely worth the read and even worth the wait. Now the only problem is going to be waiting for the next novel. I know who I’m hoping it’ll be focused on…
This book was amazing! It completely lived up to my expectations and more. There’s only so much I can say without intense spoilers so, here are my top 4 reasons you should read this book: 1. The writing is compulsive. The tension running through the pages meant I read far later than I should have. I just couldn’t put the book down because I was snared into the story and world. WINDWITCH feels a little like three separate stories, but BLOODWITCH, which has more story lines, feels like a single narrative. The villains are brought front and centre – and they’re terrifying. 2. The twists! There are so many twists and turns to this story, revelations that shake the series to the core. It’s part of why it’s such addictive writing, but prepare for everything you think you know about the Witchlands to be challenged. 3. The relationships Obviously, the Aeduan/Isuelt relationship is the main one explored here – and it is toe-curling brilliant with so many ups and downs that feel natural. However, the other relationships are just and fun and surprising: Safi and Vaness, Safi and Habim, Merik and Kullen, and Vivia and her father to name a few. 4. The ending. It was utterly stunning, fast-paced and continually surprising me. Obviously, this is the most spoiler-prone part to talk about, but it was brilliant. The stakes are up, while the story has a satisfying conclusion that leaves you clamouring for more. I can’t wait for the next book now!
First, if you haven’t read Sightwitch, do it before reading Bloodwitch. You’ll have a much better understanding of events in Bloodwitch if you’ve read Sightwitch. Bloodwitch picks up 2 weeks after Windwitch. We start with Safi helping Vaness as part of their bargain, Vivia ready to take the crown (but will they let her??), Merik looking for answers but Kullen/the Fury interferes, and of course, there’s Iseult, Owl, and Aeduan searching for Owl’s family. We also see more of the Raider King and his objective. Each on their own mission, they may meet up again, or they may be further separated. You’ll meet characters you admired but they won’t be what you expect because Susan Dennard is a master at distracting while cutting the purse strings for the full shock effect in her scenes. You’ll constantly be asking yourself “how did I not see that coming?” Then you’ll go back and realize the hints were there all along, you were just distracted and didn’t pick up on them the first time. This book really felt like playing an adventure game – the world is so complex and each character is on a journey and you have no idea what to expect. You don’t know if alliances will work out or if enemies are really allies. There were twists that I never expected, characters I cared for and now can’t believe and may not be able to forgive, and so many more questions than when I started! You would think I would have learned after Windwitch, but I misjudged some characters and have a new set of favorites. The ending is both shocking and relieving. I love how this series always seems to shock and relieve at the same time.
5 ~ "Te Varuje" ~ Stars Once again the story picks up right after book 2 but the pacing is fast, suspenseful and packed full of intensity. If (like me) you have been curious, ehrm... *dying! cough cough* about Aeduan the Bloodwitch, this book will answer so many questions and make you fall in love with this baddie turned hero really early on. I liked Aeduan before, I thought he was interesting, mysterious and he instantly captivated me. But finally getting his background and finally getting quality page time with him and his POV was more than I expected and I loved every minute of it. Of course we also get my (tied with Aeduan for 1st place) favorite character, Iseult. She is still a complete bada$$ and I loved every moment with her in it. S.D. continues to feed my Iseult and Aeduan obsession and I know I'll be re-reading this one soon if only because I'll need my fix of these two way before the next installment is due out. I'm really hoping the next one will be Iz's story. There is so much about her that we still don't know and the way things ended! Ugh!!! Dying!!! This read was so worth it and I'm just as happy to get Safi and Merik's POVs in this book. I'm still holding out for an epic reunion for these two and can't wait for it *fingers crossed* to happen. Safi has grown by leaps and bounds in this one and I love seeing her grow into her potential. Merik continues to break my heart, he is such a resilient character and he deserves a happy ending. On all fronts. If ever there was a character born to be a hero, it's Merik. I will admit that the politics did snag my interest here, way more than any of the past books. Things are not as they once seemed and the questions and doubts that spring up added a good dose of intrigue to the story and helped pick up the pace. There are so many new things and people cropping up and I'm seriously anxious to know more. Shout out to Owl and Blueberry! #DynamicDuo Vivia - who I admit, was hard to warm up too in the previous books, came out on top this round. She still isn't a favorite character (cuz come one! Beaeduan and Iz!) but I loved her growth. Her POVs really helped shed some light on her inner workings, Lol. I admit I did speed read through her sections because . . . I needed all the Baeduan/Iseult moments I could get! #SorryNotSorry. I will say that I really liked her and Vaness together. I know she's got Stix but I was really feeling the chemistry between the Ironwitch and the Tidewitch during their negotiations. Would I recommend? I fell in love with this series and would highly recommend. If you