The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
What a Read!
Female submission by sadistic, narcissistic males. Doesn’t sound very original? Well, think again. This story is that, yes, but it’s also so much more. I’m not sure if it’s considered YA but it seems much too dark for that qualification in my opinion. What I love is that the witches in this book are real! Finally, a story about truly creepy, powerful, shaking in your shoe’s witches! Lately any title with the word “witch” ends up being ok. I did finish the second book in the A Discovery of Witches series but, that’s more time travel and magical. This is more a chill you to the bones kind of read.
The Year of the Witching is set in a fictional puritanical society similar to that of Salem, where women are persecuted for witchcraft and other crimes that the men of cloth get away with scot-free. Bethel is a society based on hypocrisy and its history is riddled with untruths. I appreciated how Alexis Anderson told a feminist story in which the main character, Immanuelle, is a strong female who is dedicated to changing Bethel for the better by protecting the vulnerable and punishing those who abuse their power behind the Church.
There were some positively spooky scenes set in the Darkwood and the witches were both frightening and captivating. Yet, towards the middle of the book, the story began to slow for me a bit. For one, I wanted more interactions with the witches and more magic. I felt the story stalled a bit until we reached the climax. I also felt the relationship between Ezra and Immanuelle was more of a friendship and I could never buy their romance. Their relationship needed to be more developed and I would have loved to delve more into the relationship between Vera and Immanuelle as well. Overall, this was a good debut, there were just certain elements I wanted more of that I hope to get more of in a second book maybe?
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