Reviews

Review: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

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CW’s: Blood, Violence

Fans of Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.

High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

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Review (Spoiler Free!!)

I think we can get it out-of-the-way right now that I totally LOVED Bloodwitch, it certainly lived up to my hype and it was totally worth the long wait to finally read the story of my dear Bloodwitch Aeduan! I feel like this is the best Witchlands book to date and I didn’t even think this was possible, but it just gets betetr and better and better with each book!!

General Thoughts

The world building was expanded by a lot 🌷 We are seeing so many more places this time around and I liked exploring them all. Not only do we get to see Safi in Azmir (the capital of Marstok), we also see Tirla, some of Arithuania and a certain monastery for the first time ever, which was very exciting! I won’t talk too much about them as they are tied tightly with some plot points, but I liked the change of scenery and getting to know more about the monks, the wells and especially of the Empire of Marstok. As for new witcheries we get to know the Poisonwitches (the guards of Empress Vaness) better and we also see that there are Glasswitches, another subset of Earthwitchery! Most of all, we change a bit of perspective on what magic can be, which is surely going to play an even bigger role in the future, as I feel like magic in the Witchlands can be a lot more than what it is right now!

Plotwise things are even more intense and intricately woven together! The last books already had many POV perfectly playing together, but Bloodwitch took that up a notch because we had a lot of perspectives and events going on, yet they still played together in harmony. We get another small POV of Stix and have the other 5 POV’s going on as well, so I have a lot of respect for the author, as she perfectly juggled all of them without things getting confusing or overwhelming. I felt like all the perspectives were used to their full extent and worked together so well, they complimented each other and worked in total harmony. Generally, I feel like the plot itself stepped up its game even more than before, because there is a LOT going on in Bloodwitch and it made for such a great read, because I was so interested to see what would happen next. I legit used up all my tabs to mark quotes and material for further theories, because it was SO good! I definitely have to do a reread to catch all the references and hints that I surely didn’t notice!

All characters undergo such a beautiful further development 💕 Before I get further into what I liked about each characters Arc and journey, I will say that I loved how much the characters continued to grow in Bloodwitch! Not only the plot was getting even better, but the characters also proved that they had come a long way since the beginning. You definitely saw it in every one of the POV characters, that they had made so much progress in their journey and still had some of it ahead. Even with the characters that did have their full Arc (Safi & Merik), did we see further development, as change is never truly finished. I loved that we see all characters constantly evolving and becoming more of the person they could be!

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Let’s Talk Characters!

** I made all of the aesthetics myself!

Aeduan 💖 my darling boy!!!

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Obviously he is my darling boy, my Hufflepuff, thinking he is SlytherinI feel like the book was a lot about him being at the mercy of other and not being really in control first due to being sick, so I feel like it’s a new experience to feel so helpless, as he is usually ‘I’m the badass Bloodwitch’ and usually he can rely on his magic to keep him inhuman and untouchable, until he is not so untouchable any longer and has to rely on Iseult. He also really hurt my hear, as he constantly told himself that he was a monster that didn’t deserve a family or any happiness and only caused death any misery 😭 He is also in a lot of conflict due to so many different loyalties and the inevitable choice he has to make between his newfound family and his father with his cause. Aeduan was so sweet with Owl and it hurt my heart how he thought about himself, how his past made his heart so heavy and bitter 💔 Above all this Bloodwitch is lying to himself about a lot of things, not only that he does care about his family, but also that he is only a tool to be used, with no future beyond the cause.

It was also interesting to see more of his past with how he reconnected with his father … my heart broke for him when he had these flashbacks to the day his mother died, that was truly traumatic! 😭 No wonder Aeduan is having all this grief and guilt inside him, it’s horrible that he lost his mom this way and this has always haunted him. As has being a Bloodwitch and therefore essentially unwelcome whereever he goes. Even in the monastery did he feel like an outsider. I did like that we got to see a fellow monk and also enemy of his, called Lizl and how their interactions changed right until the end! Most of all I liked how he realized that he can take control of his own life and that he’s not a monster who only brings death to anybody else. He made a choice about his life and it was a hard one, so I’m very proud of him and of who Aeduan is becoming, a good man, Bloodwitch or not!

Iseult ❤ very proud of her!!