liked the The Truthwitch and managed to get through the slower paced but still captivating Windwitch, you'll LOVE Bloodwitch. Trust me. This has got to be the best book in the series so far! This was the perfect blend of action, suspense and magic. The witchlands world is growing and expanding right along side the characters that flesh out the story and I'm so deeply immersed in this series that I feel the withdrawal so painfully! It continues in the same pattern as the previous books with a handful of different POVs - which usually doesn't work for me because I feel like too much goes on and I never get a chance to really connect with any one character. That is so not the case in Bloodwitch. I cared about everyone. my problem was that I would get sucked into one POV only to stop and have it switch to someone else who I would again get really into, only to have it stop again. It was a vicious
Before you read this review, I want to warn you for any possible spoilers. While I will try my best to not say anything specific, because this is book 3, I cannot guarantee that I won't say something if you haven't read the books before. Another note before you read this review - I love anything Sooz writes. Period. Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard has been an anticipated book since the first book, Truthwitch. As soon as I met Aeduan, I knew I wanted to know his story. He is one of the more complex characters that I've meet in a fantasy setting, and his magic? Well, that just makes him interesting. Bloodwitch takes place almost immediately after the second book, Windwitch. The turn of events that take place in the end of Windwitch just catapults us into the beginning of this book, and wow, we take off running. Bloodwitch is told through multi-POV's (point-of-views), and I really appreciate that about these books. I don't normally prefer POVs, mostly because I'm weird, but in The Witchland books, I really am grateful for it. Not only do we understand each character, but we see similar and contrasting thoughts, actions, and emotions. The events don't always happen simultaneously, but in this timeline, it's like seeing different camera angles in a movie. Let's talk characters. Safi and Isuelt are the star players of these books. Despite the prophecy, these two started it all. Their friendship, the bonds of their sisterhood, and every moment in time that surround these two are what catapult the different events in these books. But, without Merik and Aeduan, I would be lost. Without these two strong characters, I would be missing the other side of the coin, so-to-speak. The balance between these four characters are what make me appreciate the details and timeline of these books. I can only fathom what it takes to get the details of this book turned into a book. I mean, the little cookie crumbs left everywhere are so well placed, that when I realize what is happening , and that I should have known it all along, well *insert head explosion emoji here*. Guys, I loved this book. It has such a great mix of all the right elements. I appreciate this series, and am mildly obsessed. You need Bloodwitch, and The Witchland series in your life.
Reading the first two books in the Witchlands series are crucial to being able to follow what's going on in Bloodwitch. If you have, then the third book in the series is even better than the first two books. In Bloodwitch the two main characters, Safi and Iseult, are both trying to survive to reunite with each other as war spreads faster and faster over the Witchlands. One of the things that Dennard has done so well with this series is force you to constantly reevaluate just who exactly the good people and the bad people are by how much she allows you to perceive of their motives and character. Both Aedeun and Vivia have much more depth to them than she initially allows you to see in the first and even second book in the series, making them interesting and compelling characters. By the end of the book the story seems to practically fly off the page, as war threatens to encompass everyone in the Witchlands. I can't wait for the next book!
I love this book soooo much! I really enjoyed it and I just have so many feels about it!! Bloodwitch is definitely my favorite book in the series so far. Not surprising since Baeduan is tied with Iseult for my favorite character. Note: Spoilers ahead~ It was really great learning more about Aeduan and finding out why he acts the way he does. Even better, he finally learns make his choices and overcome the monster he believes himself to be. It was so amazing reading about how Aeduan and Iseult's relationship developed, in spite of the fact that they were apart for most of the book. So many things happened in the book that i was waiting for such as Safi and Merik finding out that they were both alive and of course, Safi and Iseult reuniting! I adore Safi and Iseult's friendship so much! I can't wait for Iseult's book!!!!
This was maybe the best thing to happen since chocolate was invented. I loved, LOVED , the first two books in this amazing, action-packed series. When I heard there was another one, I cried. I kid you not. I sat down on the floor and cried like a little girl. I was so happy and excited. Susan Dennard is an amazing author with characters that leap off the page and action and mystery and twists and turns that make me tear my hair out and scream. Her world-building is out of this world (ha, ha). Her character development is beautiful. Aeduan and Iseult are both strong, dependent protagonists who you can't help but love. This book was emotionally charged, more so than the first two, I think. It was well-written and poignant and just beautiful. I read anything by this author and love it, but this one was my favorite by far.
I will show up to your house and read every one of these out loud to you just so I can relive the joy of the first read. After the perfect setup at the end of Windwitch, we enter Bloodwitch knowing all our players, where they stand, what they want, and where they need to go. Then, as we all expect and hope for in an epic fantasy, Susan Dennard breaks everything . Chapter by chapter, we rotate between all our favorites. There are poisoned arrows, exploding buildings, horses racing through forests, and trebuchets launching seafire. Mountain bats hover, hiss, and fly. Monks betray monks. Monks betray their vows. Hell, everyone breaks a promise at some point! Interrogations, sacrifices, hard choices and thread families knit together and come apart at the seams. This book has deaths, near deaths, minor injuries, and near-misses. Truths and lies and everything in between! There is no rest at the end of the 20-year truce and the entire Witchlands wobbles towards war. Coming into the last 6 chapters, my favorite of the series was still Sightwitch which deftly weaves a dual narrative that brings the past and present together. And Bloodwitch is made 1000 times more enjoyable having read Sightwitch. But then chapter 55.... oh boy. And then chapter 56... momentum building. Susan hits us hard in chapters 57, 58, and 59. Oh my lord! 59! And then we settle into a stunned plateau to marvel at what was given to us. When I think about all that came together in the last six chapters, after all 54 amazing chapters before them, I just stand back and clap. Susan Dennard has delivered a truly marvelous addition to her Witchlands series. One that will forever have a place on my shelf and, probably, a near annual re-read.
Okay: where do I even begin? How do I put my feelings into words? This book was PHENOMENAL. By far the best book in the series yet - and that is saying a lot! It has everything you could ever want: worldbuilding at an epic scope, characters that make you laugh and cry and rage, reunions, separations, romance, friendship, life-and-death moments, and such HEART. I'm still processing all of my feelings because there are so many of them. If you started the series and have any doubt about continuing, do it. Read them. They just keep getting better and better. I plan on doing many re-reads to catch clues and hints at where the series is going from here!
It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!! Bloodwitch released today and OH. MY. GOODNESS. Writing this without spoilers, is slightly a challenge, but at the same time you all need to know how amazing this series is. If you aren’t caught up you can check out my reviews for Truthwitch, Windwitch, and the novella (book 2.5) that blew my freaking mind Sightwitch. Seriously I’d just go read them. Let me start with I cried. And screamed, and yelled, and had to set the book down for bit to just BREATHE. Sooz has packed you the tightest plot, full of details, information, action, drama, and so many twists and turns I don’t know how she condensed it into a single novel. I always appreciate her writing, but this is one of the most beautifully woven pieces of craft I’ve read. Sooz is able to pack more nuanced character interaction, snippets of the impending catalyst, tantalizing hints of backstory, and romantic tension. Something that never ceases to amaze me is the absolute fluidity in which five different points of view are woven together. Not only how clear each voice is, and how they each have their own story and role to play, but Bloodwitch kicks the character growth up about 10 notches. You know she has to do this through hardship and different circumstances that teach lessons, and our poor cinnamon rolls are rather put through the ringer. This book made me so proud of Vivia, Merik, Safi, Iseult, and Aeduan. Team, the strands are finally starting to come together. All the build up we’ve been getting, you can see the hint of an outline. This means that yet again, I am blown away by the amount of worldbuilding. You would think that by book four, there wouldn’t be much more about the world, the magic, the politics that can be exposed. You would be wrong. I’ve said before that Sightwitch took my blinders off to the deep complexities within the Witchlands, and Bloodwitch continued with that fact. The momentum that was building toward the War has taken on a new shape, and the players pulling the strings are brilliant in their manipulations. This has been done with such care, that it is beyond apparent how real each character within the book is, and how important they are to the overall plot line. All of this just highlights the level of detail, and brilliance that took to create this world. I enjoy complex books, and Sooz’s Witchlands have utterly stolen my heart. Not only can she deliver a complex and mysterious plotline, with fantastical world building, but she gives you flawed and lovable characters tied up with the perfect amount of humor, and sprinkled with drama. Her writing keeps you flipping pages–or tapping the screen–until you run out of words. I without a doubt of hesitation hope you dive in to this series. It’s easily one of my favorites of all time, and I hope it becomes one of yours too.
