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Witchshadow by Susan Dennard – Book Review!

War has come to the Witchlands . . . and nothing will be the same again.

Iseult has found her heartsister Safi at last, but their reunion is brief. For Iseult to stay alive, she must flee Cartorra while Safi remains. And though Iseult has plans to save her friend, they will require her to summon magic more dangerous than anything she has ever faced before.

Meanwhile, the Bloodwitch Aeduan is beset by forces he cannot understand. And Vivia—rightful queen of Nubrevna—finds herself without a crown or home.

As villains from legend reawaken across the Witchlands, only the mythical Cahr Awen can stop the gathering war. Iseult could embrace this power and heal the land, but first she must choose on which side of the shadows her destiny will lie.

My Review.

Thank you to Tor Books and Black Crow Pr for my review copy. I can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Witchshadow might possibly be my favourite Witchlands book to date. Dennard brings all the little threads, hints and clues she has dropped in the previous books to make a story filled with plot twists and unforgettable moments and characters. It’s incredibly hard to talk about this book without giving away major spoilers, but do please note this will contain spoilers for the previous books in the series.

I have been waiting an age for Iseult book and it did not disappoint. War has reached the Witchlands, Safi and Iseult reunion is short lived after Iseult is forced to flee leaving behind her threadsister to an unknown fate. But she finds help in the unlikeliest of places and people, and as Iseult learns more about her past and her power she realises she has a decision to make, one that could change the fate of this war. Ancient magic is brewing, people thought dead are returning to the Witchlands and before long our characters will have to decide which side of the war they are going to fight for.

Witchshadow gives us five main POV’s; Iseult, Safi, Vivia, Aeduen and Stix. I loved returning to POV’s from the previous books but I did enjoy learning and hearing more from Stix after getting a few chapters from her in Bloodwitch. With Stix and Ryber travelling together, we get a lot of our Eureka moments thanks to them, with Stix searching for her history. But Witchshadow, without a doubt, is Iseult’s book. Iseult has been my favourite character from book one and I have been patiently waiting for her to get her moment in the spotlight. She is constantly in Safi’s shadow, but with her accepting her new found powers, as well as learning more about them, she realises that she stronger than Safi, in power if not in mind. Dennard sure likes to torment her characters and the emotions I went through alongside Iseult ranged from sadness to joy, but I just enjoyed seeing her accept who she is, accept her power and not be afraid of it.

Dennard is the Queen of foreshadowing, every single book brings a new player to the game, a new clue, piece of history, bit of law and in Witchshadow they all get brought together to make for an explosive and sometimes shocking read. All the little hints come together and I found myself absolutely gripped to the pages, unable and unwilling to put it down until I had devoured it all. THIS is the book where it all starts to make sense, though she still leave us with plenty of unanswered questions to ensure we are eager to read the final book.

Like her previous books, with Witchshadow, Dennard gives us the perfect blend of history, romance, action and lore that ensures you stay glued to the pages. Her writing style ensures the action scenes leap off the pages and never hesitate to make me feel as though I’m right there in the middle of all the fighting. But some of my favourite scenes are the quieter ones, the ones where people are travelling, telling a story, simply being. Through these Dennard ensures that you form a bond with every single one of her characters, you can love them or hate them but you know their innermost thoughts and desires.

The romance arc’s through this series are seriously well written, but incredibly slow burn. After seeing the progression between Aeduan and Iseult in Bloodwitch I was excited for their scenes together, but something happens early on that ensures they don’t pick up where they left off. We also get to see a bond forming between Vivia an Vanness, their scenes together were certainly a little humorous, neither willing to give up what little power they have to the other, but both aware of the growing feelings between them. As well as romantic relationships, Dennard does a stellar job at focusing on the familial, whether by blood or circumstance. Iseult and Safi’s bond is one of my favourites of the series, and though they spend a significant part of the book apart, their bond runs deep enough that the other never feels to far away.

Witchshadow took me on an emotional roller coaster ride, and Dennard’s writing style as well as the flow of the book ensured that I struggled to put it down ( I may have read it in one sitting.) If you like your fantasy worlds intricate with a well built and visually stunning magic system, your characters a little hot headed & more likely to run towards danger than away, your romances minimal but sweet and *chefs kiss* foreshadowing, well then look no further.

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