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4.2 5
by Jenna Burtenshaw

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Jenna Burtenshaw continues her dark fantasy trilogy The Secrets of Wintercraft with YA dystopian novel Blackwatch.
In Wintercraft, fifteen-year-old Kate Winters learned she was one of the Skilled, a rare person who can bring the dead to life. Even among that rare group, Kate is special. She alone can understand the secrets of an ancient


Jenna Burtenshaw continues her dark fantasy trilogy The Secrets of Wintercraft with YA dystopian novel Blackwatch.
In Wintercraft, fifteen-year-old Kate Winters learned she was one of the Skilled, a rare person who can bring the dead to life. Even among that rare group, Kate is special. She alone can understand the secrets of an ancient book of knowledge.
In the sequel, Blackwatch, Kate is on the run from the Skilled, who have accused her of murder. And she is being hunted by an elite unit of assassins fighting in the war against Albion, Kate’s home.
When a potent magic threatens the veil between life and death, fate reunites Kate with enigmatic villain Silas Dane, a man who cannot be killed. Only they can save Albion.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Grace Enriquez
Silas Dane, the infamous and immortal soldier without a soul, is on the run. Having just betrayed the High Council of Albion and executed one of its members, Silas steals his way across the country and learns that there is another who shares his kind of limbo existence. Meanwhile, instead of finding refuge among the Skilled, people like her who can manipulate the veil between life and death, Kate Winters is denounced and imprisoned by them. While Silas and Kate each embark on their own pursuits, the veil continues to draw them together until they both face the same formidable enemy and realize that the war between the Content and Albion is just a shadow of a growing new terror that will leave no citizen of either land unscathed. Burtenshaw ups the ante from her first novel, Shadowcry (Greenwillow, 2011/ VOYA online), in terms of plot. While certainly gripping, however, events occur in settings that are not clearly distinguishable from each other, and readers new to the Secrets of Wintercraft series will need to guess what some terminology means. Silas remains the most complex and intriguing character, though his longtime rival, Bandermain, is equally compelling. Kate and Edgar could still use more depth as characters, but their story lines reveal the mysterious history of Wintercraft, Albion, and the Skilled—a great improvement from the convoluted explanations in the first novel. Blackwatch is a satisfying continuation of Kate and Silas's saga and an enjoyable teaser for the next installment in the series. Reviewer: Grace Enriquez
Kirkus Reviews
Amid the backlash from the events of Shadowcry (2011), Kate Winters' and Silas Dane's destinies again become intertwined. As a traitor on the run, Silas finds a new goal and purpose in rumors of activity from another of Albion's old enemies--fellow immortal Dalliah Grey, who caused the council a great deal of trouble hundreds of years ago. But heading across the sea to the Continent to join up with her proves difficult when Silas runs into an old enemy from his soldier days. In a parallel story line, Kate's allies find refuge among the Skilled, but she finds imprisonment. In learning why they are so resistant to her, she learns more about Wintercraft and how dangerous her bloodline is. Late in the novel, both story lines finally come together when powerful magic jeopardizes the veil between the living and the dead. Kate's story explores more of the history of Albion, the Skilled and the bonemen. By contrast, the Continental setting is underutilized and under-explored, lacking sufficient differentiation from Albion. The characters that inhabit it--such as Silas' rival and foil Bandermain, the elite Blackwatch he commands and the enigmatic Dalliah--make up for the Continent's lack of personality by providing the ambiguity that made Silas so interesting in the first installment. Fans of Shadowcry (2011) will find the plot improvements satisfying. (Fantasy. 10-15)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Following the events of Shadowcry (HarperCollins, 2011), Kate is on trial for murder-and found guilty by the very people she trusted. Her friend Edgar helps her break out of prison, but while escaping the Skilled (those with the power to see into the veil separating the living from the dead), they are picked up by the Blackwatch, a powerful militarylike enforcement agency. The Blackwatch is also hunting the evil Silas Dane, whose link to Kate may save or doom them both. Orchestrating both hunts is mysterious and powerful Dalliah, who wants to see more of Kate's rare ability to enter the "shadowed realm between the living and the dead" and use that power to speed the veil's destruction. Underdeveloped characters and labored prose bog down what could be a fast-paced adventure. Events of the first book are referenced but not explained, leaving confusing gaps for readers new to the series. Some teens may connect with the story, but if it's Kate's magical talents that interest them, suggest Garth Nix's Sabriel (HarperTeen, 1996) instead.—Brandy Danner, Wilmington Memorial Library, MA

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Secrets of Wintercraft Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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Meet the Author

Jenna Burtenshaw has been writing since she was a child, and she divides her time between her writing, her dogs, and her rescue rabbits. She is the author of Shadowcry and Blackwatch. She lives in England.

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Blackwatch 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
MysticDaisy More than 1 year ago
An incredible sequel to an incredible series. I can't wait until Legacy is released in the U.S. This author is definitely in my top 5.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant wait for the third book to come, i need to know what happens!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
calileo More than 1 year ago
The sequel to Shadowcry did not disappoint. It's not a typical teen fiction book. It leaves you wanting to know if indeed Kate Winters gets what she wants most, " A normal life."
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
I hadn't read book one (Shadowcry) before picking this one up; however, I was able to fill in the blanks pretty quickly based off events. Kate has been found guilty for murder that she didn't commit by the people she trusted. After an attempt on her life, Kate escapes with her friend Edgar, uncertain about her future only knowing that she needs to stay alive. Elsewhere, Silas is on the run, wanted for betraying his fellow Councilmen. After hearing about someone like him, he decides to find the woman in the hopes of finding an ally. Kate isn't my favorite character. She's timid and acts rationally, allowing herself to be taken prisoner because she doesn't trust herself not to accidentally kill those she cares about. Her powers are beyond comprehension, as she comes from a strong lineage of Walkers, skilled among the Skilled; being the last of her kind, the other Skilled fear her abilities. I like Edgar for his honesty and loyalty, and I like Silas because he's a loner who trusts in his abilities and who remains loyal to his beliefs even when his people distrust him after his ability to die was taken from him. As much as I like certain characters, however, I can't say the same for the novel overall. I have high expectations for fantasy novels. They were my first love when it came to YA books. Because of the complex world building that it takes to bring fantasy worlds to life, I like my fantasy novels to be descriptive more than any other genre that I read, and I need to be able to follow character motivation. Blackwatch didn't delve deeply enough into the world or character for me to relate to the characters. I wanted to like them, especially Silas and Edgar, but I didn't feel as though I got to know them well enough. While the alternating narration between Kate and Silas should have rounded out the plot, the writing style doesn't seem well suited to fantasy, and I didn't feel the connection. It is easy for me to see paranormal readers jumping on this book, and there are those who will enjoy it. As for myself, I don't have any interest in picking up the first book or the third in this trilogy.