Witchlanders
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Witchlanders

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,900 ratings  ·  353 reviews
High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

It’s all a fake.

At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now

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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Cara
Dec 14, 2013 Cara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of high fantasy
I am going to open this with something a tad irrelevant, but I kind of do that all the time huh? Anyhow, when I first put this book on to-read I took a quick glimpse of the cover and thought it had an ice landscape as the cover, and low and behold when I actually get the book I find there is an actual GIRL on it! On that note what a cool cover right?

This book, goodness..., it was just great. Ok I need to do better than that *shakes head*. I haven't read any hardcore fantasy in a while but this b...more
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
Reasons why this book looks amazing

1. It sounds like the MC is a guy! I ALWAYS love those in fantasies! :D
2. It sounds like it's a high fantasy! Don't see enough of those!
3. witches and magic in a non-boarding school setting - immediate WIN!
4. there is a freaking SWORD on the cover. LEGIT!
Zoë Marriott
The Synopsis:

High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

It’s all a fake.

At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?

But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his villa...more
Holly
One of the best YA books I've read in ages and one of only a handful of novels I've read recently and didn't skim.* But there's not much to skim here: no extraneous details, no pointless action, no characters who don't actually advance the plot. Instead, there's an original, interesting story, well and concisely told.

There are enough well-placed clues about where things are headed that readers can feel smart for figuring things out, but there are also some very nice surprises, so that it's actu...more
Nafiza
Before I begin discussing the story, let me point out that the cover is entirely misleading. At least, it misled me into believing that the main character would be female. He is not. He has two sisters though, who might end up having their own stories somewhere down the line but Witchlanders has a male protagonist. Over at my blog, I confessed how more times than not, I feel disconnected from male protagonists and how this results in me not enjoying the book as much I could. I am glad to tell yo...more
Danielle
Witchlanders was a really interesting read, and very different from a lot of the books that I’ve read recently. First of all, no romance. (Thankfully, that means no love triangles, either. Am I the only one getting tired of them?) Secondly, no weird paranormal beings popping out of nowhere. (Well, okay, there are witches. But I mostly meant there are no vampires or werewolves. I’m kind of sick of those too.)

I found both the cover and summary to be a bit… lacking. First of all, as pretty as the c...more
Krystle
I totally thought this was a paranormal novel when I first glanced at the cover. I mean, it sorta reminds me of witches and vampires for some strange reason because it doesn’t give off the aura of “Hey! I’m a fantasy novel!” which this is. High fantasy, to be precise.

The book is told through alternating viewpoints of Ryder and Falpian. (When I first saw his name, the image that came to mind was of fallopian tubes… Don’t judge. LoL.) But what’s great about them is they’re both distinct characters...more
Evie
*** this review will be posted to Bookish on August 20th ***

Lena Coakley uses her writing to weave a potent and unforgettable story, filled with magic, adventure, love, betrayal, revenge and long-buried secrets. Witchlanders is not only beautifully written and absolutely compelling, but with its unique take on witchcraft, fantastic characters and exquisite winter scenery, it is a true gem among the Young Adult fantasy books of recent years.

The main protagonist, Ryder, works hard in the field...more
Maiga
Gosh. This book was frustrating. I wanted to like Witchlanders so much better than I actually did. It had all the makings of a very enjoyable read; good premise, interesting world history, compelling character interactions and a super secretive witch coven. Sounds cool, right? Unfortunately it never came together for me.

I felt like the description for this book was awfully vague, so I didn’t really know what it was about when I started. From reading the jacket description you would never even kn...more
Cinnamon
Imagine two points of action, like the ends of a string, fluttering around in a breeze and slowly drawing together. Suddenly they meet with fireworks, explosions, and huge bursts of color. For me, that just about sums up the POV within WITCHLANDERS by Lena Coakley.

Unlike the cover of the book might lead one to think, the main POV in WITCHLANDERS is not a female, but a male. More to the point, it's actually two different males. We switch back and forth between the stories of Ryder and Falpian, en...more
Snorkle
When I read the first couple of chapters I kept saying to myself: "I think I'm going to love this book...." but then it tapered off. I loved the fantasy elements of it and it reminded me of what I've been missing lately. What with all these dystopias and urban fantasies that have taken over my to-read pile. This was exactly the sort of book that I hoped would be positively refreshing and full of magical elements. And it was full of magic...but the story just didn't pull me in as much as I would...more
Mara
Cover Blurb: I really like it. I love the ice-blue, the red banner, the sword - which is rather prominent in the story, - and how when you look closer, you notice the girl in the background. I love all these little hints about the story itself; it’s well done.

