Genre: Fiction, Horror
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Note: There are NO spoilers in this review. When discussing in the comments, please provide a spoiler warning if needed.
The stars aligned with this book when Old Town Books (Alexandria, VA) hosted a readathon on the same weekend where my schedule was free and clear. It’s easily been over a decade since I devoured a novel in a single day, but Alexis Henderson’s The Year of the Witching pulled me in and refused to let me go. My main takeaway from the novel – I have GOT to stop reading good books when the sequel is not out yet. I NEED to see where Immanuelle’s story takes her.
The Year of the Witching mixes magic, intense religious constructs, grief and loss, and vive la résistance all in one wonderful and creative story. I enjoyed this book from cover to cover, and was consistently surprised along the way.
Immanuelle, the main character, is raised in poverty without her mother and father, both physically and in memory. As she begins to learn more about herself, her parents, and the darkwood, she is shaped into the reluctant leader of the reckoning that is at the church’s front door. We see the power of literature, self discovery, and friendship as Immanuelle continues to learn and grow.
Right away in this novel, you know Immanuelle is going to become the person standing against the church, but, regardless, her journey there is surprising and exciting. The most unexpected element being her love and kindheartedness toward a community that has always treated her as “other.” While standing against the religious leaders of Bethel (where this novel is taking place), she embodies the characteristics of selflessness, similar to that of Christ himself. She sacrifices herself for the greater good. This dynamic is interesting to watch unfold.
The only thing missing from this novel was just MORE of the story. At about 450 pages, it went by so quickly. I wanted to know more about Immanuelle, her family, friends, and the community. I suppose that’s a good sign. I hope (I pray) that a second novel is coming. I will be anxiously waiting.
I highly recommend you pick this book up the next time you visit your local bookstore. Buy The Year of the Witching here online from Old Town Books, where I purchased the book.
Have you read The Year of the Witching? Let’s talk about it. Leave a comment or send me a message letting me know what you thought of the novel.