Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter

Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter


Release Date:
April 13th 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who cursed a line of princesses to die, and could only be broken by true love’s kiss. You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one actually cares about what happens to our princesses. I thought I didn’t care, either. Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to the throne. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating – and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I-

I am the villain.

Review

I am an absolute sucker for a fairytale retelling, so when I heard about Malice – a sleeping beauty retelling where Princess Aurora falls in love with the villain – I was immediately desperate to get my mitts on it. This story was everything I wanted and more – it was an incredibly dark and compelling read.

The story follows Alyce – the one and only Dark Grace. Feared and shunned for her powers, Alyce has very few friends and knows almost nothing about her Vila heritage. Meanwhile the kingdoms last remaining heir – Princess Aurora – has turned twenty, meaning she only has one more year to find her true love before she dies. Can Alyce find a way to lift the curse – even though she’s the villain and we all know how that story ends?

As soon as I picked up Malice I was completely hooked and I was swept along in this gorgeous story. I loved the world Walter created for this. It was beautifully imagined and there was plenty of well-explained world-building to allow the reader to get to know the world more. The story is pretty fast-paced but I found that just kept me turning the pages quicker and quicker because I didn’t want to miss anything.

Our main character Alyce is a really fascinating one. She’s the ‘wicked villain’ but she’s so much more than that. I really enjoyed seeing her learn more about her powers and there’s tons of character growth. I found myself quickly becoming sympathetic towards Alyce and I was rooting for her from the get-go. I love morally grey characters and it was such a fascinating exploration of the evil sorceress character.

Malice might be inspired by Sleeping Beauty but I felt like this was such a unique story that brought a fresh perspective to a familiar story. I loved the slow burn romance in this story too, it was well executed and I loved seeing Alyce and Aurora’s relationship develop. Malice was an incredible read and one I know fantasy fans are going to absolutely fall in love with. This has been one of my favourite books of 2021 so far and I cannot wait to see what Walter writes next.

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark


Series:
Magic of the Lost #1
Release Date: March 23rd 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

Review

The Unbroken is the first book in an all new fantasy series. This is a dark and brutal story that follows Touraine, who was stolen from her home as a child and raised to be a soldier for the empire. Now she is returning to her homeland to help put a stop to the rebellion. As Touraine fights alongside her battalion she begins to question where her loyalties really lie – to the empire who trained her or the homeland she barely remembers? Luca is a princess doing everything she can to quash the rebellion, but she needs help to stop it while she attempts to remove her uncle from the throne. Touraine and Luca form an alliance, but will it be enough?

I loved every second I spent reading this book. This is such a compelling read and despite being nearly five hundred pages I raced through it – it’s one of those books you just can’t look away from. Clark has a really lovely writing style and it was so easy to get lost in this gripping tale. It’s a pretty fast paced book, with lots of action. It’s brimming with political intrigue and really focuses in on the themes of colonialism and racism. It’s an absolutely stunning book, that is at times painful to read.

The world building is excellent in this story, Clark has crafted a fascinating world and I cannot wait to see where the story will go in book two. This is a queernorm world and there are some incredibly compelling characters – Touraine is such a conflicted character and goes through so much in this story. I thought Luca was also a really fascinating character and it was so interesting to see two characters from such different worlds come together. Both characters go through quite a bit of growth in this story as they form an alliance and if anything that has just left me wanting more and more.

The Unbroken is a complex story that Clark has executed incredibly well. It’s full of tense moments that had me on the edge of my seat. It’s an incredible tale with a slow burn romance, tons of political intrigue and just a hint of magic. The Unbroken is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of 2021 and if you’re thinking about picking this one up, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Blog Tour: Winter’s Orbit – Everina Maxwell

Blog Tour: Winter’s Orbit – Everina Maxwell


Release Date:
February 4th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Review

Winter’s Orbit is an absolutely incredible debut that I did not want to end. The story follows Prince Kiem of the Iskat empire and Count Jainan of the planet Thea as they are rushed into an arrange marriage following the sudden death of Jainan’s partner Prince Taam. The marriage must appear perfect in every way to smooth over the tensions between the two worlds. When it’s discovered that Taam’s death may not have been an accident, Kiem and Jainan must work together to find the truth and stop a war from brewing.

