THE LAST WINDWITCH, by Jennifer Adam, HarperCollins, April 13, 2021, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
Jennifer Adam imagines a world of witches, magical animals and a wicked queen in her debut middle-grade fantasy, The Last Windwitch.
Many years ago, in the kingdom of Fenwood Reach, there was a powerful Windwitch who wove the seasons, keeping the land bountiful and the people happy. But then a dark magic drove her from the realm, and the world fell into chaos.
Brida is content in her small village of Oak Hollow. There, she’s plenty occupied trying to convince her fickle magic to actually do what it’s meant to in her work as a hedgewitch’s apprentice—until she accidentally catches the attention of the wicked queen.
On the run from the queen’s huntsman and her all-seeing Crow spies, Brida discovers the truth about her family, her magic, and who she is destined to be — and that she may hold the power to defeating the wicked queen and setting the kingdom right again. —Synopsis provided by HarperCollins
One of the best things about The Last Windwitch is that it stands alone. Yes, author Jennifer Adam could return to the world she’s created — and I hope she does — but she doesn’t have to. At 448 pages, it’s probably too long for less advanced middle readers. However, it takes courage to contain the story to one novel, and I commend both author and editor for that choice. The book and overall reading experience are better because of it.
Even though the Adam’s world has an expansive scope, The Last Windwitch has a distinctly intimate feel. The writer’s prose is warm and familiar, making it easy to slip into Brida’s story.
All of the characters from Brida and the hedgewitch to the crows and Brida’s horse have a weight to them. Each is realized at different levels, of course, but that attention to detail completes the tale.
Even at nearly 450 pages, The Last Windwitch moves quickly. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.
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