So, Witchlanders is a very unconventional novel. It opens up with a mother named Mabis, in which her three sons call her by her full name. Just like the witches that protect the Witchlands and their Witchlanders from the "horrible" Baen, Mabis throws old bones around, sometimes from humans, sometimes from animals, in hopes of calling to the Great Goddess to either show if her darling huband could ever come back to her from the dead and when the next catastrophe will strike, and nothing's ever happened before. Ryder, Skyla and Piva, her children, are all getting a little tired of the inconsistency, Ryder especially. Mabis has become The Girl Who Cried Wolf, or in this case, Witchcraft. On the other side of this peaceful region is a teen named Falpian who lives with himself, his blade, and his guard dog Bo, who could be anything BUT a guard, who is given a scroll giving him orders to go on an assassination mission of a sort, and the reason he's so excited is now he has something to be special about it.
Now, I have never, EVER, read an entire book from beginning to end twice, but Witchlanders is probably going to be one that I'll pick up the first chance I get. This book is nothing short of brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! The book opens up with a quote from The Magician's Enchiridion, stating that The Great God Kar sings the world into existence, and if he stopped, everything would disappear. There is also this fantasy story of the sisters Aate and Aasa that plays a significant part in the story between the war between The Witchlanders and The Baen. The thing is, I didn't really see much difference between the two sides that were shown, but no Witchlander had apparently ever gone into Baen territory, says the persistent nun-like woman named Visser. Also, Falpian is the second introduced character and is actually a very good secondary main character, detailed just right from hair to instinct. He always feels his dreams are trying to guide him back to his deceased brother Farien, and that this special ritual and perhaps these special songs could cure. This may not sound that original, but trust me when I say it's like nothing we've ever seen before! It's a breath of fresh air to listen to all this magic without it getting so over-the-top and as unrealistic as magic can get like in Septimus Heap and The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, as well as almost no potty humour like there is in the same names. There is also a scene involving a goddess named Aata's Right Hand, who is forbidden to speak by beliefs, and that got annoying to me and to Ryder, but by the time she actually speaks, against her will, I actually felt bad for ever doubting her, and I began to actually see the side of someone like a vegan who has a breaking record for something. My stomach dropped by those reluctant words. My stomach also dropped by the way the magic was expressed. This magic was delicate and heavy, the sort that brought an original look to the fantasy genre and got me feeling like a kid again who dreamt of waking up with the Omnitrix.
Now, something interesting is that Lena Coakley hasn't made a sequel to this book, and I wish she did and hope she changes her mind, even if it's the sort of conclusion that asks us to imagine the ending and still slam the back cover down satisfied. I didn’t just want to read this book; I wanted to dream it, I wanted to sing it, I wanted to live in it forever. Finally, a fantasy that doesn’t go over the top and does one of the hardest things an author can do: Talk about religion with two side propaganda. And if Lena does this again in a sequel (which would probably be called Baen), I would probably dance around in my trousers. Not a chamber pot-worth of problems to be found.