If I could give this book six stars I would. After hearing so many rave reviews I went in with pretty high expectations but it was everything I wanted and more. This is a brilliantly told story, with a well paced plot and detailed world building. I just loved the concept of this book – the reckless prince who always gets into trouble and the serious science scholar who have to stop a war and understand their feelings for each other? I loved the mix of political intrigue, murder mystery and romance. It was such a creative story and I loved it from beginning to end.

Everina Maxwell has created some really brilliant characters and I really liked seeing both Kiem and Jainan as their awkward relationship built into something more. The story is told from both perspectives which I really enjoyed too. The romance is a slow burn and I liked the way that Maxwell developed the relationship slowly, giving the reader a chance to really get to know both characters. The story does focus quite a bit on domestic abuse, so there are trigger warnings for that too.

Whilst this is a space opera it also felt like a cosy, comforting read and I flew through it because Maxwell has such a lovely writing style. I think this would be a great crossover for someone looking to read more science fiction. It’s a cute and fun read, whilst still full of political intrigue and mystery. Overall I thought this was a truly fantastic debut and I cannot wait to see what Everina Maxwell writes next.

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell


Release Date:
January 21st 2021
Publisher: Raven Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.

But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

Review

Laura Purcell is one of my favourite authors so when I heard she was releasing a new book I was incredibly excited to read it. All of the books I have read by her have been five star reads so I had pretty high expectations going in. The story follows Agnes, a silhouette artist who lives in Bath with her elderly mother and nephew Cedric. Her business is struggling to stay afloat and when her customers start being murdered she wonders who exactly is targeting her. In a search for answers Agnes meets Pearl, a child who is able to contact the spirit world. Agnes asks Pearl to help uncover who the killer is, but in doing so reveals so much more.

Like Purcell’s previous novels, The Shape of Darkness is dark, full to the brim with a tense, unsettling atmosphere. I was completely hooked in by this book and I read it over the course of a couple of days. It’s beautifully written and I loved the way Purcell weaved this story of seances and murder. The story is pretty fast paced, it felt faster than either The Corset or The Silent Companions and I absolutely did not want it to end.

The story is a fascinating one and I really liked learning about the work Agnes did as a silhouette artist. Agnes is a really interesting protagonist and it was fascinating to see her attempt to juggle her business, providing for her family and uncovering the killer. I also really liked Pearl and enjoying seeing the story unfold from both points of view.

The Shape of Darkness is perfect winter reading. It’s a tense, addictive read and one you will not be able to look away from. If you’ve read any of Purcell’s other books or you’re a fan of Victorian Gothic fiction, this is absolutely a must read.

Book Review: Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Review: Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse


Series:
Between Earth and Sky #1
Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: Rebellion Publishing
Pages: 454
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

Review

Black Sun is the first book in a new series from Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Trail of Lightning. The story is a multi-perspective tale following different characters on the lead up to a rare solar eclipse in the holy city of Tova. We follow Xiala, captain of a ship that is carrying a strange man to the city. The passenger – Serapio – is a blind and scarred young man with much more to him than meets the eye. Then there is the Sun Priest, preparing for this celestial event and attempting to navigate the politics of the order. As the solar eclipse begins, the three characters must battle for survival.

This is my first time reading a book by Rebecca Roanhorse but I absolutely loved it. This well executed fantasy tale gripped me from the very beginning and I found myself picking this book up at every opportunity, even getting up early in the morning just to squeeze in a few extra chapters. I loved the complex and diverse characters that Roanhorse created in this world. Xiala was my favourite, she’s much more than a down on her luck sea captain and I loved seeing the relationship grow between her and Serapio. I similarly found Serapio fascinating, he’s an ambiguous character and you’re never quite sure if he’s a villain or not. Roanhorse created incredible characters in this wold and I’m so excited to see where they end up in the next instalment.

The world building is well plotted and we are treated to lots of information and history without feeling info-dumpy. I really loved the world and the magic in this one and I can’t wait to learn more as the story progresses. The story was quick paced with plenty of action to keep the reader hooked in. If you’re a fan of dark and fast paced fantasy this is definitely one to pick up. Black Sun will absolutely be in my favourite books of 2021 and I’m already dying to get my hands on book two.

