Thursday, June 24, 2021

Review: The Last Windwitch by Jennifer Adam

by Jennifer Adam
Release Date: April 13th 2021
2021 HarperCollins
Kindle Edition; 448 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062981302
Audiobook: B08LQX74HK
Genre: Fiction / Juvenile / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Brida is content in her small village of Oak Hollow. There, she’s plenty occupied trying to convince her fickle magic to actually do what it’s meant to in her work as a hedgewitch’s apprentice—until she accidentally catches the attention of the wicked queen.

On the run from the queen’s huntsman and her all-seeing Crow spies, Brida discovers the truth about her family, her magic, and who she is destined to be—and that she may hold the power to defeating the wicked queen and setting the kingdom right again.
My Thoughts
The Last Windwitch was an enjoyable middle-grade fantasy that introduces us to a young hedgewitch apprentice named Brida, who, although quite comfortable with her life, has a million questions about the world in which she lives as she tries to master a magic system that just doesn't seem to quite work the way she wants.   I thought the story was very well-developed and enjoyed the magic system in this tale. And I have to say, the cover page is quite beautiful as well.

I really enjoyed Brida as a main character.  Although naturally inquisitive, which sometimes got her into trouble, she was kind, loyal, smart, and very capable, all qualities that would definitely appeal to younger readers.  She is also very curious, and you know that that curiosity will take her to places she should not go and to see things she should probably not see, which is exactly what happened.  I thought the author allowed Brida's character to grow and develop throughout the story in a way that was interesting, but also felt very realistic; never for a moment did the author forget that Brida was only twelve years old, something I appreciated.

The supporting characters were also a lot of fun, but I took a special liking to Hugh and company. Brida meets a lot of people during her 'quest', and I liked that the characters weren't as they seemed at the beginning, being a lot more complex, with their own stories to tell.  And I liked how Brida didn't immediately classify everyone into bad and good, but took the time to understand what was happening to them, even to those who were hunting her down.  

The story itself was quite engaging, and I pretty much finished it in one sitting.  It does start a bit slowly, but that didn't affect the overall story as it set things up nicely for what was to come and it allows the reader to empathize with the characters and their lives.  Once it takes off though, it doesn't let up until the end, with an ending I loved, with one little twist I wasn't expecting but thought was perfect for the book.  

The writing style itself was captivating, and even as an adult reader, I found myself immersed and absorbed by the characters and the events.  I even found myself reading slower so I could picture the world in my mind. The descriptions of the storm horses probably captured my heart the most though. As a kid, I would have loved that concept.  

The Last Windwitch was an engaging middle-grade novel that will appeal to anyone who loves a story about secrets, magic, family, loyalty, and hope.  I thought the characters were delightful and the author definitely spent time developing them as much as the story.  There are some important themes running through this book that can be explored as well.  If you enjoy middle-grade fantasy, then I highly recommend you add this to your reading list.  I am really hoping for a sequel.