Title: The Year of the Witching
Author: Alexis Henderson
Edition/Pages: E-book, 368 Pages
I received an ARC copy of this from Ace via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Immanuelle has never fit in, in Bethel. She is the child of an outsider burned at the stake, and a mother most considered mad. But Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father and follow Holy Law. She tries to live a life of submission and conformity like all women are expected to.
But a mishap leads her into the forbidden Darkwood where 4 witches supposedly haunt. There Immanuelle encounters 2 spirits to gift her, her mother’s journal.
This journal leads Immanuelle down a path of dark secrets, magic, and a way to change her world.
➸ POV: 3rd Person from Immanuelle’s POV
➸ Immanuelle: 16, 2 younger sisters, Mother died in child birth, Best friend Leah, Never knew father, Raised by grandparents, Biracial, Cursed
➸ Content Warnings: Graphic Blood/Gore, Animal Death/Sacrifice, Sexism, Racism, Infertility/Miscarriage, Sexual Assault (of a minor)
Wow this book… I want to start off by saying I’ve seen this categorized as YA and I strongly disagree with that placement. While this book follows a teenage main character, this book gets quite graphic and dark. So tread carefully, check TW’s, and read reviews before going into this one (or handing it to a younger audience).
Now that’s out of the way time for me gush about one of my new favorite reads of the year!! I’m keeping this really vague because one of the best things about this story is slowly uncovering the secrets of this society.
This book had so much packed into it. Every word and paragraph felt important and necessary to the story. Not only does this book tackle an immense amount of important topics but the characterization, atmosphere, and world building blew me away.
The history of this society, while fictional, parallels the real world so closely that it amplified the creepiness tenfold. This world is a dark patriarchal society that gave me chills and terrified me to my core. While the first part of this book is heavy on the history – it’s ALL important! And once you hit the 20% point, the plot takes off and never slows down.
Alexis Henderson blew me away with their ability to balance magic, intertwining timelines, romance, poignant themes/messages, with an utterly haunting atmosphere. This book delved into racism, assault/consent, sexism, and what it means to be family. I describe my favorite genre as ‘Dark & Magical Feminist Fiction’ and this fits that to a T.
If you like very dark, slightly magical stories with intense feminist undertones, this is your book! But this book is not subtle. So if you’re looking for a book that will leave you to gather your own opinions, this isn’t it. This book is overtly about dismantling patriarchal societies and white supremacy, so please go in with the right expectations.
I swear I held my breath for the entire last 20% of this book. This story was so intense and climactic, it had me on the edge of my seat desperate to find how this would end. Overall I just couldn’t get enough of this witchy, dark story. I loved the characters, themes, world, romance, everything. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Alexis Henderson writes next. I feel like this book was written for my exact reading taste.
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