Windwitch is the second novel in The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard and is a forward moving and fast paced follow up to its predecessor that draws readers once more into an exhilarating and dangerous world of magic and danger!
After the events of the first book, Safi and Iseult find themselves separated by land and sea with Safi held prisoner by the Marstok Empress and Iseult racing against time to find her Threadsister all the while finding herself haunted in dreams by the mysterious Puppeteer. Facing with limited options, Iseult finds herself forming an uneasy alliance with the Bloodwitch Aeduan; Aeduan will track Safi in exchange for the money Iseult has stolen from him but as Iseult and Aeduan work together to cross the Witchlands, there are dangers looming across the Witchlands no one expected…..Prince Merik is a dead man, or at least that’s what everyone believes. When an explosion left him burned, scared and gravely injured, Merik found himself embracing the anonymity being “dead” allows him to have. Wanting to prove his sisters treachery, Merik sets out with a close companion to prove her deceit, but when it becomes clear something more sister is going on in Nubreva will Merik be able to find the power to fight for his people, or will he be lost to his own misery and anger?
After the thrilling ending of Truthwitch, I jumped straight into Windwitch to once more become lost in the world Susan Dennard has created. I have to admit I was a bit perplexed by the beginning of Windwitch; mainly due to the changes in Merik and the shocking events that occurred to him in the week between when the last book concluded and when Windwitch began. It was almost like reading about a totally different character at times—so very different from the Merik I had met in Truthwitch, although if I’m being honest, I can see the reasoning behind it.
As Windwitch allows readers to discover more of Merik as the title character, and Susan Dennard to develop the storyline, Windwitch also allows readers to get to know some of the other characters a great deal more too including Aeduan and Merik’s powerful sister Viva, who is a surprise in many ways.
A rich and poignant fantasy story, I’m very much enjoying how this series is developing. I’m a romantic at heart, so I’m hopeful for a happy ending for Merik and Safi down the track and look forward to seeing something powerful develop between Iseult and Aeduan; the first hints of a budding romance between them are already there. But I’m also very intrigued by the other aspects of the story; the mysterious and powerful Puppeteer, this dangerous shadow man Merik has been dealing with, Owl, the Hell-Bards, Caden and even the empress of Marstok, Vaness….lots of different aspects coming together to make me want more.
Though Windwitch seemed very different to Truthwitch, it opens a lot of possibilities to the series and I’m beyond excited for the third book to be released, Bloodwitch. I really do love Aeduan, so I can’t wait to see him in a starring role and continuing to explore this world that Susan Dennard has so wonderfully crafted....more
We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan is a riveting and emotionally rich tale of two mismatched teens who find solace in each other when their mistakes see them brought together unexpectedly.
When both Jess and Nico are caught stealing in two separate incidents, it is decided they will perform community service as punishment. For Jess, this means escaping her troubled home life for a few hours while she picks up trash, while for Nico, who has recently moved to England with his mum and dad it means he can pretend he’s not being forced to move back home and expected to marry a virtual stranger in only a few weeks’ time. Jess and Nicu couldn’t be more different, but as they bond, both teens find comfort in the other and soon Jess and Nicu can’t deny how happy the other makes them feel.
You know what, We Come Apart was a really emotional novel at times. There were moments when this book absolutely slayed me; especially when Nicu experienced the painful and unnecessary bullying he did and Jess’s home life continued to be filled with abuse. Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan do a really good job with We Come Apart and managed to captivate their reader throughout the course of the story really well.
On the whole, I don’t generally read novels told in verse, nor would I typically seek them out, but for Sarah Crossan I’ll make an exception considering I’ve never had anything but fantastic experiences when reading her books and quite enjoyed her previous novel, One, also told in verse. And We Come Apart follows in this fashion, proving to be a wonderful reading experience with all its emotion, authenticity and characterization.
Jess and Nicu had two very different and distinct voices. I don’t know what the writing process was between Crossan and Conaghan was; whether they wrote one character each or shared the two personalities between them, but whatever it was, the end result was really impressive. And really worked. Nicu’s fractured, but still delightful English was interesting to read and reflected Nicu’s struggles to fit in and become a part of an English society very effectively. I liked Jess enough, but goodness did I love Nico. Nico just made me want to scoop him up and protect him from the world as the story unfolded.
Delightfully sweet, but moving and emotional, We Come Apart is a quick read that will really make you feel. The ending was bittersweet but true and still leaves me pondering what might have been and what might be for these two teens I've come to love. Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan create a wonderful tale in We Come Apart and I definitely recommend!...more
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard is a beautifully told story of first love, personal discovery and powerful social issues woven together with an uplifting storyline and adorable romance.
Sixteen year old Steffi has selective mutism. Her whole life has been a struggle to communicate and overcome her inability to talk to those beside her family and best friend. With her best friend attending a different school for the first time ever, Steffi is facing the school year by herself. And then she’s introduced to the new boy. Rhys is deaf and Steffi’s ability to use basic sign language means she's automatically asked to show him around and help him adjust. Rhys is the one person who doesn’t care that Steffi can’t talk and as the two quickly become friends, romance soon blossoms, with Steffi beginning to learn that her voice isn’t as silent as she first thought.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder was a really beautiful book to read. Though this is my first book by Sara Barnard, I was really impressed with how she detailed the story. I thought A Quiet Kind of Thunder was the perfect blend of entertainment and thought provoking social issues. The romance within the story was so very adorable to witness with Steffi and Rhys awkward, sweet and very endearing. Barnard paints first love so sweetly and honestly with the two teens genuinely falling in love and experiencing everything that comes with that throughout the course of A Quiet Kind of Thunder.
As the story unfolds through the eyes of Steffi, I thought Barnard managed to capture Steffi’s voice perfectly. She felt like an authentic sixteen year old girl, and I was easily able to follow and enjoy her story as she navigated all the typical things in life teenagers experience; boyfriends, friendship, kissing, parties, sex, relationships, as well as her own unique issues that came in the form of her selective mutism.
And Rhys! What a cutie! As Steffi’s love interest, Rhys was a wonderful character to get to know within the story. Not even taking into consideration his deafness, Rhys was kind, shy, adorable and so very loveable. I loved being able to see his addition to Steffi’s life and how he helped bring her out of her shell and made her happy. Rhys was a happy individual who seemed to really embrace all the positive things in life, rather than bad things---and I loved that!
I have to give Sara Barnard props for so wonderfully exploring the social anxiety that comes from selective mutism and highlighting how uncontrollable it is in A Quiet Kind of Thunder. The word selective is almost misleading when you think of selective mutism as Barnard details how encroaching it is in Steffi’s life and how illogical it can be. Steffi doesn’t want to be that way, she doesn’t want to be unable to talk; she’s not quiet because she necessarily wants to be that way….she just can’t control it.
Oh, and can I just say how fabulous I thought Steffi’s support system was in this book! Steffi’s parents are divorced and are both remarried but throughout A Quiet Kind of Thunder, Barnard often brings all four of Steffi’s parental figures together to help and support Steffi. It was fantastic to see how this all functioned and I found it very commendable that an author would write such a well-functioning family unit. It’s such a nice change from all the broken and dysfunctional families you read about.
Rich and poignant, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a fantastic addition to the YA genre. There’s so many acts of growth and discovery throughout the story and Sara Barnard ends A Quiet Kind of Thunder in a simple, hopeful way that leaves me satisfied. Beautiful from beginning to end, I highly recommend this story. ...more