Witchlanders

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Witchlanders

by Lena Coakley

Atheneum Books For Young Readers | September 4, 2012 | Trade Paperback

Witchlanders is rated 4 out of 5 by 5.
Some prophecies thwart danger. Others create it. “Fans of contemplative, psychologically rich (but no less action-packed) fantasies à la Ursula Le Guin will welcome this warm, inventive debut” (BCCB, starred review).

High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

But it’s all fake.

At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated? But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic, and about himself will change when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned…are about him.

Laced with rich, imagined histories; miles of catacombs; and prophecies true and false, Witchlanders takes place in an evocative, tantalizingly vibrant world and raises equally evocative questions: Who gets to defines history? When does a legend become a crutch? And why does the enemy in war look a lot like the hero? Lena Coakley’s first novel is a lush, chilling story that is sure to send shivers through your finger bones.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 416 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 in

Published: September 4, 2012

Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1442420057

ISBN - 13: 9781442420052

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great High Fantasy Novel! It’s been awhile since I’ve last read a fantasy novel, but when I heard about Canadian author Lena Coakley’s debut novel, Witchlanders, my interest was immediately piqued. I’m glad to say that Witchlanders didn’t disappoint. It was rich in details and had wonderful world-building… which then culminated into an exciting finish which left me constantly guessing the true villain! There was no romance in Witchlanders, which came as rather a surprise since the plot description seemed to hint at it. Instead, the novel focuses on friendship and family, along with the strengths and weaknesses they give us. Told in the dual voices of Ryder and Falpian, we were given perspectives on two very different ways of life. Ryder, a Witchlander, was practical and refused to believe in the prophecies the coven of witches spoke of. Meanwhile, Falpian, a Baen, doubted his abilities to use his voice to create magic that could be as beautiful as it was deadly. It was nice to see the pair overcome their prejudices as they learned more and more about each other while uncovering secrets about the history of their people... I found that the pacing of the novel could be slow-moving at times as we’re eased into the world of the Witchlanders and the Baen, two very different ethnic groups whose truce is tied by a precarious thread… Lena Coakley kept up the intrigue though as she introduced us to the Witchlands and Bitterlands, all the while not dropping too much information on us before we could let it all sink in. So while a part of me was wishing to jump right into the action, another part of me was grateful that I wasn't overloaded with too many facts at once. I was glad to see events pick up more when Ryder and Falpian finally met, especially with the tensions running high! Lena Coakley’s debut novel will be sure to satisfy fantasy fans who love to escape into new worlds so unlike our own! While the novel is a standalone, Lena Coakley has left the doors wide open for a chance to revisit in a sequel. I’m hoping one will be written one day! With adventure, magic and steady storytelling, Witchlanders will easily appeal to both boys and girls looking for a novel to pass the time. You can also read this review at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com/2011/09/witchlanders-by-lena-coakley.html
Date published: 2011-09-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A refreshing read Review first posted at http://unautrehistoire.blogspot.com/ Simon and Schuster Canada sent this book to me a couple months ago. It was another one that I knew nothing about, but am glad that I got to read it. I found the synopsis of this novel is VERY misleading. But don't let that deter you from checking it out. It is WAY better then what the synopsis tells you. A fast past read, that is full of laugh out loud moments, and times where you'll feel annoyed with yourself for not reading faster. The story is actually about two boys. Ryder; a Witchlander boy who has spent his life away from the coven and the witches that have been ruling his life for as long as he can remember. There is also Falpian, a Baen boy who is mourning the death of his twin brother. These two boys have a connection, and it's discovering what the connection is that makes Witchlanders such a fantastic read. Falpian and Ryder are sworn enemies. Years before there was a war that took place between the Withclanders and The Baens. Now there is a very distinct boarder that separates the Bitterlands (Baen land) and that of the Witchlanders. And very strict rules that the two peoples are never to meet. Lena Coakley's debut novel is one of the best books I have read this year. Witchlanders is pretty high fantasy- which is not a genre that I enjoy reading. Although Withlanders is high fantasy it's not so fantastical that it is unrealistic. It is ultimately a tale about brotherhood and learning to trust yourself. It's totally a coming of age novel, that takes place in a fictional world. It is an amazing adventure. Ryder and Falpian get to know one another, they learn to like each other, but do they learn to trust each other? One thing that always truly amazes me, is when a person has enough imagination and ability to create a whole new world. A world that has societies, and rules, and a hierarchy. There are so many details involved in creating a such a place, and I find that incredibly fascinating. I have read novels where this is done so poorly you wonder how the book was even published. However, what Coakley created was so intricate and complex you would think it would be impossible to do well. But, she did it. She didn't miss one single thing. There were no holes in her details, and you didn't need to stretch your imagination to much to believe what she was tell you, I was so impressed by this. The world she created wasn't trivial or clichéd, it was majestic and beautiful. I cannot explain how magical it was. My favourite thing about this novel was the male point of view. Coakley wasn't writing just one male POV, but two. I loved the male perspective. I have sometimes read what was supposed to be a male POV, but found it to be very feminine. This was not something that I experienced with Ryder or Falpian. They were boys, and I never forgot that. I also was never confused when she would switch perspectives. It was always very clear who's mind I was in. Although the synopsis alludes to a romance, Witchlanders contains none. I had no idea that I was getting sick of paranormal/contemporary romance, until I read this novel. I think that those who NEED a little romance in their books will enjoy this one, because of the way that Ryder and Falpian's relationship (which is TOTALLY platonic) develops. It is so endearing that you won't mind that lack of "sexual tension" that happens between the boy and the girl. There are a lot more great things I could touch on when it comes to Witchlanders. But I think you need to experience it yourself
