Witch King

eBook, 432 pages

English language

Published May 30, 2023 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

ISBN:
978-1-250-82680-0
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4 stars (48 reviews)

Kai-Enna is the Witch King, though he hasn’t always been, and he hasn’t even always been Kai-Enna!

After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?

Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.

He’s not going to like the answers.

Witch King is a rousing tale of power and friendship, of trust and betrayal, and of the families we choose.

3 editions

Didn't love it

2 stars

Content warning Mention to certain parts of the plot (not big big spoilers)

Read: Witch King, by Martha Wells

3 stars

I really wanted to like this more, given how much I just love the Murderbot series. But for me it started confusing, got more confusing, and then resolved in a way that was slightly less confusing but I still don't really understand what happened. The world-building is rich but also extremely complicated, and the book regularly shifts between long past, middle past, and the present. There are several different kinds of people/entities and across and between them there are shifting alliances that change depending on where you are in the timeline. I usually love a really complex book but I just could not get a handle on this one.

Chaotic Mess, Really Disappointing

2 stars

Honestly don’t know where to begin. A demon and a witch have a short quest that ultimately doesn’t seem to do much? Really hard to follow, so many poorly named characters.

This book felt like a chaotic mess that needed far more editing and a much stronger plot. Would not recommend. A disappointment compared to her other books and considering the setting and main characters feels like they could have been so much better.

Abgebrochen

2 stars

Habe das (Hör-)Buch bei 12% abgebrochen. So der ich Murderbot Diaries mag, so sehr hat mich Witch Kind gelangweilt. Ich konnte zu keinem Charakter eine Verbindung aufbauen und das ist eine schlechte Grundlage um einer so komplexen Story akustisch zu folgen. Das Hörbuch begann tatsächlich mit einer mehr als drei Minuten andauernden Aufzählung von absurd vielen Charakteren, von denen viele noch Spitznamen hatten und in Beziehung zu anderen Charakteren standen,… Natürlich konnte ich dem nicht folgen, ich kannte ja noch nicht mal einen der Charas. Kein guter Start.

Der Rest der 12%, die ich gehört habe, unterschied sich allein in einem Aspekt positiv von 0815-Fantasy: Das Setting war nicht irgendwo im europäischen Mittelalter. Vielmehr zogen die Personen umher, waren vielleicht Beduinen oder ähnliche nicht-sesshafte Gruppen.

Aber alles andere war so langweilig: Hauptcharakter männlich (wenn auch nicht hetero), „the chosen one“ (wenn auch Dämon), rechtschaffend-gut obwohl Dämon, … und was mich …

Interesting and well-executed approach to worldbuilding

4 stars

Witch King features a lot of worldbuilding. Its fantasy world is inhabited by different people with different cultures, and people who can different sorts of magic in different sorts of way, and Martha Wells manages to weave details about this world into the story in a way that makes the world feel alive (except for all the dead people).

The setting is also one with a history of dramatic upheavals and epic struggles, though the story is not set during those things. The main narrative is set years after major historical events, whose effects are still felt by the present-day characters. We also get flashbacks of events around the major historical events. In this way, the book tells a history by telling of its aftermath, and the events that preceded it. This is something that could be executed poorly, leaving a disappointing gap, but it actually works pretty well in …

Fantastic Voyage

5 stars

Witch King flips back and forth between two times. One is a mystery - who trapped us? What intrigue is afoot and how can we foil it. The other is a rising challenge, a hopeless rebellion against an overwhelming authority.

Both are told with strength and warmth- our protagonist is frankly a bit of a shit in the beginning, but we learn why and see where they are coming from and where they are supported more than they see.

It ends with the perfect ending for a mystery and the aftermath of a rebellion. The story is done.

I’d absolutely enjoy another book in this world but this stands well all by itself.

Great start, not sure about the ending

4 stars

The opening scene is really engaging, then we progress to some nice exposition, action, mystery. We're bouncing around at a pleasant clip, zeroing in on an energetic plot. But I'm left with a somewhat Stephenson-esque sense that at one point she just wanted to stop writing any more of the story and that's where the book ends.

Could have been more

4 stars

This one is difficult to rate for me. I only had 7 days to read it but it's a book that needs to be savoured. You should take your time with it. So I probably didn't get the full experience. The narrative starts right in the middle of a story that has a long backstory some of which the readers are going to learn during the course of the book. There are also quotes from historical or anthropoligical works from that world at the beginning of chapters. A lot of thought went into the world-building. The chapters switch between the present and the past. While I do like the sense of layers of history that certain places and relationships have due to that I also feel that this narrative structure didn't quite work. A couple of times the timing is such that the emotional impact of places and events is …

Great relationships, great world-build: Martha Wells-Ste

4 stars

In one sense, it was like Lord of the Rings in that by the time you got to the end of the book, you have a fairly good idea on the histories and hierarchies of the different people groups, but there's still so much more to explore. Left wanting more.

What was definitely different from LOTR is the quality of the characters and their relationships. Overall, a great time.

Fantastic world-building, echoes of trauma

4 stars

I adored how wide the world felt and how much was hinted at by the various, subtly interacting magic systems at play. I feel like there are so many nooks and crannies to be explored around the main storyline of this book that it feels like a nearly inexhaustible mine. More, please!

The narrative structure jumps from the present to the past, each giving context to the other and its people -- literally showing you why the characters act the way they do, showing how the current situation came to be, giving you a real sense of time and consequence. I loved it.

And, as I've come to expect from Martha Wells, her depictions of trauma responses feel on-point and real. How everyone reacts to their own ghastly experiences and how it drives them are on full display and are very sympathetic.

So: great world-building. Fun characters and relationships. A …

Complex, Elaborate World Building

4 stars

This was a very nice read and astonishingly complex world building for a single volume. My main issue with the book was that I needed the first half to figure out what was going on and then spent the second half to remember all the intricate details of the world Martha Wells created. I would definitely read another book from the same universe.

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