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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Review: The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson @acerocbooks @alexhwrites

The Year of the Witching 
by Alexis Henderson 

Thank you Ace for this advanced copy!

Publisher: Ace
Publish Date: July 21, 2020
368 Pages
Genres: Horror, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal

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.

My Review:


Immanuelle - born from the sins of her mother, neither belonging to Bethel or to the Outskirts... has kept her head down and her voice silenced.  An unintentional trip to the Darkwood and the gift of her mother's journal has illuminated her and opened herself up to what is happening within the town she resides.  How does she handle the secrets she is now learning?  Those in charge abusing their power using religion as a ruse.  Who will stand up to this patriarchal society?  It's time for The Year of the Witching.  Let thyself be heard.

I love witch stories and this one brings us four powerful ones... When outcast, what would you do to save the only child you'll ever bear?  The dark and sinful can be anything that goes against what you believe in, so what is truly the evil within?  There are a lot of nuances the author brings to the table.  Gender and race being a theme strewn within and one we cannot look away from - and shouldn't in this day and age.  This isn't subtle within the pages nor should it be.  

I did like Immanuelle as a character and was rooting for her throughout the read but to be honest, I'm unclear how I feel about Ezra.  I needed more with his character.  The son of the Prophet who somehow is still the complete opposite.  I'm not entirely sure their "romance" was necessary for the narrative, but I wasn't completely opposed to it either.  I would've also liked more with the witches.  ALWAYS GIVE ME MORE WITCHES.  With how powerful these four were, more more more would've been very welcome.  Also, can I get a tour of the Prophet's library please and thank you. 😉

I feel like there's a book two maybe on the way? It seems like this could've been setting up for a sequel.. perhaps a series? Either way, I give full props to Henderson for this fantastic debut.


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