What I Liked: Both Ryder and Farien are very good male protagonists. I loved observing their developing friendship, how they came to realize that they were, despite being enemies, very much alike, and also accepting their differences. I als...more
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
Ryder is a farmer on a rocky terrain. He is trying to get the crops in before the winter freeze and take care of his sisters and his drug addicted mother. She uses a plant to enhance her ability to cast bones and see the future.

The future she sees is grim. It fortells disaster and death. In an attempt to let her coven know, a message is sent using fire to call her coven to her. Her message falls on death ears and disaster ensues.

This takes Ryder on an adventure that he didn't want. Leading him t...more
TheBookSmugglers
Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Since his father's death, life for Ryder, his mother, and two younger sisters has been unbearable. Not only has harvesting the hicca farm before the start of the winter's deadly chill become near impossible, but Ryder's mother, Mabis, has lost her grip on reality. Formerly an iron-willed woman who would laugh about the silly superstitions of the valley folk and the witches that portend to throw bones and foretell the Goddess's will, Mabis has turned in on...more
Whitley Birks
Confession time: I picked up this book expecting it to be bad. But, you know, one of those enjoyable bad books that people love to snark at. I WAS WRONG. IT WAS AWESOME. Despite a cover that looks like it’s going to be all about a sad witchy girl finding love in the middle of winter and ignoring the plot, it’s actually about two boys from different sides of a building war and romance isn’t anywhere to be seen.

THE GOOD
Really! Romance is nowhere to be seen! Now, I like me a bit of romance, really...more
Kaye
I was really fortunate to notice this title in this month's S&S Galley Grab. Definitely one of the more enjoyable books I've had occasion to peruse this year, and one that I highly recommend. I hope that there will be a sequel.

Ryder has a lot on his plate - a farm that he has to tend alone after the death of his Fa, a so-called witch mother addicted to the maiden's woe that both incurs visions and an early death...and the dreams. There is a Baen in his head, that he is sure of - an enemy wit...more
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
Ryder doesn't believe in the power of the Witches that govern his mountain homeland. He longs to escape the hard labour of his family's farm in favour of a life by the sea, but his plans change drastically when he loses his father. Left to manage the farm, care for his eccentric mother and younger sisters, he is forced to accept the life he doesn't want. Falpian lives a very different life with the Baens. While mourning the loss of his twin brother at sea, he's sent to live alone in a tiny cotta...more
Cecelia
Love.


That word doesn’t reference the content of this book, but instead how I feel about it. In particular, I am in love with the world of the Witchlands, with its red zanthia trees, its fields of hicca, the verdant valley and the mountainous backdrop. Lena Coakley has imbued the setting in her debut novel with something magnetic and deep, full of possibilities and beauty and peopled with flawed, courageous and mad characters. I am so very happy I read this book!


Witchlanders is, without a doubt,...more
Claire
This was really lovely, and reminded me very strongly of Ursula Le Guin's YA books in its deceptive simplicity and personalization of themes like war and prejudice and entrenched cultural conflict. I'm saving my full review for my day job, but I can't recommend this enough. Strong writing, interesting characters, compelling conflict, complex themes, and lots of action -- this has everything.

Edited to add: the plot resembles very little the description given in the jacket copy. I rolled my eyes a...more
Mili Fay
I LOVE this book!

I sat down yesterday in my backyard and began to read, I did not stop (except to have family dinner) until it was done. The characters in this book are wonderful. Ryder is my favourite character of all time. He is the older brother I always wished I had.

What I love about this book is that even though the story has familiar fantasy elements and the common "two houses divided" theme, the twists and turns, and adventures have kept me mesmerised. However, the crowning achievement is...more
Anki
I think this is the first YA book I've read in a long, long time that has no romance in it whatsoever and boy, am I glad for that. I might be a little partial due that as I like the mushy stuff to be low or altogether absent in books.

