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(Ashen Torment #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  605 ratings  ·  124 reviews
From celebrated fantasy author Den Patrick comes WITCHSIGN, the first novel in a fresh and exciting new fantasy trilogy

It has been seventy-five years since the dragons’ rule of fire and magic was ended. Out of the ashes, the Solmindre Empire was born.

Since then, the tyrannical Synod has worked hard to banish all manifestations of the arcane from existence. However, childre
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by HarperVoyager UK
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  605 ratings  ·  124 reviews

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Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, 2018-reads, fantasy
An engaging introduction to a very promising series!

‘What if Harry Potter was sent to Russian Hogwarts only to find out he was a Muggle?’

The answer to this bizarre question is given in a most elaborate and gripping manner by Den Patrick in his new series, The Ashen Torment. Witchsign follows the stories of two siblings, Steiner and Kjellrunn, who live in a godforsaken province of the Scorched Republics. The dragons are long dead, but the Solmindre Empire looms over the continent threatening, kee
Robin Hobb
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Publisher
As always, the honesty post: I received this book free as an Advance Reading Copy from the publisher. I haven't met Den Patrick.

I just really liked this book.
I felt like Den Patrick's only agenda was to tell a really good story, and he did it well. He writes convincingly of life in a harsh environment, one made even grimmer by a repressive government. He writes convincingly of an older brother both annoyed and dismayed by his sister's inability or lack of desire to conceal that she is different,
James Tivendale
I received a review copy of Witchsign in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Den Patrick and Harper Voyager.

Under the cloud-obscured skies of Cinderfell reside blacksmith apprentice Steiner and his sister Kjellrunn. One day a mysterious ship arrives in the dock containing the Empire's Invigilators who are looking for the Witchsign in the residents' youths. Should the Witchsign be detected the children showing the signs are taken away (and presumed executed). It's not really a sp
Ben Alderson
Really interesting read. I found the magic EXTREMELY confusing but the idea of the story was so interesting I gave it a good go. I think I will read the sequel this year because my track record is always preferring sequels.

If Harry Potter went to Hogwarts but turned out he had no magic.. that was the best review I saw for this book.
Mike Everest Evans
Full review originally featured on The Fantasy Hive:

The Good: Fantastic concepts, especially in terms of world building and history. Strong themes from start to finish, with shock reveals along the way.

The Bad: While Witchsign got off to a cracking start, I felt that the pace slowed in the middle, though it quickened to breakneck speed in the last 10%. Additionally, I felt some of the one-liners were unneeded, but I won’t hold that against the story, which I really enj
Bookish Penguin
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Excuse me but why have only 246 people on Goodreads read this? Are you okay folks? Well I hope okay enough to order this gem. That's really something quite unique and dark. I understand if some of you are afraid because of the caption but well what a classic example it is where the caption literally doesn't give anything away.
Great characters and a very splendid writing are awaiting you!
You like settings in the north? Yeah that's for you.
And it's dark. I know I have said it but it really has giv
Jane Kelsey
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars
Very slow paced and too much talking and less doing. Not quite my cup of tea to be fair, but it was ok.
Annemieke / A Dance with Books
Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins Uk for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes my opinion on the book.

With a title as Witchsign and a series title of Ashen Torment I was incredibly hopeful that this was going to be great series right up my alley. Unfortunately this was not the case. Not even the addition of dragons could save this for me.

Withsign is told in dual perspective between the two siblings Steiner and Kjelrunn. The story is set in a Scandinav
Awais Khan
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unputdownable! I've never really been a reader of fantasy, perhaps due to the fact that a lot of the stuff I read never lived up to expectations, but after reading Witchsign, I have to say, I'm sold! What an absolutely brilliant book. I literally couldn't read fast enough. Each character is so well drawn and Den Patrick describes the world he's created perfectly. He gives enough for the reader to create a picture in their mind, but not too much as to spoil the compelling pace of the story. Witch ...more
Edward Cox
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Den Patrick is back with style. After the success of the Erebus Sequence, he weighs in with Witchsign, the first book in the Ashen Torment. It's full of intrigue and mystery, magic and action, and here be dragons! Great world, great story, great characters, Witchsign is a fantasy adventure that you need to add to your reading list. ...more
Anna Stephens
3.5 stars.
A strong and interesting new YA fantasy with enough mysteries to keep me turning the pages. Magic, dragons, heroes and witches, there's a lot to like in Witchsign and some real villains to rail against.
Good stuff!
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Erebus Sequence is an excellent trilogy, each book better than the last. The faux Renaissance setting, exciting plot and the memorable characters made The Boy with the Porcelain Blade, The Boy Who Wept Blood and The Girl on the Liar’s Throne all first rate reads. When I was offered the opportunity to read the first book in Den Patrick’s new series, The Ashen Torment, I jumped at the chance.

In Vinkerveld, the arcane is viewed with distrust. The Emperor and his Synod ensure every child is chec
fleur ☆
Feb 08, 2018 marked it as to-read
Ashen Torment. Doesn't that sound just sublime? I'll definitely be looking out for this on the shelves sometime soon. ...more
Alyssa Grace
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Sick of every fantasy protagonist being the Chosen One? Witchsign is the book for you. Den Patrick's Steiner Vartiainen is a scrappy blacksmith's son looked down on for his illiteracy. The best part of it is that after I feared that the other shoe would drop the whole novel, he never receives the magical destined legacy that eventually relieved everyone from Luke Skywalker to Jon Snow of their humble origins. No, Steiner is a nobody (at least for now), and that doesn't make him any less of a her ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like 3.5 stars. I’ll have to go back to not reading blurbs as I enjoy books more when I don't have set plot expectations for them.

