Hi everyone and welcome back to more awesome GrimDarkTober content! Brandy is one of my longest running Instagram friends and held up a corner of the now defunct blogging group for years too. I was excited when she said yes to contributing because we tend to have fairly similar reading tastes. Definitely check out her media links at the end of the article! The Year of the Witching is a dark fantasy novel with a decent amount of blood, gore, and Handmaid’s Tale vibes. It’s a great for spooky season and I hope you guys like Brandy’s review!
About the Book:
- Title: The Year of the Witching
- Series: Bethel #1
- Author: Alexis Henderson
- Publisher & Release: Ace, 2020
- Length: 368 pages
A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
The Year of the Witching took its time unfolding the story and it lost me a little here and there when the story slowed down. The pacing of exciting events might be slow but that doesn’t mean that what is going on isn’t valuable information.
Immanuelle isn’t shunned just for her mother’s union with her father – a man of a different race but also because that union took place while she essentially belonged to someone else. Once resigned to her fate and station, Immanuelle begins to yearn for more and I loved that. It made her feel like an actual person waking up from this place that is suffocating and unwilling to accept her as is.
Something settled deep within Immanuelle. It took her a moment to recognize the feeling. It wasn’t the flames of anger stoked,or the cold throes of grief. No, this was something grim and quiet… something sinister.
Immanuelle and Ezra felt a little like fated love to me personally but they at least had to work at it. Being who they were and their religion didn’t afford them many opportunities to become close. It was nice to see a sweet clean romance budding in a YA title – it seems like a while since I’ve encountered that.
I liked this story and I will definitely read the second book that is coming out but it was just an odd book for me. I am really excited to see where this story goes and learn more about the world (not just mostly the town) that Immanuelle lives in. The pacing was weird like I mentioned but it was more than that and I can’t put my finger on exactly what. I just felt a disconnect from Immanuelle’s story.
Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
You can find Brandy online at: