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(Witherward #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Welcome to the Witherward, and to a London that is not quite like our own. Here, it’s summertime in February, the Underground is a cavern of wonders and magic fills the streets. But this London is a city divided, split between six rival magical factions, each with their own extraordinary talents – and the alpha of the Changelings, Gedeon Ravenswood, has gone rogue, threate ...more
Paperback, 527 pages
Published February 16th 2021 by Titan Books
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Eleanor It's a side character, but you don't find out straight away. (I won't say who, or how we find out.)…moreIt's a side character, but you don't find out straight away. (I won't say who, or how we find out.)(less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  236 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

This insanely amazing book is the reason I haven't slept the last few days. I was unable to put it down and so I've been awake until the run rises reading, but honestly, the lack of sleep was totally worth it!
I truly loved every aspect of this read, and I wish I could give it more than five stars.

The world building was explained incredibly well, and even though it was similar to the world in ADSOM, I loved hearing how the author took it in her own direc
Apr 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Ilsa is a stage magician's assistant in 19th century London, a step-up from being a pick-pocket street kid and runaway from an orphanage. She also can do actual magic, changing her shape into nearly any creature or person. When she is saved from bizarre attackers and taken to an alternate London in the Witherward, she discovers she's actually the long-lost daughter of the ruling family of the Changelings, one of six magical factions that live in the alternate world.

The London of the Witherward i
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
A very promising start to what could be a very entertaining new fantasy series. Although a little bogged down with the need to explain the world first this tale of alternate London and warring magical groups became a great deal of fun!

Full review -
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was really pleasantly surprised by this book!

It was such an enjoyable read and I loved the whole world created.
Ilsa is a great main character. She’s strong and independent. She knows how to handle herself and she won’t be pushed around. It was really interesting following her into this new life and new world she had no idea about as we got to experience it all as she did.

I love the world building and the magic.
A parallel London, except a magical version split into factions of different magical
Leonie Hinch
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fantasy, dnf
Review to come in February
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Yes! Yes, to more books set in Witherward. And if at all possible, can it be right now?

Unique, fascinating, exciting, mysterious - the world you step into with this book is an unforgettable one.

What I liked:

1) The author creates this intricate, fascinating world that is very complex. I appreciate the fact that we got to learn about the history of the world as well, not just as it is today, which made this world so much more believable.

2) This will possibly sound odd, but this didn't feel like
Rafaela (dragonsandpaperbacks)
*ARC received from Netgalley*

Witherward was a fast-paced, magical tale that kept me hooked right until the very end. It was surprising at every turn!

Witherward is a world very much like our own, except it's populated by people with incredible powers, and London is a city divided by factions. Changelings, Wraiths, Whisperers, Oracles, Sorcerers, and Psi. But the concepts for each of these are very different from what is usually seen in fiction; changelings aren't fae and wraiths have nothing to d
Reminiscent of V.E. Scwab’s Darker Side of Magic with its parallel Londons, with ours known as the Otherworld, and the other as the Witherward, this story is about an orphaned street urchin/magician’s assistant Ilsa who discovers she’s the long lost daughter of an important family in Witherward. A family who leads the Changelings (shapeshifters) who reside in one quarter of Witherward’s London. There are other magical groups: Sorcerers, Oracles, Whisperers and Wraiths, each occupying a different ...more
Hana (linh_hermione)
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

I'm honestly so surprised I haven't seen more hype for this! Not because it's the best book I've ever read, but it seems like exactly the kind of thing that would become a book community darling: it's got the spunky heroine who's out of place in her own life; the parallel magical London; family secrets; the dark, mysterious, initially-antagonistic love interest...

I found a lot of the worldbuilding quite confusing - I really struggled to keep all the different factions and types of magi
Deb Jacobs
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, bought
Oh I DID enjoy this book! What could have been complex was made clear, the characters were engaging, the locations well-described without being too in your face. I like a bit of magic and I like the different factions with their different abilities.

