Howdy, howdy! It’s the last Wednesday of November, so that means it’s book review time. But first, happy (early) Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it! I hope your day tomorrow is filled with great food and even better company. Now, back to what this post is about. I was in the mood for fantasy, so I requested The Wickerlight by Mary Watson. What I didn’t realize was that it was the second book in a series (NetGalley isn’t great at letting you know if a book is part of a series) and by the time I noticed, it was too late for me to go back and read The Wren Hunt first. Luckily, this one stands pretty well on its own. Anyway, The Wickerlight was released November 26th by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books. I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
The Wickerlight follows David and Zara as they navigate life, mystery, parental expectations, and even love. Despite the lack of leads and evidence in her sister’s strange death, Zara is determined to find out what happened. Despite being part of a secret magical war and under immense pressure from his father, David is determined to keep the peace between the Judges and Augurs as best as he can. What happens when outsiders find out about the magic going on under their noses? What happens when things come to a boil between the Judges and Augurs? What happens when Zara and David cross paths?
It sounds like an interesting story and it really is. There’s a lot of Irish mythology in it, which I need to get better acquainted with. One thing I learned about myself from this book is that I have zero grasp on Irish pronunciations. Luckily, there’s a glossary in the back to help out, so if you don’t know how to say Badb either, start there.
The pacing of the book was interesting. It moved super fast and a lot of the time it didn’t feel like much was happening until I stopped and thought about what I read. I think this was because there’s a lot of telling and very little showing in this book. Yeah, I wished some parts had been slowed down and explained in more detail, but for the most part I enjoyed the speed. I got through a 400+ pages book in about 10 days. That’s quick for me. And the fact that I kept thinking about what I read even after I put it down for the night says a lot. I haven’t found myself that invested in a book and it’s characters in a long time.
The writing was crisp and clear and fun. The characters were diverse and entertaining. I actually found myself wanting to know more about Adam and his life. I don’t know if there’re going to be more books (it could go either way as some stuff seemed to be left open, but the important stuff was wrapped up), but I hope to see more of him if there are.
Ultimately, The Wickerlight surprised me and surpassed my expectations for fantasy nowadays. I’ll definitely pick up book one and see how it is. I will also keep an eye out for more books by Mary Watson.
Overall, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because it really could have benefited from slowing down at times. Beyond that, if you like well rounded characters, fast pace, and an intriguing plot, I definitely encourage you to pick this one up.