Witch King

eBook, 432 pages

English language

Published May 30, 2023 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

Kai-Enna is the Witch King, though he hasn’t always been, and he hasn’t even always been Kai-Enna!

After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?

Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.

He’s not going to like the answers.

Witch King is a rousing tale of power and friendship, of trust and betrayal, and of the families we choose.

2 editions

Interesting and well-executed approach to worldbuilding

4 stars

Witch King features a lot of worldbuilding. Its fantasy world is inhabited by different people with different cultures, and people who can different sorts of magic in different sorts of way, and Martha Wells manages to weave details about this world into the story in a way that makes the world feel alive (except for all the dead people).

The setting is also one with a history of dramatic upheavals and epic struggles, though the story is not set during those things. The main narrative is set years after major historical events, whose effects are still felt by the present-day characters. We also get flashbacks of events around the major historical events. In this way, the book tells a history by telling of its aftermath, and the events that preceded it. This is something that could be executed poorly, leaving a disappointing gap, but it actually works pretty well in …

Fantastic world-building, echoes of trauma

4 stars

I adored how wide the world felt and how much was hinted at by the various, subtly interacting magic systems at play. I feel like there are so many nooks and crannies to be explored around the main storyline of this book that it feels like a nearly inexhaustible mine. More, please!

The narrative structure jumps from the present to the past, each giving context to the other and its people -- literally showing you why the characters act the way they do, showing how the current situation came to be, giving you a real sense of time and consequence. I loved it.

And, as I've come to expect from Martha Wells, her depictions of trauma responses feel on-point and real. How everyone reacts to their own ghastly experiences and how it drives them are on full display and are very sympathetic.

So: great world-building. Fun characters and relationships. A …

avatar for joachim

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Tak@reading.taks.garden

rated it

4 stars