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I’m very proud of Iseult, especially as I relate to her so much! She is struggling so much with Owl and I felt really sorry for her, because I know how frustrating that must be to be so disliked while Owl loves Aeduan. I really felt for her, because that does happen to me too: somehow not being as beloved as someone else. It definitely stings a lot. However, Iseult does not give up, she still tries to connect to Owl and when disaster strikes she is trying her best to keep it all together. I love how especially thinking about her Threadsister Safi gives her so much strength, my heart is so happy as despite being separated the girls always think of each other when things are tough! Despite feeling insecure, Iseult is also bold, strength she borrows from Safi and honestly getting a bit more confident, because she knows that Aeduan and Owl are depending on her. She’s beginning to realize that she has worth of her own and is not just a shadow to everyone she is close to. My heart also broke when she saw one of Matthews shops and how it brought her back to the life that could have been

Leopold 💛 golden boy of my heart

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My golden boy is BACK!! God I missed him so much in the last book when he did not appear at all. I won’t tell you how and when he reappeared, but I just had to talk about Leopold, because he’s my fave and also he is so underrated! He is also giving me serious Nikolai vibes with the witty, charismatic prince that can wear lots of masks thing. (Maybe that’s also because I was reading King of Scars at the same time, they could totally be buddies!) He’s just funny and I was LAUGHING so hard when someone accidentally attacked him and he’s just lying there all confused. Leopold is so ridiculous I love him! I’m sure he is hiding lots of things though … we still don’t know what his motive in all of that is, as we know that he worked with Safi’s Uncle and his crew, but now he’s also here. I’m sure there is lots more that Leopold has not told us, as he says several times that people should just let him having secrets.

Safi ☀ Sunshine girl!!

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I loved seeing more of Safi and how she is doing in Marstok. In part she is horrified as what she always fears happens: she gets used for her magic and is responsible for someone elses death, HOWEVER she is not just standing there feeling sorry for herself, she is actually doing something. Not charging ahead, but making a plan and planning to do something that is actually very clever! She definitely proves that she has grown, as do all characters, I feel, because the character development is very good. Safi is still funny and witty, and her swears will never not be funny! She also proves to be very loyal and stands up for herself, as even though she is in this very restricting situation, she can still take control of her own life and make the best of it! I love how she is making her own decisions and even though this isn’t what she wanted, she moves ahead. Safi definitely has the potential to do great things, especially as she has become such a strong, mature person now that still has all her lovable habits and flaws!

Vaness 👑 the UnEMPRESSED

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We finally get to see more of our favorite Empres in her home Azmir, which is amazing because I have always been curious about Marstok! So far we have only seen Dalmotti, the Contested Lands and Nubrevna, so it was time to see another empire and how everything works there! It’s also pretty cutthroat there, as Vaness is expecting a plot against her that. I also had no idea Vaness was 26, I thought she was only a bit older than Safi, but apparently she isn’t and to be honest she seems kind of lonely. She is definitely powerful and ruthless, a true Slytherin Queen, but as Safi observed, it’s kind of lonely to always only be able to show strength and to be expecting a coup from literally anyone in her family! We definitely see some vulnerabilities in Vaness as well and I lobed how close Safi and her had become in the end, they are truly kind of friends now and it was fantastic to see, because Vaness definitely needs someone she can trust, someone she can rely on to not turn on her!

Vivia 🦊 the bravest little fox

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I’m so proud of Vivia and how much she has grown! She finally stood up to her father, I was LIVING for that because he is an emotionally abusive [insert swear word here] that constantly made her feel bad and pretended to want the best for her, when it was HIS best that he always has in mind. It’s heartbreaking to see how she still blames herself for not letting herself be treated like that any longer, thinking she should just apologize and was being a bad daughter, when it was his manipulation that instilled those feelings. However, Vivia did develop and while encouraged by Stix is stepping up and finally claiming her rightful title, not letting her father hold her back any longer. It’s hard as sometimes family pretends to have your best in mind, when it’s ultimately only serving themselves and they are taking advantage of you. This was really well handled here, as Vivia still has this guilt inside her and tries to rationalize all of this, trying to force herself to comply because the manipulations of her father have taken hold.  I also love her blossoming friendship (?) with Vaness, because I love two powerful ladies slaying together and generally being a power couple.

Merik ☁  my disaster boy

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So we REALLY see that he has grown even more and really took the lessons he learned in Windwitch to heart. Merik is a lot more caring and selfless now, thinking about others first and reigning in his temper. I love that he actually did adapt and not only realized his flaws, but actively tried to work against him. He proves this in his actions so many times and I love that we truly see someone who is open to learning and improving himself. We also see a lot of his love and loyalty for his friends and homeland, only that now he can see more than he used to be, free to see more than what he wants. I’m a bit nervous for him for spoilery reasons, but I have to say that I’m very proud of his choices and selflessness, as well as caring for others. He has definitely managed to reign in his tempter and become a better man!

