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Review – Witherward (Witherward #1) by Hannah Mathewson

I was drawn in by the idea of a parallel London. I have zero regrets!

This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.

Witherward (Witherward #1)

by Hannah Mathewson

Welcome to the Witherward, and to a London that is not quite like our own. Here, it’s summertime in February, the Underground is a cavern of wonders and magic fills the streets. But this London is a city divided, split between six rival magical factions, each with their own extraordinary talents – and the alpha of the Changelings, Gedeon Ravenswood, has gone rogue, threatening the fragile accords that have held London together for decades.

Ilsa is a shapeshifting Changeling who has spent the first 17 years of her life marooned in the wrong London, where real magic is reviled as the devil’s work. Abandoned at birth, she has scratched out a living first as a pickpocket and then as a stage magician’s assistant, dazzling audiences by secretly using her Changeling talents to perform impossible illusions. When she’s dragged through a portal into the Witherward, Ilsa finally feels like she belongs.

But her new home is on the brink of civil war, and Ilsa is pulled into the fray. The only way to save London is to track down Gedeon, and he just so happens to be Ilsa’s long-lost brother, one of the last surviving members of the family who stranded her in the wrong world. Beset by enemies on all sides, surrounded by supposed Changeling allies wearing faces that may not be their own, Ilsa must use all the tricks up her sleeve simply to stay alive.

SIX OF CROWS meets THE PRESTIGE in a debut YA/crossover fantasy set in an alternate Victorian London, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab. 

  • parallel Londons
  • My Fair Lady type main character

I really liked this story. I loved the main character. I enjoyed the story and the different worlds. All I could think of while reading was that this was My Fair Lady solving mysteries in a magical London. And I loved My Fair Lady! So this was right up my ally.

The story follows Ilsa a street urchin with a cockney accent turned magicians assistant. Before one day she gets kidnapped and dragged under Westminster Abby only to re-emerge at Westminster Abby in a different London. Ilsa then learns who she is and what this world is like and the mystery that follows. She is a smart one!

The world, in the beginning, is fairly straight forward, its London in the Victorian times or turn of the century. They have some railway and some underground but then there is the other London. Having Ilsa as someone who is discovering this new world gives us the perfect introduction to the new London. Its new sections specially divided into the of being. There is the Changeling quarter or Camden, which Isla belongs to, The Heart for the sorcerers, The northern quarter for the Wraiths, Whitechapel for the Whisperers (mind magic), and the Docklands for the Oracles. The world-building isn’t very steep, it’s magical 🙂

The science is mainly based on the combination of magic and the different kinds of magic. It’s almost like chemistry / alchemy but with magic.

The magic is very well defined into sections. The different type of being determines what type of magic they can or can’t use. Then within that the individual determines who strong they are and if they can handle the negative side of the magic eg the pain in the bones that comes when changing into something else, etc. It’s very well done. Its got rules and limitations and I love the fact that there are people who can’t handle the pain or nausea, it makes it more tangible or real.

Ilsa is the main character. As a cockney, she is badass, strong and clever in her own way, and obviously, she can pick a few pockets and is really good a cards. I really liked her!

But there were a lot of well written good side characters like Fyfe, Eliot, Captain F, Cassia, Aelius, and Oren. I think I prefer Captain Fowler and I’m very curious to see what role he plays in the next book because I feel he will play some sort of role small or large but it will be significant. I think.

A little on the side in a positive way.

Well written and definitely someone I’m picking up another book from. This book isn’t so much about the writing though, it’s about the world and the magic. But still, the writing doesn’t get in the way of the enjoyment of the story. I feel sometimes a flamboyant text can get in the way of the story not in a bad way but still. This book has a good language that doesn’t get in the way. There was no spelling or issues that stuck out to me which is always good. All the descriptions made sense and I had zero issues.

Very enjoyable read and I’m definitely picking up the next in the series. I’m very curious to see where this goes 🙂

Have you read this? What did you think?

4 thoughts on “Review – Witherward (Witherward #1) by Hannah Mathewson

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