Date published: 2011-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An enchanting and refreshing YA novel Ryder is a witchlander. After his father's sudden death he is forced to grow up too fast; he takes care of the family's hicca harvest, raises his two sisters and tries to keep his mother – an outcast witch – from going off the deep end. It's not much of a life for a young man, and he dreams of something more. Little does he know, that with his mother's latest prophecie,s his hopes of something more may come true in a way he would have never expected. It turns out that Ryder IS meant for something more. He's meant to fulfil his mother's latest prophecy, which will bring him head to head with the witchlanders' greatest enemy – The Baen – and reveal secrets that have been buried for centuries. Leana Coakley's debut novel takes you right into an absolutely beautiful, well crafted setting. The world of the witchlanders and the baen is full of snow, waterfalls and deep forsets that help bring together the enchanting nature of the story. I found it easy to picture that I was hiking up mountains with Ryder or feeling the cold when the frost came in. The story itself is a fairly typical one. A young character fulfilling a prophecy given at birth, trying to bring peace to his land. However, what made Witchlander's story unique was the presence of not just one, but two male leads, both with interesting and amicable voices. There was also no central love story that took away from the basic message and story of the novel. Given some of the current trends in YA literature (i.e. Singular female leads, complicated love triangles and over the top romance) Witchlanders was a refreshing and welcome read. Overall an excellent fantasy novel that draws you into the story and setting, some fantastic characters (which you are sure to grow attached to) and a positive message of endurance, dreams and the value of diversity. Witchlanders should definitely be on your fall reading list. This review was originally posted at Christa's Hooked on Books --- http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com/2011/08/review-witchlanders-by-lena-coakley.html
Date published: 2011-08-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A new world to enjoy in Witchlanders Witchlanders caught my attention immediately when a catalogue featuring the title arrived in my mail box. It wasn't the cover art so much as the premise, which promised something unique, interesting, and exciting. An unforgettable adventure is what I awaited when first propping open the pages. Witches, witches, witches. I've always been one to have trouble enjoying a novel when it involves or even mentions witches. It's never been about the magic or the stereotyping. Now that I think about it, my disapproval with witches in YA has always been due to the attempt at spinning a unique take on them. I've come across severely novels that have attempted such and had unfortunately done so without much success. Witchlanders, no doubt, is a novel that uses said unique take in creating a new tale. Fortunate for me it was something I could swallow and for that I send my praises to Lena Coakley. Witchlanders proved to be a difficult novel to complete. For the most part I found myself intrigued by the unique setting and prose. Unfortunately, what made me extremely uncomfortable was the pace. The pace was beyond slow and grueling. I also wasn't much of a fan of the dual POV. Rarely do I come across a novel that can successfully pull it off while also keeping the story on a steady course throughout. With those negative points aside, I enjoyed the characters who I found to be very well developed and interesting to read. In the end I found Witchlanders to be a great read from a debut author that I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for. Readers who love witches, adore adventures and enjoy discovering new worlds will find Witchlanders by Lena Coakley intriguing and worthwhile.
Date published: 2011-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great YA for Guys and Gals The Good Stuff Cover is hauntingly beautiful, found myself just looking in awe Leads are male which is unusual in YA fiction. Wonderful conflicted and interesting characters, from the lead right on down to the secondary character, with plenty of realistic character development I'm in love with Bo the dog Lots of action, twists and turns and surprises that you won't see coming Witches but at the same time has an almost Lord of the Rings feel to it (really wish I could explain that, but trust me) Just a fantastic tale that sucks you in from the first line and doesn't let you down. Lena is a born storyteller Nice morals thrown in about the stupidity of war, prejudice and forgiveness Wasn't majorly frustrated or lost as I often am with fantasy fiction involving different worlds & races - speaks to the magic of the storyteller that Lena is Vivid descriptions of the landscape make you feel like you are there One side is almost matriarchal and the other side patriarchal and the conflict between the two is fascinating Just go buy the thing, I don't have the right works to state how much I enjoyed it or why tonight -- damn you excessive heat keeping me up at night (BTW, this review was written July 6th) The Not so Good Stuff Some readers that would probably really enjoy (read males) may be turned off by more feminine cover Hoping there is a sequel planned or the ending would be a might frustrating -- there better be a sequel Lena, I need to know what happens Favorite Quotes/Passages "Ryder threw up his hands. "Yes, the Goddess and the lucky man. They're the ones responsible for this harvest. I might as well go back to bed." "They were beautiful in their opposition: dark and light, like morning and evening, like two sides of a coin." "No," he said. "He is not on our side. But Skyla, are we only allowed to care about people who are on our side?" Who should/shouldn't read Perfect for both male and female YA readers Anyone who enjoys fantasy especially involving magic and witches - you will totally dig this Quite frankly anyone who enjoys a tale will enjoy Passing it on to Natasha -- will be interested if she enjoys as much as I did 4.75 Dewey's I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review - Thanks guys this was fantastic!
Date published: 2011-08-23