The story follows a natural arc where Ilsa leads a miserable life in our London, bad things happen, she goes through a portal to an alternate London, where she is not only the long-lost princess, but the chosen one who has to reunite the factions. Al
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Witherward is the debut novel by Hannah Mathewson. It’s a young adult portal fantasy set in Victorian London and it starts a series of the same name. I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a book that relies heavily on its unique world, occasionally at the expense of the plot. Alongside with and unbeknownst to the normal world, Otherworld, is Witherward where seasons and times of day are the exact opposite, with some similarities to Otherworld but with its
John Samuel Harrison
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is my first ever review via NetGallery, therefore I was sent a review copy of the book from the publisher in return for an honest view.

Now I admit that I was a bit apprehensive about this one, as the blurb sounded fantastic, but once I got into it I started to get some horrible flashbacks of reading Uprooted. However, my fears were unfounded as it was much, much better than that!

Ilsa our main protagonist is an orphan, runaway, shape-shifter stranded in our Victorian London. She knows she is
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Ilsa is a magician’s assistant in a London that is close to the familiar Victorian view – full of cloaks and smoke and orphans. Ilsa herself is an orphan, carving out a life between pickpocketing and pretending that her magic isn’t real on stage, propping up a drunken, washed up magician.

Her world is almost quite literally turned upside down when she discovers the Witherward, the world reflective of, but not quite a copy of, the London she knows. She gets thrown in, and we with her, to a new wo
Amanda Evans
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Witherward is the first in an exciting new fantasy series set in an alternative London. The author has done a fabulous job building this world and making it feel real. The book centres around the main character Ilsa, a changeling, that has lived all her life in London hiding her talents. Ilsa grew up in an orphanage, hiding her magical abilities and it is only when she is dragged through a portal to the Otherworld that she realises her life is not what it was supposed to be. In the Otherworld sh ...more
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
✨’When she looked back, he was glancing around. “The washroom?” he said.
“I—” Why was this killer in her house, covered in Aelius’s blood, asking where he could clean it off? “By the stairs.”’✨
— Witherward, Hannah Mathewson


🌷Welcome to Witherward, where we have an alternate London filled with magic and wonder. But the city is far from perfect. It is separated into six rival, and vicious factions who each have their own abilities.

And in the Changeling faction, Ge
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Alternative Londons have been around for donkey’s years and yet I never get tired of reading about them. London is a city that’s so bursting with life and so rich with history that it’s easy to imagine it could be magical too. And that’s the case with Witherward. Here, the alternative London is a shadow city to Victorian London, and it’s bursting with magical factions and races with tensions that are rapidly reaching boiling point…

Our guide is Isla, a shapeshifting Changeling who is taken to Wit
Kristina Hart
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Witherward by Hannah Mathewson

Ilsa, a London based 17-year-old street urchin, has been called a demon her whole life. No one she has ever met has ever possessed the magic that she does, and so she struggles with the notion… that maybe she is a demon. The only person she trusts with her secrets is her magician friend Bill Blume, he knows she’s a changeling, he accepts it and lets her be a part of his magic show. Unfortunately, things go drastically south when Ilsa’s best friend is brutally murder
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Witherwald reminded me of one of my all time favourites, and for that reason I was instantly interested in the story. But whilst it is certainly similar, it is not a carbon copy and was a great story in its own right.

Ilsa, our heroine, is an orphan growing up in London. Her world is perfectly normal, but she is not, because she has the ability to change shape. She can change her features and into different creatures, but she cannot change the colour of her eyes She doesn’t understand her ability
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars.

My Fair Lady tries to solve a mystery in a magical London! I loved it!
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My mind is blown right now. That cannot be the ending. Like WTF happened?

So Witherward is marketed as SoC meets the Prestige with a world building similar to that of ADSOM. Now that right there is the thing which got me interested to pick up this book. I won't say it exactly justified on those claims, but the book had it's own strong points which made it an amazing read.

