I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I love stories on Witches and this one didn’t disappoint. There are some things I would have liked to have explained more, a bit more flushed. This book blends horror, a paranormal dark, twisty witchy tale in a dystopian world.
The character Immanuelle is thoughtful, caring, and headstrong. I enjoyed following her journey to knowing who she was and why things were happening to her. She received a journal from the witches of the woods. Through this journal, Immanuelle learns more about her mother. Then she travels outside of Bethel to learn about her father. Her maternal grandfather felt like he was always encouraging her. I think it is because of his regrets on what happened to her mother. Her maternal grandmother, well, she felt as though it was Immanuelle’s father’s fault. She was a well written and rounded character.
Ezra I was not too fond of. I felt he was a little flat and disconnected. The side characters such as Immanuelle’s grandparents and the prophet were more rounded than Ezra. Like Ezra, I also felt the witches could have been rounded more. There was potential to show their nature, and even though we got it towards the end, I think their background and character arc could have strung out better.
Alexis Henderson takes her readers to Bethel. Bethel is a dystopian world blended with real-world themes like racism, oppression, power and religion. In Bethel, the religious society lead by the Prophet takes rule. He can take on as many wives as they want and punish whoever stands in his way, even his own heir. When this was first described, I automatically thought of this as some kind of cult. The Prophet’s wives were protected unless proved to be adulteress or unpure before marriage, and once married, they could not to leave the compound. Bethel’s citizens could not leave outside the border unless given permission by the Prophet. The Prophet uses fear, cruelty and religion to gain power and control over the people. The setting is haunting, beautiful and creepy. It adds a deliciously bleak and eerie feel to the story with the danger that lurks in the Darkwoods. The Darkwoods for me was like the Wall on Game of Thrones.
This book took me a while to get into. It was not slow by any means, but maybe there was too much. I think maybe a little more world and character building will make this book wonderful. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read dystopian, dark fantasy, and suspense horror.
I give this book a 3/5
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