Title and Link: The Witch’s Boy
Author: Alex Beecroft
Publisher URL: Lulu.com
Length: 315 pages
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Guest reviewer – Christian
Are the sins of the fathers really visited upon the sons? And is there no way of breaking that cycle? Is evil doomed always to repeat itself, ruining everything good through its tainted seed?
These are not the questions young Oswy is asking himself when he is sold to the witch-Lord Sulien FitzGuimar – he’s too busy wondering ‘why me?!’ They are, however, the questions which plague Sulien himself. Locked in a struggle for freedom, sanity, the very survival of his soul, Sulien must daily battle not only angels and demons, but the core of evil in his own heart.
When the King’s vile sorcerer stages a coup, dragging ancient magic, the elves, and the royal court into his Empire-building plans, the woman he has set his sights on as a bride – timid, aspiring nun, Adela – sets out to find someone to oppose him. It’s just unfortunate that the only candidates are cowardly Oswy, Adela herself and Sulien – who, deep in his heart, wants to surrender and join in.
When the hope of redemption is balanced against the lure of revenge, which will prove stronger, flawed good or perfect evil?
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie in which you could immerse yourself so deeply, that you found yourself screaming at a character (at least in your head): “You damn fool. Don´t go down to that dark cellar from where you hear all those strange noises. You´re so stupid!“
The Witch´s Boy is one of those books. Alex Beecroft has created such a dense and detailed world in her book, that this world and its characters instantly come alive in your imagination. And it´s all there: The fantasy kingdom with it`s heroic knights, the bad (and good) witches, the peasant boy who get´s the chance to rise beyond his social origin, evil monsters, angels and even elves. Oh, and who knew that elves could be so funny? And mischievous …
So, what is this book about? There are two different main strands, which begin separately but become more and more interwoven throughout the story until they merge at the end of it. First there is peasant boy Oswy, whose family is forced to sell him because of a poor harvest. And as if that wouldn´t be bad enough already, his buyer is the feared witch-lord Sulien. Understandably he tries to flee from his master at the first possibility, but soon certain events take place which force him to rethink his presumptions of who is his friend and who is his enemy.
Then there is Adela, daughter of an Earl and living at the king´s court, who finds herself to be married off to the witch Adam de Limoges, a confidante of the king. Her struggles against this forced marriage are the beginning of a series of events which eventually force her to flee the king´s court in disguise.
When the paths of Oswy and Adela cross, they realize that they´re both threatened by one and the same person. And only if they combine their efforts, there maybe is a chance to fight this person. Maybe…
I just loved this book. I would have read it in one session, if there weren´t those stupid needs like eating and sleeping. This book definitely is a must-read.
If anyone is still unsure as where to categorize this book, even though it doesn´t fit easily into categories, I can offer my personal impression that for me it “feels” like a mixture of Sara Monette´s Doctrine of Labyrinths and Lord of the Rings, while still having its own character. So I´m quite sure that anyone who liked those books, will also like The Witch´s Boy. But to everyone else I would also strongly recommend to give it a try.