The Witchling's Girl Book Cover The Witchling's Girl
Helena Coggan
Sci Fi & Fantasy | Teens & YA
Hodder & Stoughton
Pub Date 7 Jan 2021

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 failed to get involved in the storyline, it seemed too reminiscent of the stories of Baba Yaga and her house on chicken legs that lives in many dimensions. (In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a supernatural being who appears as a deformed or ferocious-looking old woman. Baba Yaga may help or hinder those that encounter her or seek her out). So having read stories about Baba and her disciples before and quite enjoyed them, I needed to read a story which was completely different – except this one wasn’t. And death magic is quite common too in stories and comes across better in a humorous format I find.

This is my personal view as someone who reads and has already read, far more than the 10,000 lifetime books – as I read 400 books a year. So you really have to be good and original especially when delving into folk-lore or fairytales.

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