Witchsign had a cool concept and I felt was fun but it failed to pull me in as I expected to read something a little different. The only really negative thing I have to say about it is that by about halfway through the characters started feeling a little safe and flat and that made my interest slip. That said, I probably would have loved this in my earlier fantas
This book was a bit mixed for me. I enjoyed a few aspects the world building, and really appreciate how much thought and work went into creating this world, but I didn't really connect with the story very fast. The characters were okay, but I couldn't really invest in them that much, I had trouble getting into their heads and seeing things from their perspective. I had a lot of trouble keeping the minor characters apart, and I fear that by the time I would get around to reading a sequel I'll hav ...more
Caroline Mersey
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-by-friends
There are certain things you should expect from a Den Patrick book: principled, if hot-headed, young men taking up arms against tyranny and oppression, brilliantly written sibling relationships, and a load of brilliant adventurous fun.  Witchsign (Harper Voyager) has all of these in spades.  The elevator pitch for this book is simple: what if Harry Potter went to evil Hogwarts, but it turned out they'd made a mistake and he was a Muggle?     

Steiner and his sister Kjellrunn are teenagers living
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: in-english, fantasia
1,5 stars, rounded up to two. Oh boy, what to say about this one. The back cover made me laugh, because I saw that the main character's last name was Vartiainen. It's a common finnish surname, so it was hard to take the names seriously from then on, especially when that was the only finnish last name in the book, so it seemed very random. The mixing of the languages in general really bothered me. The basic names were a combination of Swedish, Norwegian and Russian, plus a bit of German and Finni ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boy this was a slog. One dimensional cardboard cut-out characters with no arc to them. Uninspired events in a bland setting. Dull and poorly defined hand-wavy magic. Deus ex machina left, right and center. Reasonable pacing, but tired and bland writing style.
Elizabeth Tabler
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Witchsign by Den Patrick is a slow burn of a novel, but promises a solid foundation for the Ashen Torment series. Den, whose previous stories included the dark fantasy series Erebus Sequence, writes Witchsign as a novel that can be appreciated by adult and YA readers alike.

Their town of Cinderfall is colored in gray shades, whether it be from ash or dirty snow, brother Steiner and sister Kjellrunn have only known the gray their whole lives. Steiner is a fledgling blacksmith apprentice; his goal
'Any great country that has to kill its own people to remain great is missing the point.' Steiner p335

Immensely readable adult/teen crossover fantasy novel set in world where a relatively new empire is building and testing its reach with a heavy hand. A hand in chainmail, backed by masked sorceries, that has already purge the land of arcane powered species such as dragons and now turns to capturing all children who show signs of magic, regardless of whether their country belongs to the empire or
I'm not sure what prompted me to buy this book - I do like a bit of fantasy on a dark winter evening so maybe that's what it was.
This is the first in a trilogy of books which is set in a land that bears a close resemblance Scandinavia - the map, the characters' names, even the names of the gods all have a Nordic flavour - not that there's anything really wrong with that. The central characters are siblings - the sister, who bears the witchsign, and her older brother - very protective of hiis sis
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The masked Vigilants come for the children with Witchsign, taken from their homes and family, they are never seen again.
I loved the Erebus Sequence and was looking forward to reading Witchsign, the first book of The Ashen series and I wasn't disappointed. It has all the right elements that make a good fantasy story; folklore, magic and lots of interesting characters - my favourites were Silverdust and Tief, I also really liked the Cinderwraiths - Ohhh and there's Dragons.
I will definitely be r
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This books has dragons in it. That is all! Seriously I loved the characters in this book. It’s one of the things that had me really interested. Also the whole premise of Witchsign and the magic system was quite interesting.
Iryna KL
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, arc
4.5 - full review to come
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marc Morris
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the first books in a long time I have been looking for time to read sneaking 5mins here and 5 mins there as I was hooked after first few chapters.

This is definitely what YA fantasy should be like as it has qualities that many would love and is a great taste of what is out there fantasy wise once those YA develop are love of fantasy.
There is few original ideas in here and it’s a age old young boy becomes a heroic man and champion of others in a time of need . Other become a trained
A compelling coming of age fantasy tale for young adults, and it is pretty much on the level of David Edding's The Belgariad, Vol. 1: Pawn of Prophecy / Queen of Sorcery / Magician's Gambit, but with a more twisted and grim take on the tropes we are familiar with. Simply speaking, this book will resonate with the YA readers who want to read fantasy with a sense of adventure for a change. Also, the novel explores the themes of oppression, colonialism, and slavery which will find a voice among the ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, owned
So I gave this 5/5 stars. I was in a reading slump but I still wanted to pick this up at every chance that I could. It was fast paced as it really kept you really wanting to read more, but it wasn't too fast paced where it felt rushed. As it is the first book in a trilogy there was a lot of history and world building that needed to be introduced. I thought this was done so well as it wasn't just one big info-dump at the beginning. The history and world building was spread throughout the story an ...more
I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, I got the audio version and the narrator did a good job so that helped. Many audio books fail due to the narrator.
We find our selfs in the town of Cinderfell and family's are gearing up for the arrival of Vigilants to discover witchsign in children, lost arcane powers of dragons.
We are introduced to Steiner and his younger sister Kjellrunn, on what would be Kjellrunn's last arcane check, which she is dreading, something goes wrong and Stein
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Den Patrick is originally from Dorset and lives in London. His first three books for Gollancz, the War Fighting Manuals, were released in the autumn of 2013.
The Boy with the Porcelain Blade was nominated for the British Fantasy Newcomer award and forms the first book in the The Erebus Sequence. The Boy Who Wept Blood and The Girl on the Liar's Throne complete this trilogy of Gothic Fantasy books

Other books in the series

Ashen Torment (3 books)
  • Stormtide (Ashen Torment #2)
  • Nightfall  (Ashen Torment, #3)

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