The story follows a girl named Ilsa who is an orphan and an assistant to a magician. But she has her own secrets. Unlik
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
*Checks book-blurb* Welcome to… a London not quite like our own. Sold, I’m in. A historical urban fantasy set in one of my favourite cities? Oh, hell yeah! This has got my name written all over it. Over the years I’ve read many urban fantasy novels that use London as a backdrop and I’m always impressed how authors manage to twist the city into something uniquely their own. The same is true here. London has long been a melting pot of cultures and creeds. It makes perfect sense to me that there wo ...more
Samuel Harrison
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is my first ever review via NetGallery, therefore I was sent a review copy of the book from the publisher in return for an honest view.

Now I admit that I was a bit apprehensive about this one, as the blurb sounded fantastic, but once I got into it I started to get some horrible flashbacks of reading Uprooted. However, my fears were unfounded as it was much, much better than that!

Ilsa our main protagonist is an orphan, runaway, shape-shifter stranded in our Victorian London. She knows she is
Jeannie Zelos
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Witherward, Hannah Mathewson

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

What a fantastic read this was. Its very unusual, and at times I was confused about the different factions and how they interacted. I think with any fantasy though that devolves from the norm that happens, and I'm happy to go along with it to read something new, something challenging.
I loved this read, I just wish parts two and three were out now!

Ilsa is a perfect lead, and at times when her age, and tha
May 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book has so much to offer! It's not a short novel and a tad confusing at times, but the intriguing worldbuilding, loveable characters and sharp writing will certainly appeal to any audience. In particular, lovers of fantasy, especially YA. It has so many similarities to other much loved novels that I'm just going to list them here and hope it convinces people to read it:
- Six of Crows: rival gangs/factions, a whole lot of backstabbing and badassery
- A Darker Shade of Magic: parallel Londons
*AGatheringOfBooks* (Ale)
Witherward is a very intricate story, with intricate characters and set in very intricate world with a well structured society and different types of magic that, although not really unusual, are used in a very original way, creating thus different factions inside the same city, a London that "is not quite like our own". The charms of the parallel world are all there, and together with Ilsa - the protagonist - the reader is thrown into it without anything and coming to learn its rules by trials a ...more
Sifa Poulton
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

WITHERWARD is a fun, portal fantasy debut about a divided, magical London, and a girl who suddenly finds it exists - and that her new home is under threat.

I really liked that, once we were in Witherward (the magical London), there were still sequences that happened back in "our" London. There are a lot of portal fantasies that just move to another realm and stay there, but th
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-kindle
[A free copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for a honest review]

Witherward is an amazing adventure, with high stakes and an interesting political climate.

In Witherward we meet Ilsa, a young magician’s assistant, who can do actual magic. As a Changeling she can change shape, into any animal she knows and even in other people. When she gets taken to an alternate version of London, in an alternate world called the Witherward, she quickly learns there are many more Changelings like her, and e
Rebecca Tait
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It was an absolute pleasure to spend time in the Witherward, a world similar to our own but ruled by waring magic factions. Ilsa, our MC, has grown up an orphan in London living by her wits and hiding her unexplainable magic, not knowing that there is another London existing in opposite time to our own.

I really enjoyed getting to know the cast of characters, each with their own quirks, tensions & pre-existing relationships that Ilsa has to uncover as she finds her way in this new world. Fyfe wa
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you NetGalley for this ARC!

I am genuinely surprised by how much I liked this book; there are many things wrong with it, such as all the main characters being so trusting of Ilsa (and a lot of other things that I thought of at 2 am, but can't remember as I'm writing this). I genuinely find it hard for a lot of books to hold my attention in doses of longer than 10 minutes, but for this one it was easy; it didn't become slow and boring as it built up the world; it did so through the actions o
Sonia Williams
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I selected this on a whim and I am so glad I did. The pacing of the writing was spot on and the story presented a different type of fantasy realm which made a pleasant change.
Our MC is Ilsa an orphan who escaped an abusive orphanage to live on the streets of London. To escape she discovered her ability to change form and used this skill to survive on the streets, becoming a talented pickpocket and then stage magicians assistant.
When her best friend is brutally murdered she is rescued by a strang
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