Bloodwitch is the book all Witchland fans have been waiting for, and author Susan Dennard does not disappoint! Everyone's favorite Bloodwitch Aeduan takes center stage, but each point of view we see offers plenty of excitement, pulse-pounding action, and heart-wrenching character growth. While this is the third full novel in the series, many elements introduced in the Sightwitch novella become very prevalent here, so be sure to have read that first in addition to the other two full novels (best reading order is Truthwitch, Windwitch, Sightwitch, Bloodwitch). There's something about the Witchlands books that continues to feel so fresh and immersive in Bloodwitch. The world is extremely well-developed - each nation/empire has its own agenda, history, strengths and weaknesses, and Dennard does an exceptional job of not drawing a stark line between "good guys" and "bad guys." The characters read like real people - they all have lovable quirks and defining flaws, they all make mistakes, some of them try to learn and be better, and some don't, but nobody is presented as inherently morally superior. Bloodwitch does an exemplary job of juggling plotlines and perspectives that span continents without the pacing dragging or one point of view overwhelming the others. While each character arc feels unique, the overarching theme of the book is agency, and how people react when theirs is taken away. If you want an action-packed high fantasy series with complex characters, amazing friendships, tenuous alliances, slow burn romance and incredible magic, you should definitely pick up the Witchlands books!
Can't Wait for the Next Book in the Series I cannot wait to read the next book in this series! I had read Truthwitch and Windwitch before entering this giveaway and really enjoyed them. I enjoyed reading the third installment, Bloodwitch, almost as much. The middle of the book was a bit slow, but the rest of it was very action-packed with a cliffhanger ending. I am still trying to figure out Leopold's place in the book and how Safi's uncle Eron is going to reappear. I love how Aeduan and Isuelt's relationship has progressed! I enjoy reading from all of the different characters' points of view in this book. I feel like in other books with multiple points of view that you lose bits of the story, but I do not get that feeling with this book. I must have the next book!
I won an ARC from BookishFirst so thank you to them and the publisher. All opinions are my own. Wow, what an incredible ride! I don't think I can accurately express how much I enjoyed this book. There was so much stuff going on and things happening, gears sliding into place, people meeting and separating, I don’t know how it was all packed in. So much action, adventure, betrayal, sacrifice….all these threads are weaving together to make this amazingly complex and wonderful tapestry. I cannot wait to see the full scope and see what happens to all my favorites. The writing simply draws you in and keeps you spellbound in the story. I want to talk about certain scenes, but I can’t because I don’t want to ruin the wonderful experience for anyone else. How am I going to be able to wait for the next book?
**Thank you so much to the publisher and BookishFirst!** I was so happy to see when I won this that it not only was Bloodwitch, but also Windwitch and Truthwitch. I just love the covers. And the books were action packed from the beginning. It’s so nice to see such strong female characters written, especially in young adult books. These books are different than anything else I’ve read. I would love to see a movie made of them. This author has a great imagination. And I hope she continues to write in this world for a long time to come. I’m going to be sure and pick up any and all others that are written. I really wish I would’ve had these to read way back when I was a young girl. This was such a treasure and if anyone reading this review doesn’t know about BookishFirst, please google it and sign up. There is no catch and it cost nothing. I love them.
I can’t say enough good things about this entire series. I won all 3 books in the series, not just Bloodwitch, through BookishFirst, so I read them back to back and they are a-freakin-mazing. The worldbuilding is stellar. I mean, incredible. From top to bottom, no detail was left unfinished, no rock unturned in creating this universe for us to play in. The magic is unique, original, and fun. The characters are deeeeeeep. I delved into these characters so hard I wanted to wear their skin. Okay, that’s a little Buffalo Bill, but you get the point. They’re beautiful, they’re brilliant and they’re real. The plot is so fast it’ll give you whiplash. I couldn’t wait to get to the end, but I also wanted it to last forever. I’m already having reader’s remorse that it’s over, and I want the next book now! This is the kind of series I could read over and over again because the imagery is so gorgeous. This is the kind of series you sink into and live for a while. I’m not rehashing the plot for you here, go read the dust jacket. Also, surprise! They’re making it into a live action show soon, with the Henson company so YAY! I can’t freaking WAIT for that. Ugh. I need moar of this series now. It’s technically YA, and it really does fit the bill. I was physically straaaiiining for some of the characters to just smooooch already. Just go read it. It really is great.