Ryber, Cam + Stix 💗 three faves

** I sadly didn’t get around to making an aesthetic for Cam, but I’ll do one in the future!

All three are more secondary characters here, but I still love every single one of them!! The author said that Ryber will have a bigger role in the future books and I totally believe that because my girl is special! I relate to her so much and love Ryber with all my heart, so I cannot wait to see what she does next! I definitely love her new friendship with Cam and I hope to see more of them in the next books! Stix is the one new POV, but she does not have a big POV, however we get the glimpse that she will be very important in the future! Like in Windwitch, I like her a lot and definitely want to see more of her in the future!

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Let’s Talk Aeduan x Iseult

This is the best enemies to lovers slow burn ship 💌 I’m mainly talking about this ship, as it was the main one due to this being Aeduan’s story and therefore was also the main focus! I have always liked Aeduan and Iseult together, but Bloodwitch also upped the stakes in their relationship. This is honestly the best slow burn, because it’s so realistic for both of them to be wary of the other and only slowly and quietly fall in love. This makes this ship all the more real and grounded, especially as both of them started out as enemies, only that now they have become allies and gotten to know the other. I mean … they literally adopted a child together, this is iconic!! We see hints of a romance in the first two books, but here it becomes clearer and clearer that they both care about the other more than they want to admit. We have a lot of tension and longing between them and it literally killed me, because the scenes were SO intense, as their feelings were so intense 😭 I can’t say much more … because my mind is just like 💕❤💗💖 whenever I think about their scenes together!

IN CONCLUSION: Bloodwitch is obviously my favorite book in the Witchlands Series so far! Not only because it is about my favorite boy Aeduan, but also because it’s the BEST book. I have loved all Witchlands books so far and they keep getting better and better and better! I thought I couldn’t love them even more, but I was wrong, as Bloodwitch was such a perfectly crafted book with a lot of perspectives, revelations and so much material for the thousand theories that I harbor!!

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Spoiler-y Thoughts!

CLICK HERE!!

Let’s get into the spoilers … I’ll just collect some of my thoughts, because otherwise I could write whole essays about all the theories I have and then this post would get way too long, because I have a LOT of them 😂

