Published by Ace on July 21, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, supernatural, Fantasy & Magic
Source: eARC from Publisher
A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
The Year of the Witching is a supernatural fantasy by debut author Alexis Henderson, which releases later this month. If you are a fan of dark tales, The Year of the Witching is one you do not want to miss out on. The Year of the Witching enchanted me right from the first chapter. It was a deeply atmospheric read that stuck with me long after I had finished the book. I went into this book thinking it was going to be a bit scary and dark. Oh it was all of that and more. There are some moments and scenes in this book that were downright terrifying. But beyond that, Alexis Henderson deals with the witch trials and feminist themes so deftly. She is certainly an author that I would like to read more from.
In The Year of the Witching we meet Immanuelle, who is biracial. This immediately puts a target on her in the small town of Bethel where she is from. Immanuelle just wants to fit in, so she does her best to stick to the rigid puritanical societies’ rules and not draw attention to herself. But when she finds herself in the darkwoods and encounters spirits of past witches she is set off on a different course.
The land of Bethel and it’s inhabitants came to life before my eyes. Alexis Henderson has a way of crafting vivid images with her prose. IN atmospheric books, the writing makes or breaks the story for me, and here the writing style was a smash hit for me! Watching Immanuelle learn not only about a side of her mother that she didn’t know about before, but also watching her learn of the town and it’s past and seeing her sort out right and wrong for herself was such a powerful part of her character’s progression. I loved the growth I saw in Immanuelle. And when you add in the witchcraft element you have all the workings of a wonderfully creepy story. I loved the completely realistic bitter feelings of the witches. Seeing their anger at their past oppression was a new element to this story that I really enjoyed and took it in a new direction for me. All in all, The Year of the Witching was a powerful read that I really enjoyed. But maybe don’t read this one right before bed.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 New Release Challenge