Witchsign by Den Patrick – REVIEW
From celebrated fantasy author Den Patrick comes WITCHSIGN, the first novel in a fresh and exciting new fantasy trilogy
It has been seventy-five years since the dragons’ rule of fire and magic was ended. Out of the ashes, the Solmindre Empire was born.
Since then, the tyrannical Synod has worked hard to banish all manifestations of the arcane from existence. However, children are still born bearing the taint of the arcane, known to all as witchsign. Vigilants are sent out across the continent of Vinterkveld to find and capture all those bearing the mark.
No one knows when the Vigilants of the Synod will appear and enforce the Empire’s laws.
But today they’re coming.
And gods help those who bear the sign of the witch.
“Witchsign is power, but all power comes at a cost … Those who wield the greatest power know little peace.”
I was incredibly lucky to receive this gorgeous proof from the wonderful Harper Collins. This is the first part of the trilogy and a solid crossover fantasy. The main characters are two siblings, eighteen-year-old blacksmith Steiner and sixteen-year-old Kjellrunn who bears the witchsign. The witchsign signals that you’ve been corrupted by the power of dragons and must be taken away to a secret island to be ‘cleansed’. When Steiner is sent to the island instead of Kjell due to a mistake, both characters begin to develop in interesting ways. I expected to find Kjell’s character arc more interesting than Steiners but I was surprised to enjoy both equally.
“Don’t feel bad for defending yourself. They made their choice, and when they did they took your choice away.”
Steiner’s time on the island was probably the most interesting part for me as it was filled with wonderful characters, fast-paced events and numerous discoveries. I really enjoyed the gradual friendship between Steiner and Kimi, and hope it develops further in the next book. Other characters such as Silverdust and Maxim were great additions to the island. Back with Kjell, the old woman in the woodcutter’s chalet was very intriguing and I loved their training scenes. Marek, Verner and Romola were also fleshed-out, complex characters that kept me gripped.
“He dared to hope … And he dared to do something about it … And what is a life spent without hope.”
I found the setting a little confusing at first but thankfully the ARC mentions that a map will be featured in the finished copy. The Nordic and Russian elements combined to create a beautifully detailed example of successful worldbuilding and one that had me fully invested. The magic of dragons and the elements weaved throughout the story was skilfully handled and built to a thrilling climax. The action scenes were brilliantly executed, fast-paced and involving. Overall, this was a solid start to a new fantasy trilogy and one I’m eager to continue reading. I’ve preordered the signed finished copy from Goldsboro but, be warned, there were only 5 copies left when I last looked.
Release Date: 24 May 2018
|About the Author
Den Patrick is originally from Dorset and lives in London. His first three books for Gollancz, the War Fighting Manuals, were released in the autumn of 2013.
2018 sees the start of a new series, The Ashen Torment, which kicks off with Witchsign on May 22nd, a crossover Fantasy set in a Nordic and Russian inspired world of forbidden magic and imperial tyranny.