  • Look, I still have my weird theory that Leopold is actually an Aetherwitch … I mean in the first book he is said to have a habit of disappearing and appearing suddenly … and at one point Aeduan literally stopped smelling him, so he could not have just been glamoured by someone else. I’m saying it now: he’s a Portalwitch (?) and he can teleport, only that this is such a rare Aetherwitchery, it’s not ever been known. THis all could be a red herring for sure, but something makes me feel like Leopold also faked his witchery examination and is not elementally powerless as he claims to be. I also think he might be the Rook King, I don’t care if that makes no sense I have this FEELING 😂 The only problem with my theory is that Iseult would be able to see an Aetherwitch thread … but maybe if he is the Aether paladin, he has all the witcheries connected to Aether? I’m generally curious of the Void/Aether paladin have only one or all witcheries, as the elemental paladins can control ALL subsets of their element, so surely the void/aether should have enough power to control all. So Leopold could glamour his threads? Don’t come for me, this could all be very wrong 😂
  • Also can we talk about the heartthread that Iseult saw when she saved Aeduan??? ❤💕💗 I mean we all know that the red thread is a Heart-thread and that even though Aeduan doesn’t have threads they are BOUND!! I also loved finally getting to know WHY he doesn’t have threads: It’s because he was born in the sleeping ice, making him extraordinary … now I just have to figure out why he cannot smell Iseult!
  • This immediately connects to the next point: we find out that Aeduan is Dysi and the General’s son!! I kind of had this suspicion since reading Sightwitch (and by the way I HIGHLY recommend reading it first, because otherwise you’ll miss out on a lot of references and information),  but I’m very sad that Dysi died … that’s super unfair, I feel bad for her 😦
  • The Rook also appeared!! It helped Safi with the stone and getting through the doorways, so I’m very sure that it has some kind of agenda on its own, also seen in Sightwitch!
  • Habim & Matthew … why???? I do like what was done here, because I don’t think that they are evil, not at all, I just think that like many people in the books, they have become what they hate. It all started out well with good intentions, but now they have taken it too far and cannot see the mistakes they are making. From the very beginning, they didn’t tell Iseult and Safi anything, thinking they could pull it off even though it was not okay to leave the girls out of it so much! I do think they both love Iseult and Safi and will come around later, but for now they sadly think they know best, even if they don’t at all 😢
  • Iseult & Leopold traveling together was the best! I’m still sad that we got only one Leopold and Aeduan interaction … but I still hold out hope that they will be friends, please make that happen! Sadly, we also don’t know who is the mystery scent that Leopold teamed up with and who wanted Aeduan dead. I’m still thinking it might be Matthew, but I don’t know why he would want Aeduan killed. Anyways, I loved that Iseult could analyze Leopold a bit more due to being able to see the difference between his threads and appearance! Oh that boy has many secrets in his golden hair. I also loved when he hugged Iseult, I need more hugs in these books! ❤
  • Safi & Merik reunion!!! Even if it was sooo short, I’m glad that they both finally know that the other is alive! … Even though it’s still sad as Merik tricked Kullen to come into the ice with him, meaning that they are now sleeping there with no one to find them. Maybe Ryber and Stix will actually wake them, if that’s even possible. My heart also broke because Kullen really became himself again when the ice took him 😦
  • FINALLY WE GOT THE Safi & Iseult reunion!!!! I was so excited because they are finally together again! It only happened in the very end but I have no doubt that both will do great things together in the next book and save the witchlands! There’s so much platonic love between them and the dramatic reunion with the big bear hug, my girls, together again at last!!! 💖
  • And Safi planning to marry the emperor … please tell me she’ll kill him and become Empress! I’m already sharpening my knife, because if he lays one ugly hand on her, I will fight him!!!
  • Vaness running into Vivia’s arms, I was so glad she survived!! I was like: oh not, Vaness cannot be dead or lost after all of hat. I’m also very happy that this might mean more interactions with Vaness and Vivia, because both are such a power couple! 💕
  • Monk Evrane … is a bit out of control. I’m sure she is possessed or something due to the shadows that Iseult sees around her, when she puts her to sleep again and again. I first suspected Esme, but I don’t think this is her work, as she was desperately searching for Iseult and later also got stabbed in the back. Maybe Corlant cursed her? I always knew Evrane was so fixated on the Cahr Arwen, but I don’t think she would have acted this way without any other influence, as it’s a stark contrast!
  • I think it’s also safe to say now the Iseult and Safi are the Cahr Arwen. They have both shown reactions to the wells they visited this time, so this is too clear to truly be turned around. I also want them to be the special power duo!!! My heroines! 😍
  • The Raider King’s plan to control the Witchlands … & Esme cleaving the well cannot be good … What even are the consequences? Because Esme cleaved the already mostly dead Air Well … so does that mean that it cannot be saved by the Cahr Arwen? Does cleaving wells add to the problem of magic in the Witchlands? It was also so interesting to see Ragnor, Aeduan’s father, because he – much like Matthew and Habim – has become what he wants to go against. I mean …. killing everyone no matter what side they are. I feel like his grief has turned him into a ruthless, bitter person who will do everything to get his revenge on the empires – and also killing the Cahr Arwen. I don’t know where that came from, maybe he doesn’t want magic  to come back?
  • Corlant didn’t even appear … but he’s up to no good for sure! The general consensus for him is to be the Void Paladin, but somehow I’m not sure if he really is, but I also have no idea who else it could be. Esme could be another possibility, but I somehow don’t think that, so I’m still unsure! 😵
  • Paladins for sure we know of: Stix (Water), Owl (Earth) & Kullen (Air)! I think Habim is the Fire Paladin and I’m convinced that Leopold is the Aether Paladin. If this is true, I’ll scream ‘I told you so’ 😂 Like I said, I’m not sure about the Void Paladin!

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Have you read the Witchlands books? Who is your favorite character?

13 thoughts on “Review: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

  1. I’ve only read the first but I reallllly want to get to the next two!
    Great review. I really liked the character boards you made 😻
    Merik is my favourite character, hands down. Probably partly because his name is part of my last name. Well, add an r. Still, pronounced the same tho 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the way you formatted this, Caro! These graphics are so incredibly beautiful. I’m sad that I haven’t been a fan of this series!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your theory about Leopold! There’s definitely something mysterious going on with him…
    As for the Paladins, I think Corlant is a Void Paladin because The Fury says he is an “abominable iteration” and Ragnor replies that they can’t kill him because a baby is no use to the cause. Eeeeeee! I only caught that the second time I read Bloodwitch since I hadn’t read Sightwitch before reading Bloodwitch the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

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