– More About This Product –

Witchlanders

by Lena Coakley

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 416 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 in

Published: September 4, 2012

Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1442420057

ISBN - 13: 9781442420052

About the Book

Ryder's mother was once a great prophet and powerful witch, but she is slowly losing her mind to griefNand maiden's woe, an addictive flower drug found in the Witchlands. Deadly monsters made out of dirt and sticks and stones are coming, she warns. There is an assassin in the mountains, she cautions the coven. But none believe her. Then the monsters come.

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1 FLOWERS AND BONES Ryder woke to the sound of clattering bones. A red curtain separated the sleeping area from the main room of the cottage, and he could see the faint flickering of candles through the fabric. “Skyla,” he whispered. Even in his sleep he’d known there was something wrong. A feeling of dread lay heavy in his stomach. Next to him in the long bed, Ryder’s two younger sisters were quiet. Pima, the little one, lay diagonally with the covers bunched up around her. Her mouth was open, and she was snoring gently. Skyla was pressed into the corner. “Sky . . . ,” he began again. “I know,” she said. There was nothing sleepy about her voice. He wondered how long she’d been awake. “Why didn’t you do something?” Ryder flung off the bit of tattered blanket that covered his legs. “Why didn’t you wake me?” The dirt floor was cold under his bare feet. He’d grown tall in the past year, too tall for the low door frame that led to the main part of the cottage, and he hunched a little as he peered around the red curtain. Mabis, his mother, was squatting on the floor, picking up bones. A goat’s femur, a horse’s rib. They were dark with age and etched with thin lines. She placed each one into a wooden bowl as large as the wheel of a donkey cart. “Tell me who it is,” she murmured. “Tell me.” Smoke from the fire hung around the room, making rings
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From the Publisher

Some prophecies thwart danger. Others create it. “Fans of contemplative, psychologically rich (but no less action-packed) fantasies à la Ursula Le Guin will welcome this warm, inventive debut” (BCCB, starred review).

High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

But it’s all fake.

At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated? But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic, and about himself will change when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned…are about him.

Laced with rich, imagined histories; miles of catacombs; and prophecies true and false, Witchlanders takes place in an evocative, tantalizingly vibrant world and raises equally evocative questions: Who gets to defines history? When does a legend become a crutch? And why does the enemy in war look a lot like the hero? Lena Coakley’s first novel is a lush, chilling story that is sure to send shivers through your finger bones.

Editorial Reviews

"A welcome fantasy debut."

--Booklist, October 2011