After WINDWITCH’s exciting ending, you had to know the story continued, right? Now we’re at BLOODWITCH and the continuation of the stories of Safi, Iseult, Aeduan, Vivia, and Merik and their role in protecting the world against the machinations of The Raider King.
Who also happens to be Aeduan’s father. Poor kid.
Safi is at the Marstok court helping the empress Vaness as she roots out intrigue against her rule. This in turn keeps Safi away from marrying a powerful man who only wants her for her magic. But what she really wants is to be reunited with Iseult.
Iseult only wants to be reunited with Safi, but now she’s with Owl and Aeduan as they travel through war-ravaged lands to return Owl to her tribe. But Aeduan, despite his usual self-healing bloodwitch magic, is shot with cursed arrows and his magic begins to fail him and he and Iseult are separated.
Merik finds himself imprisoned by Esme, the Puppeteer, a weaverwitch who can take over people’s bodies by cleaving their threads and makes herself an army of zombies that will perform her every whim. Merik’s case is unusual because it’s Kullen who is cleaved, and since they are threadbrothers, Merik is affected and suffers Esme’s unhinged commands.
The plot moves forward, and at first it seems like it’s at a consistent pace, but as I look back at the book it felt like there was a lot of wandering around for 3/4 of the book while the last 1/4 is where everything slams together for a big finish.
BLOODWITCH flips through the character PoVs so quickly it was hard to sink into the stories, which had the frustrating result of making it difficult to be emotionally invested in the characters. The only storyline I remotely enjoyed was Iseult/Aeduan, and it felt like a trudge through the others. I didn’t want to feel this way, but by now I should really care more about the characters and their stories, right? I’m thinking maybe it’s because this is more of a YA novel than an adult (this book is aimed more at my teen children) and it’s got that twitchy teen emotional drama feel that simply doesn’t appeal to my adult sensibilities.
Each novel “follows” one of the characters and their histories, hence the titles TRUTHWITCH (Safi), WINDWITCH (Merik), BLOODWITCH (Aeduan); but by book three we already know enough of Aeduan’s past that the flashbacks were boring fodder. Much more interesting was his character arc as his feelings for Iseult make him realize hard truths about himself. Merik’s character arc was also rewarding and fitting. Vivia is hard for me to empathize with, but she’s probably the next with forward personal movement. Safi and Iseult don’t change much and as a result their stories, while eventful, don’t progress much and I wonder at the purpose of.
War in the witchlands risks everything Iseult and Safi hold dear. And sometimes it takes recruiting unexpected allies in BLOODWITCH.
The magic is more interesting in that everyone has different abilities and we get to see them in action. Owl, a young earthwitch, was introduced in WINDWITCH and whose story and abilities arouse curiosity. After being separated from Safi’s uncle and mentors, the men make an appearance and she begins to question their actions. Vaness becomes important to Safi as she watches the young monarch try to keep her throne in trying times. And others who surround Merik and Vivia are at the most risk as the Raider King attempts to invade their city.
There is death, magical revelations, relationships destroyed and renewed (and vice versa), war and desolation — all very exciting stuff. But is it enough to keep readers wanting more? For me I still have enough curiosity to keep me reading the next book, but if the story continues at a “Days of Our Lives” drama-filled pace, I may give up.
- Recommended Age: 14+
- Language: A handful
- Violence: Lots of fighting and death; some blood and gore
- Sex: Minor references