Review: “False Covenant (Widdershins #2)” by Ari Marmell


Title: “False Covenant (Widdershins #2)”

Author: Ari Marmell

Genre: YA, fantasy, paranormal

Publication Date: June 26, 2012 (expected)

Summary: A creature of the other world, an unnatural entity bent on chaos and carnage, has come to stalk the nighttime streets of the Galicien city of Davillon. There’s never a good time for murder and panic, but for a community already in the midst of its own inner turmoil, this couldn’t possibly have come at a worse one.

Not for Davillon, and not for a young thief who calls herself Widdershins.

It’s been over half a year since the brutal murder of Archbishop Wil­liam de Laurent during his pilgrimage to Davillon. And in all that time, Widdershins has truly tried her best. She has tried to take care of Genevieve’s tavern and tried to make a semihonest living in a city slowly stagnating under the weight of an angry and disapproving Church. She has tried to keep out of trouble, away from the attentions of the Davillon Guard and above the secrets and schemes of the city’s new bishop.

But she’s in way over her head, with no idea which way to turn. The Guard doesn’t trust her. The Church doesn’t trust her. Her own Thieves’ Guild doesn’t trust her.

Too bad for everyone, then, that she and her personal god, Olgun, may be their only real weapon against a new evil like nothing the city has ever seen.

☆: 4/5 stars – a great new installment in this series!

Review: Our favorite thief and god are back in “False Covenant” – another adventure where the supernatural haunts the streets of Davillon, there’s romance in the air, and more shenanigans with the Finders’ Guild and the crew at the Witch. With this installment of the series, Marmell takes us to soaring highs and plunging lows and takes the George R R Martin school of fantasy very seriously and reminds us that no character is safe. I loved this volume in the series, and I can’t wait for the next one!

Widdershins has grown considerably between the end of book one and the start of book two – when you begin the book, you already get this sense that she’s matured, both physically and emotionally. And considering what happened to her over the course of book one, this is a good thing. Her relationship with Olgun seems to have matured as well, and this made for a lot of mental fist-bumping moments for whenever he helped out during a street fight or when trying to dodge Iruoch. She feels more and more like a real girl during the course of this book, and Marmell fills her out very realistically – through grief, love, first crushes and kisses, and of course, lots of thieving shenanigans.

We also see the world expand a little more in this volume to outside of Davillon itself as a city – we know that it’s a Galicien city, but up until the end of the book, we don’t know much of anything that happens outside of it. The way that Marmell sets this up is heartbreaking, but necessary – we lose a very dear character, but it’s only to make Widdershins grow and ready for her for yet another journey to come in book 3. We also see the reach of the Church and the Hallowed Pact, along with the other fables of Davillon literally come to life in the streets. For a tiny god, Olgun seems to attract a lot of trouble, as does Widdershins, and we see that in the world that Marmell expands around us. We see the economic effects of the Church’s meddling, and how that trickles down from the very top of the aristocracy down to the poorest urchins on the street. Well done in your worldbuilding, sir.

Now to my favorite part – Marmell once again proves that he’s not afraid to kill his darlings in order to get the payoff he wants. And yeah, I’ll admit, I did get angry/teary-eyed at the end of this book in terms of the darling he offed. I think a lot of fans of book one will feel the same way by the end of book two, but will also recognize that it was necessary in terms of reinforcing both to Widdershins herself and to us as the audience that no one is safe and anyone can be taken out at anytime. (I call this the George R R Martin School of Fantasy and Worldbuilding.) Sad? Yes. But utterly necessary as the characters and the world itself cannot grow without this sacrifice. You know an author has achieved his goal when you love a character so much you get angry when he dies.

Final verdict? Fans of book one, you simply cannot miss this second one. But beware: there will be a LOT of feelings to deal with at the end of this installment. To newcomers, definitely read book one first, as you might feel more than a bit lost here. “False Covenant” is out in June from Pyr/Prometheus books in North America – definitely not a sequel to miss this year!

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One thought on “Review: “False Covenant (Widdershins #2)” by Ari Marmell

  1. Pingback: usagi’s challenges for 2012! « birth of a new witch.

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