Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Blog Tour Review: Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

(The Witchlands #2.5)
Susan Dennard
Release: February 13, 2018
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Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch...
Before Merik returned from the dead…

Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight―and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.

Going in, you should know that Sightwitch is a little different from the other books in the Witchlands series. In fact, I like to think of it as an actual artifact from that world. In Windwitch, Merik visits Kullen's apartment:
Merik's attention snagged on one spine now, a familiar title he'd seen Kullen reading on the Jana only hours before his death.
The True Tale of the Twelve Palladins
Merik's breath caught. He yanked it off the table in a rasp of leather, a puff of dust. He peeled back the cover. . .
Different copy. He exhaled - hard. This addition had a torn first page; the one on the Jana had been smooth.
And when you peel back the jacket on Sightwitch:
*gasp* And the first page tells us that "Sightwitch diaries have a way of changing, depending on who reads them." So while most of the book is Ryber's journal, we also have pieces of Erydice's, a Sightwitch who lived a thousand years earlier. The magic (or perhaps the goddess if you ask a Sightwitch) tells us everything we need to know, even though it's more than Ryber intended to tell. Within those journals are maps and sketches and other bits that Ryber collected that help tell the story.
My only real criticism is that I wish I could tell which parts Ryber added, like with whatever the Witchlands equivalent of tape or paperclips would be at the corners to give more of a scrapbook feel. I feel like the pages are too clean, though there instances where Ryber's made notes in the margins, which I love.
As readers we learn the history of the Witchlands along with Ryber and her friend Tanzi, including the origins of their magic and the story behind the construction of the underground city in Windwitch. I found those stories just as fascinating as Ryber and Erydice's own. It's so compelling, I read it more or less in one sitting. (It was a snow day, so I did have to pause for some kid-related trips to the kitchen.)

Sightwitch is set a year before Truthwitch, so it is technically a prequel, but I agree with the decision to call it book 2.5. Learning the world's mythology is so much more meaningful when you're already invested. I also think it would be frustrating to go from this story to Truthwitch where Ryber and Kullen play such small parts in the story. And I have so many theories about where the series is headed now that I know what the endgame is. At least, I think I do. I even have a (very spoilery) idea about the title of book four.

I've just been fascinated by the entire Witchlands series. I'm happy that I read Windwitch and Sightwitch together though, because I feel like there's so much going on in all of these books. If you want to refresh your memory but don't have time for a reread, Susan Dennard has done these really fun gif recaps of both of the previous books, Truthwitch and Windwitch. Even if you don't need a refresher, I highly recommend them.

4.5  stars

My posts about other books in this series:

About the Author

I’ve come a long way from small-town Georgia. Working in marine biology, I got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (I’ll get to you yet, Asia!)—before I settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

I’m the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series as well as the New York Times bestselling Witchlands books, Truthwitch and Windwitch, and if I’m not writing, then I’m busy slaying darkspawn or earning bruises at the dojo.

I live in the Midwestern US with my French husband, two spoiled dogs, and two grouchy cats. Learn more about me and my cookie-addiction on the blog, newsletter, twitter, instagram, or pinterest.

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