Title: Witherward
Author: Hannah Mathewson
Published: 16 Feb 2021
Pages: 400

Hello my fellow Bookworms and page turners,

This is my first ever review via NetGallery, therefore I was sent a review copy of the book from the publisher in return for an honest view.

Now I admit that I was a bit apprehensive about this one, as the blurb sounded fantastic, but once I got into it I started to get some horrible flashbacks of reading Uprooted. However, my fears were unfounded as it was much, much better than that!

Ilsa our main protagonist is an orphan, runaway, shape-shifter stranded in our Victorian London. She knows she is special and has just about got a handle on her powers, well, enough to put on what would otherwise be the magic show of the century anyway, that is if the actual magician could keep the whiskey bottle out of his hand long enough to let his ‘Magical Assistant’ do her thing!

They finally have their last chance to knock them dead, but something unforeseen happens, which results in a handsome stranger dragging Ilsa off to her real family in an ever so slightly more ‘Magical’ London.

It is there that Ilsa learns of her heritage, her missing sibling and the plight of her people as this alternative London is a city divided, split between six rival magical factions, each with their own extraordinary talents. But with enemies seemingly on all side, and only a handful of allies to boot can Ilsa get herself, and her people out of this mess?

Mathewson does a really good job of grounding the world with real-world elements and places that are apparent in both Londons. There are rules and limitations to the magic that is used by each of the factions. Some of these limitations do follow some dark themes, but I feel that this only adds a little more depth, grit and overall believability to the world Matthewson has created. Although, if you ask me the Wraiths may be a tad OP, but everyone loves a plucky, good-looking ever so slightly cocky captain right? Or is that just me?

The characters do suffer a tiny bit from ‘Adolescence’, and just about every main supporting male character in it is ‘classically handsome, or fit’ but for the most part they are likeable, well rounded, and have a variety of different personalities, quirks, tensions & pre-existing relationships that Ilsa has to uncover, in a new person in the kings/queens court sort of way.

All in all, its no real surprise that I liked this one, being a fan of YA, Magical worlds, mysterious figures and stories with a slightly dark edge to them this one pretty much ticked all of my boxes. I would certainly recommend picking this one up, and giving it a go!

Until next time, read more books!

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