High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.
Praise for Witchlanders
* Exquisite storytelling plus atmospheric worldbuilding equals one stunning teen debut. Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Read the full review here.
* Plot twists unfold at a riveting pace, the boys’ characters are compellingly sketched, and Coakley explores her subject matter masterfully without falling prey to safe plot choices. Publishers Weekly (starred review) Read the full review here.
*This ambitious tale is tautly spun. Coakley’s world comes to life with exquisite detail and imagery; readers will feel the chill of the frost and smell the crackling bonfires. High fantasy lovers will gobble up Witchlanders. School Library Journal (starred review)
Coakley’s world-building is lush and provocative, exploring the ways in which ethnic and cultural conflict can calcify over a generation through a splendidly realized friendship between antagonists, fraught with mistrust and torn loyalties but cemented by a gut-level recognition of shared humanity (as Ryder asks, “Are we only allowed to care about people who are on our side?”). The book also achieves a sophisticated intertwining of religious and magical mythologies that illuminate both the fantasy world and the ways in which its history and belief systems have been manipulated over time. At its heart, though, Witchlanders is all about character, and the struggle of two equally sympathetic, equally flawed protagonists to reconcile inherited enmity with grudging mutual affection—all while battling giant earth-monsters—is what gives this book its urgency and depth. Fans of contemplative, psychologically rich (but no less action-packed) fantasies à la Ursula Le Guin will welcome this warm, inventive debut and wait eagerly for the implied sequel. The Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books, September 2011 issue.
Awards and Nominations
2012 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for the Americas Region
2013 White Pine Award nomination
2013 Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award (M.Y.R.C.A.) nomination
-O.R. Melling, author of Chronicles of Faerie
“Witchlanders is a novel that crackles with magic and storytelling and vibrates with the music of words.”
“Witchlanders is a spellbinding fantasy set in a complex and richly rendered world. Coakley deftly balances a rip-roaring adventure with the more somber nuances of a culture steeped in conflict, and her writing is some of the most gorgeous I’ve read in a debut novel. Brava!
-Elizabeth C. Bunce, author of A Curse Dark as Gold and StarCrossed