Witchlanders is a fantastic debut that will surely capture your attention. Lena Coakley created a world unlike any other and definitely made a memorable debut.
Ryder doesn't really believe in magic or that the red witches that live in the mountains are telling the truth. He just wants to live his life until he's able to head out on his own, travel to the sea.
His mother makes a terrifying prediction that no one believes but later comes true, and Ryder has no choice but to set out and make things right. When his journey has him crossing paths with one of his enemies, Ryder has to decide who he'll trust. There are too many secrets left buried, for his people and their enemies. Will they be able to get to the truth before it's too late?
Witchlanders is set during a time kind of like Eragon by Christopher Paolini, but it's a completely different world. We are also given two points of view: Ryders, the one of the Witchlanders, and then another boy his age named Falpian. Each boy is on a journey that eventually brings them together, working in an unlikely alliance.
I absolutely loved the imagery that Lena created with this story. It was so detailed and full that I almost felt I was there with them. Everything from describing the village to the forests filled with snow and even the deep caves where the witches lived, it was all so clear I could picture it beautifully in my head as I read. Reading the cave scenes even made me feel a little claustrophobic near the end.
Ryder and Falpian learn to work together and a lot about themselves throughout the story. But there's still so much left to uncover about them, Falpian's people, and the secrets of the Witchlanders. This allows me to hope for more books from Lena about this world and these characters. I'm definitely eager to see what she has in store for them.