What makes it so great in my view, you will ask? Everything. Just everything about it. The world building is perfect. It's an utterly unique, fresh idea. As far as I can see, it isn't rooted in folklore or mythology of any sort and that is one thing that I always a...more
Jenny Q
I loved the first two-thirds of this book. Coakley sets up a unique and compelling fantasy storyworld: two enemy races who have been living separately since a brutal war tore their world apart two decades earlier are facing tensions once more. Two young men, one a poor Witchlander farmer struggling to keep his family together, the other a wealthy Baen princeling sent on a mysterious mission by his overbearing father, must confront their pasts and face their futures, both part of a larger destiny...more
Tynga
The inhabitants of the Witchlands (Witchlanders) and the Bitterlands (Baens) have been at war for a few decades now and the spirits are heating up. Like looming war isn’t worry enough, the main characters (one boy from each faction) are also facing their own grieves and challenges. Will war destroy more lives than it already did or will the worst of it be avoided?

I truly liked Lena Coakley’s YA debut because she delivers such an original tale. Witches are feared and respected, and by their abili...more
Aylee
In short: Witchlanders by Lena Coakley is a fascinating and original high fantasy debut with a refreshing Bromance.


The synopsis for this book is a bit misleading. You would think the story was all about Ryder but it was really about two main characters and their relationship: Ryder, a Witchlander, and Falpian, a Baen. The synopsis also suggests, to me anyway, that romance is likely between Ryder and this "beautiful and silent witch" he must confront, but there is barely a hint of such a thing. A...more
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
This was another one of those blind library picks where I knew next to nothing about the book before picking it up, and what a wonderful read it turned out to be.

The world Coakley introduces is full of magic both literally and figuratively. She manages to weave in so much rich lore and detail that you can’t help but be able to picture all that’s happening. I love the lore behind the Witchlanders and Baen beliefs and I love how it plays such a pivotal role in the events that occur throughout the...more
Emilija
Jun 10, 2013 Emilija rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Awesome lit lovers
Recommended to Emilija by: Anonymous
I'm having a hard time expressing my feelings for this book. So in conclusion - this book was... stunning.

The writing was beautiful and it flowed smoothly. It never felt as if the book was disjointed - in other books it's sometimes so clear like bad jump-cuts in movies that make no fucking sense, but in Witchlanders I never even considered the thought. The plot was just outstanding. There were unexpected twists and turns, it made my heart race at times and that was freaking awesome. One of the b...more
Hazel West
Thoughts on the Overall Book: This is not the kind of book I normally read, but it came highly recommended to me by a friend I trust so I thought I would give it a go, and, as I know I have said before, I seriously can't pass up books with brotherly relationships. They're so hard to find that I have to eat up the ones I can. I did really end up enjoying it though. There were parts that were a bit odd, and I am not really a fan of magic and especially not witches (in fact I think this is one of t...more
Ravenous Biblioworm
Rating: 4.5/5

This isn’t your typical modern interpretation of witches. There’s no chanting rhymes here or potions, wands, brooms, and salt circles. The witches here are more archaic, older than medieval. They are bone throwers who watches bones for prophecies. They are Ryder’s world. Then there are the Bean who have a different magic power source: their voices, able to sing and squeeze the life from a person with a single note. Ryder’s world is torn when his mother makes a horrible prophecy and...more
Kara-karina
First of all this is a very misleading synopsis, so I suggest you disregard it.

This book is pure fantasy YA, there is no love story here. The "beautiful and silent witch" mentioned is not even a secondary character, and she sure as hell doesn't hold any of Ryder's secrets! Sorry, bad descriptions make me a little bit angry...

The language is very lively and simple but beautiful. The story is a bit naive and more for middle grade than adult YA. Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed it.

This is coming o...more
Julie Witt
I loved this book!! I am a new fan of Lena Coakley's and will definitely be reading anything she writes! Her writing is flawless, the pace of the book was perfect, and talk about character development! Even the secondary characters, which are as well fleshed out as the main characters, grew over the course of the book! There was enough action to keep you reading from the first page to the last, and I actually read it in 2 days because I couldn't put it down! The author describes the surroundings...more
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Lena Coakley was born in Milford, Connecticut and grew up on Long Island. In High School, Creative Writing was the only course she ever failed (nothing was ever good enough to hand in!), but, undeterred, she went on to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Toronto, Canada. Witchlanders is her debut novel.
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“An assassin's first murder is himself. He kills the man he was.” 31 likes
“We live between the two great silences: the silence that existed before the world began, and the silence that waits for us at the end of all things.” 25 likes
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