In a quiet street far from the river, with an ancient tree growing through its walls and floors, is the House of the Dead. There lives the witchling: healer, midwife and conduit between the world of the living and the world below. A witchling must give up her family and friends and spend her life alone, tending to the sick and carrying the dead down dark tunnels to the underworld.
Haley was born with the gift of death-magic, and at the age of seven her mother abandons her to the witchling to be raised as her successor. But as Haley grows older and learns her craft – as invading armies pass through her town, people are born and die on her floor, and loyalties shift and dissolve around her – she finds it harder and harder to keep her vows and be the perfect and impassive healer.
But if she can’t, it will be her downfall – and that of everyone she’s not supposed to love . . .
I was really excited to receive this book for review by Hodder & Stoughton, the synopsis sounded extremely intriguing and the cover is gorgeous and completely evocative of the novel within. It is so beautifully and eloquently written, it’s dark, haunting and atmospheric and although it made me feel a little uneasy and unsettled at times, I couldn’t help but keep turning the pages wondering what would happen next. The opening chapter introduces you to a 7 year old Haley, the main protagonist, resurrecting a cat and this in itself draws the reader into the story immediately and doesn’t let go.
The world and magic system are fascinating and intricate and there is such wonderful attention to detail. The writer really plays with your emotions, there is an intensity and passion with which the author writes and you never know what is going happen from one page to the next. The pacing is fairly slow, but this is necessary due to the depth of explanation and intricacies of the world. I never once felt bored and the story completely held my attention and never dragged.
The main characters are phenomenal, they are beautifully portrayed and have depth and complexity. The main focus is on Haley and the story is written from her perspective narrating her own life. Haley becomes the village witchling, who lives in the House of the Dead and it is her duty is to try to heal whoever comes to her without question, she is also the proclaimer of death transporting the deceased to the Underworld. I was rooting for Haley all the way through, she has suffered so many hardships and has had such an exhausting life and I hoped she would find happiness. I enjoyed following the exploration and development of the relationship Haley had with Marion and latterly with the mysterious Leah.
This is one of those hauntingly beautiful novels I will be thinking about for years to come and the ending of this book will definitely toy with your emotions. There are some heartfelt and tragic scenes, along with some chilling moments, however although the novel is a little bit grim it is beautifully and vividly written and you can’t help but become completely emotionally invested in the story. The Witchling’s Girl would make the perfect Halloween read or if you love reading about witches and magic and something dark and haunting.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 7 January 2021
Page Count: 371 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Thank you to the publisher for the lovely advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊
✿ 𝒦𝒶𝓇𝑒𝓃 ✿