Blog Tour: The Once and Future Witches – Alix E. Harrow

Blog Tour: The Once and Future Witches – Alix E. Harrow


Release Date:
October 13th 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 528
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Review

The Once and Future Witches is the new book from acclaimed author Alix E. Harrow. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a book I’ve been really excited to read, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. When I heard she was coming out with a new book about witches and the suffragettes movement it immediately went straight to the top of my anticipated releases list.

Set in a time where witches are a thing of the past, the story follows three sisters – James, Beatrice and Agnes as they join the suffragettes movement in New Salem. As support for the movement begins to increase the sisters delve deeper into the magic of their ancestors in an attempt to escape the forces that wish to harm them.

While I haven’t read Harrow’s debut novel I know many people loved it for the beautiful writing style. That absolutely shines through in The Once and Future Witches, I adored the lyrical way that she wrote and I was completely captivated by this gorgeous story. It is a story of sisters and family, of standing against oppression and I loved every single second of it.

Harrow has created such a fascinating and unique tale in this book. I found the combination of suffragettes and witches such a brilliant and fresh take. The story is well paced and I thought this was such an engrossing read. While I was really fascinated by the plot the thing that kept me hooked most was the characters. Harrow has created three distinct and complex protagonist, each dealing with their own hardships and difficulties. It was fascinating seeing them attempt to reconcile after so many years and see how their sibling relationship changed as the stakes became higher.

The Once and Future Witches is a spellbinding and beautifully written book. It’s the perfect autumn read with brilliant characters that you become quite attached to. It’s full to the brim with magic and I can already see myself rereading this one for Halloween next year. It touches on a lot of important subjects such as equality and racism and there are many parallels with the world today. If you’ve been intrigued by this one I’d absolutely say give it a go – you won’t be disappointed.

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V. E. Schwab

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V. E. Schwab


Release Date:
6th October 2020
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 560
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly approved me for an E-ARC on Netgalley
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s #1 New York Times Bestselling Author genre-defying tour de force.

Review

V. E. Schwab is one of my favourite authors and while I haven’t read all of her back catalogue yet, I’ve loved every single one that I’ve read. Going into Addie LaRue I had the highest expectations and I already thought this was going to be a five star read. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue isn’t just a five star read though, it’s without a doubt my favourite book of 2020 and possibly my favourite book of all time. If you take one book recommendation from me it would be to pick this one up.

The story follows Adeline LaRue a young woman desperate to escape life planned out for her – a small village, marriage and children. In a desperate attempt to gain her freedom she sells her soul to be made immortal, however there’s a catch – Addie will live forever but she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. We follow Addie through her lifetime until almost three hundred years later when she meets a boy named Henry in a used bookshop, who remembers her name.

I’m not sure I have the words to convey how much I loved this book. V. E. Schwab has such a beautiful lyrical writing style and it shines in this story. I loved the two timelines of Addie in the present and Addie in the past. It’s quite a slow paced story, but it absolutely fits the tone and the atmosphere.

This truly is a brilliant story and part of the reason I think I loved it so much is because of the terrific protagonist Schwab has created. As you follow Addie you become so attached to her, it was fascinating seeing her grow as a character and adapt to her life as an immortal. She’s a clever and determined character and even when she thinks of giving up she still picks herself up and continues.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a compelling tale, full of love and heartbreak. It’s the perfect story to get lost in. There’s already been quite a lot of hype about this one but it is absolutely deserved. A magical tale from start to finish, I did not want this one to end and I cannot wait to see what V. E. Schwab does next.

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart


Series:
The Drowning Empire #1
Release Date: September 8th
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

Review

As soon as I read the synopsis for The Bone Shard Daughter I knew it was going to be a book I would love. The premise sounds fascinating and coupled with that absolutely stunning cover, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. The Bone Shard Daughter is an absolutely incredible debut, and without a doubt one of my favourite books of the year.

The story is set in a world where the emperor uses bone magic to ensure his continued rule. He refuses to acknowledge his daughter Lin as heir to his throne and she will do anything she can to learn the forbidden bone shard magic and prove she is worthy. But rebellion is stirring in the kingdom and when it arrives at the palace Lin has to give everything to save her people.

I absolutely adored this book. It’s a fast paced tale that’s brilliantly executed and incredibly clever. There’s absolutely tons of action and I honestly never wanted this book to end. The world building is truly superb and I was completely fascinating by the magic system in this story. The idea of bone shard magic felt so unique and it was such a dark bloody magic to witness. The story is full to the brim with magic and revolution with a touch of romance.

The story features a number of different POV characters and I felt that they were all well created and developed. I really liked Lin and Jovis and I thought Stewart did an excellent job of giving each POV character a unqiue and compelling voice. Some of the characters are told in first person perspective and some in third – I thought this might have been a little jarring but actually worked incredibly well in the story.

The Bone Shard Daughter is an absolutely magnificent read and I’m so glad there’s more to come in The Drowning Empire series because I cannot wait to dive back into this incredible world. If you’ve been intrigued by this one I definitely recommend picking it up – you won’t be disappointed.

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Peace – Joe Abercrombie

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Peace – Joe Abercrombie


Series:
The Age of Madness #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: September 15th 2020
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 540
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Conspiracy. Betrayal. Rebellion.
Peace is just another kind of battlefield…

Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.

For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her.

The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply.

The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace, lasts forever.

Review

The Trouble with Peace is the eagerly awaited second instalment in Joe Abercrombie’s Age of Madness trilogy. Book one A Little Hatred was a five star read for me and it made it to my top reads of 2019. The Trouble with Peace was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 and I had the highest of expectations going in. After just a few pages I was completely sucked back into this world and ended up staying up way past my bedtime to finish this incredible story.

The Trouble with Peace picks up not long after the events of book one. I won’t say too much about the plot as it is the second book in the series but it is full to the brim with political intrigue, secrets and betrayals, war and fighting. It’s a fast paced read and one I couldn’t put down. Like the characters in Abercrombie’s previous books they are incredibly complex and fascinating. I love watching how they adapt and grow over the course of the two books and Savine is rapidly becoming one of all time favourites – she’ll do whatever it takes to win and she doesn’t care who stands in her way.

Like his previous novels The Trouble with Peace contains plenty of violence and gory scenes but there’s also plenty of clever dialogue and sharp humour. It’s a brilliant second book in the series – a complex tale with an intriguing plot, full of flawed and fascinating characters. Whilst you can technically read this trilogy without having read The First Law books, they are some of my favourite books of all time and I highly recommend picking them up before reading these ones. If you’ve read A Little Hatred already, The Trouble with Peace should absolutely be next on your reading list. I can already say for certain that this will be in my favourite books of 2020 and I cannot wait to see where Abercrombie takes the story in The Wisdom of Crowds.

Blog Tour: The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson

Blog Tour: The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson


Release Date:
July 21st 2020
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law. Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy.

The daughter of a union with an outsider that cast her once-proud family into disgrace, Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol and lead a life of submission, devotion and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement.

But a chance mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood that surrounds Bethel – a place where the first prophet once pursued and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still walking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realises the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her . . .

Review

The Year of the Witching is the dark and compelling tale of the town of Bethel, a religious community in which the Prophet’s word is law. Immanuelle does her best to follow the town rules, but she is always looked on as the daughter of a forbidden relationship between her mother and an outsider. When Immanuelle ends up in the Darkwood and is gifted the diary of her mother, she unleashes a great threat on Bethel and to stop it she must learn the dark truths behind the Church and its history.

I absolutely loved this book. It’s exactly the kind of book that hooks you from the very beginning and I did not want to put this book down. Henderson has created such a fascinating world and this book is full of beautiful writing and a tense, uneasy atmosphere. It’s an intense story and it’s the perfect read for a dark autumn evening. I’ve seen this book described as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale meets Salem’ and I don’t think I could sum it up any better myself.

The story is well paced, giving the reader a chance to understand the world and religion of Bethel. I really liked the characters – Immanuelle is a great protagonist, growing from a meek young woman just hoping to blend into the background to someone strong and powerful, standing up for what she believes in. I similarly liked Ezra and Leah, I thought they were both really interesting and well fleshed out. The Year of the Witching is a very impressive debut novel and I can’t wait to see what Alexis Henderson writes next.

This feminist tale is an addictive read and I ended up reading it in a single day. I particularly loved the dark horror moments in the Darkwood, when Immanuelle comes face to face with the legendary witches. This is a brilliantly captivating tale and one I would highly recommend. The Year of the Witching will have you on the edge of your seat, and almost certainly reading past your bedtime.