The Year of the Witching

Did not finish this one. . . And it's been a long time since I haven't been able to reach the end of a book. =(

Though the novel is marketed as an adult fantasy book, it is YA through and through. I managed to reach page 220 before I had to quit. Had I known it was YA, I would never have given it a shot.

I hate it when publicists/editors mislead reviewers like this. =(

It's supposed to be The Handmaid's Tale meets The Village, but The Year of the Witching is neither. More often than not, it's a heavy-handed tale set against a backdrop of poor worldbuilding. Sort of a poor woman's version of Atwood's classic featuring black people.

I was expecting a more nuanced adult work that echoed with depth, not a black and white YA book with no shades of gray, featuring wooden characters and very little worldbuilding.

Here's the blurb:

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

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