Witch King

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Witch King (Hardcover, 2023, Tordotcom)

Hardcover, 432 pages

Published May 30, 2023 by Tordotcom.

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4 stars (7 reviews)

2 editions

Murder Demon

4 stars

The only other books by Martha Wells that I've read are the Murderbot Diaries, so it's pretty hard for me not to view it through that lens.

Which is unfair on the book, because it is entirely its own thing.

But also carries a lot of Murderbot DNA.

There's the conversational style, the same exasperated, hyper-confident protagonist with a prickly exterior but a heart of gold...

But Kai is also more openly vulnerable, more open with his friends and much more DTF.

Plot-wise it suffers from the same issues I have with the MBDs. The overarching story wasn't compelling, I don't really understand the stakes or the politics, at least not for the bulk of the book. So it was hard to get invested. But it doesn't matter because the whole thing is really just a framework to hang the individual set pieces on and, man, Wells is amazing on …

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 …

Densely packed, unique world building with an exciting storyline that drives the narrative more than the characters do.

No rating

I initially was a little intimidated when I opened the book and was greeted with a list of names and titles from a world I didn't understand, but the characters are all described as they're introduced, such that I didn't ever need to page back to the list, so I worried for nothing. Martha Wells does an incredible job of fitting a lot of world building into a small space, doling out lore as necessary in a way that still sparks the imagination. And what a world it is! Layers of culture, powers, politics, and history unfold in two separate timelines with a scope that feels like a big adventure. Kai is a fun mix of snarky and competent, with other characters distinct, but not given quite as much attention. Overall, characters and their arcs to take a bit of a backseat to the plot and its mysteries. While this …

Witch King

4 stars

This book is the tale of Kai (a demon prince) who had been trapped with his witch friend Ziede, working to figure out who had trapped them and why, while also trying to rescue their missing friend Tahren. There's also a perspective of Kai from the past being trapped, freed, and working to fight against the Hierarchs.

I have some mixed feelings about this book. It certainly opens up very strongly and the characters, plot, and world grabbed me immediately. I am a sucker for a story with dual perspective, telling a story in the past as well as the present that echo each other. The worldbuilding ideas felt super fresh and I loved learning about the world, the politics, and the characters. However, I was disappointed by parts of the ending, felt overwhelmed by a lot of world detail for quite some time, and wished that there was a …

avatar for joachim@lire.boitam.eu

rated it

5 stars