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  • A strong standalone fantasy

    Blood. Blight. Darkness. Slaughter. Four plagues have come to the small village of Bethel – but who summoned them and who can stop them? The Year of the Witching is a great standalone fantasy story. Personally I much prefer standalone book to sprawling epics with endless installments and unknown publication dates. I’m also likely have forgotten everything about the last book by the time the next one comes out! This book packs a lot in for the word count and there were a few times where I was worried it wasn’t going to wrap everything up in time but then it surprised me with a great ending. The author does a great job of introducing you to the world with strong world-building which draws on historical parallels from real life (think Salem Witch Trials) but also introduces a realistic man vs woman religion. There are some great characters that you feel empathy for – Immanuelle in particular is a strong lead but even the more controversial characters of The Prophet and her mother also felt well drawn and interesting. There is also a lot of action packed into the plot that makes the reader speed through the book effortlessly as the pace keeps up the tension. There are certain points of the plot that don’t perhaps feel as fully explored as I would have liked but the book on the whole tackles some important topics. We explore how women are treated in a patriarchal society for example as well as the issues of organised religion and race. Immanuelle is a likeable main character - she has flaws but it never felt preachy or wooden – she felt well rounded and realistic at all times. My only gripe would be that the ARC I received had a few odd formatting errors – double fs for example, were completely missing and the first 4 words of every chapter were also omitted which led to you needing to guess at times. I’m sure these will have been sorted out by publication though and they didn’t detract too much from the story. Overall The Year of the Witching is a great, well rounded read with a strong female lead and a great message about standing up for what you believe is right. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers & Bantam Press for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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