From New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard, Sightwitch is a standalone illustrated novella set in the Witchlands and told through Ryber’s journal entries and sketches.
Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch...
Before Merik returned from the dead…
Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.
Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sightand though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.
On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.
About the Author
Susan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. Working in marine biology, she got to travel the world six out of seven continents (she'll get to Asia one of these days!) before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor. She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series, as well as the Witchlands series, which includes the New York Times bestselling Truthwitch and Windwitch. When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, slaying darkspawn on her Xbox, or earning bruises at the dojo.
Read an Excerpt
The Sleeping Giant
Said to always guide north, the Sleeping Giant is a cluster of three stars, visible even with the moon at its fullest.
Several theories exist for the origin of the constellation's name, many of which are rooted in different fables meant to keep children well-behaved. However, I posit that the name predates all of those fables as well as the cultures that created them.
Tanzi was summoned today.
It happened like it always does: we were at morning prayer in the observatory, hunched in our seats with eyes closed. I was sitting with the other Serving Sisters, a swathe of brown through the hall of silver Sightwitches. We might be all nationalities, all origins, all ages, but Serving Sisters always sat on one end. Full-fledged Sightwitch Sisters always sat on the other.
Clouds had gathered overnight. A flimsy light filtered through the stained glass in the observatory's ceiling, casting the amphitheater rows in shadows.
We had just begun the Memory Vow. Head Sister Hilga stood beside the scrying pool at the room's heart, her hands clasped at her belly and her eyes closed. Our voices bounced on the marble walls, eighty-seven throats sounding like a thousand.
PRAYERS OF THE SIGHTWITCH SISTER
The Memory Vow
In the name of Sirmaya,
The Vow of Clear Eyes
In the name of Sirmaya,
The Vow of a Future Dreamed
In the name of Sirmaya,
As the final words in the Memory Vow — "Once seen, never forgotten. Once heard, never lost" — crossed our lips, a telltale flap of wings echoed out.
My heart dropped to my toes, as it always does when I hear that sound.
Please be for me, I begged, staring at the stained-glass dome overhead — at the constellation of bright stars. Please be coming for me, Sleeper. I follow all the Rules, I've learned all my lessons, and I have served you without complaint for thirteen years. Please, Sirmaya, Summon me.
I wanted to vomit. I wanted to shout. Surely, surely my day had finally come.
Then the spirit swift appeared, swirling out of the scrying pool. A black mist that coalesced into a sharp-tailed, graceful-winged figure, its feathers speckled with starlight. It circled once, with eyes that glowed golden, and a wintery, crisp smell wafted over me.
That smell meant a Summoning.
Pick me, I prayed, the tips of my fingers numb from clutching so tightly at my tunic. Pick me, pick me —
The spirit swift twirled past the telescope ledge before winging down to the Serving Sisters, fourteen of us in brown. I swayed. My heart surged into my throat.
Two hops. It was almost to me, if aiming slightly more toward Tanzi. But there was still a chance it might change course. Still a chance it might twist back to me ...
It didn't. It skipped over to Tanzi's toes because, of course, the swift could not be here for me.
They are never here for me.
Seventeen years old, and my eyes are still their natural brown. Thirteen years at the Convent, and I'm still consigned to drab cotton.
Somehow, though, I managed to keep my throat from screaming, No! I wanted to shriek — Sirmaya knows I wanted to shriek and that my eyes burned with tears. It wasn't Tanzi's fault, though, that the Goddess had picked her first.
And it wasn't Tanzi's fault that our loving Goddess never seemed to want me at all.
If I was going to blame anyone, I should blame Sister Rose and Sister Gwen, Sister Hancine and Sister Lindou. All those years growing up, they had filled my head with stories, telling me that I would be a powerful Sightwitch one day. That I would be the next Head Sister with a Sight to rival even Hilga's. No, they had never seen such visions, but they were sure of it all the same.
Why did I still cling to those old tales when they were so clearly not true? If the Sleeper had truly wanted to give me the strongest Sight, then surely She would have done so by now.
So I didn't cry and I didn't scream. Instead, I forced a smile to my lips and gave Tanzi a hug. She looked so worried, I couldn't not offer my Threadsister something. Her thick eyebrows had drawn into a single black line. Her russet skin was pinched with worry and guilt, an expression I never wanted to see on her face. If smiling would ease it, then smiling I could do.
"One of our ranks has been Summoned," Sister Hilga intoned. The words she always said, words that were never spoken for me. "Praise be to Sirmaya."
"Praise be to Sirmaya," the Sisters murmured back. Except for me. Tanzi still hugged me so tight, so fierce.
"You're not supposed to hug me," I whispered. Hilga was already walking toward us, the Summoning bell pulled from her belt.
"Forget the rules for one second," Tanzi hissed back. "And water my violets while I'm gone. Unless, of course, you get Summoned too."
"Yes." I held my smile as stiff as the stars in the stained glass. "Unless I get Summoned too."
Empty words made of dust. We both knew it would never happen. Summonings are rare enough; two Sisters Summoned at once is practically unheard of. And with each day that passes, the less I think I will ever get called inside the mountain to earn the gift of Sight.
Then that was it. That was all Tanzi and I got for a good-bye before my Threadsister was tugged onward and the rest of us were assembling into rows. At the end was me, all alone, for our number does not break evenly.
Hilga rang the bell once, and its bright tinkle filled the observa-tory. Filled my ears, then hooked deep into my heart and yanked down.
I hated the sound of that bell even more than the deeper bell that followed. The one in the belfry above the Crypts' Chapel.
At the main bell's single toll, we walked.
Little Trina, who is at least two hands shorter than I, glanced back at me. Pity clouded her blue eyes. Or maybe it wasn't pity but rather a fear that she'd one day end up like me: seventeen and still pall-eyed. Seventeen and still dressed in brown.
Seventeen and still un-Summoned by our sleeping Goddess, Sirmaya.
I pretended not to see Trina staring, and when we began the Chant of Sending, I hummed the hollow tones louder than I had ever hummed before. I wanted Tanzi to hear me, all the way at the front of the line, as we wound out of the observatory and up the trail into the evergreens.
Two of the Serving Sisters had cleared this path last week, but already white rubble clotted the pine-needle path. It sheds from the mountain each time she shakes herself.
I will have to clean it again tomorrow — just you wait. Hilga will come to me in the morning with that chore. Except this time, there will be no Tanzi to help.
When at last we reached the chapel pressed against the mountain's white face, the chant came to an end. Always the same rhythm, always the same timing.
We all stopped there, at the entrance into the Crypts, the Convent's vast underground library. The chant was over, but its memory still hung in the air around us as we fanned into half circles around the arched entrance.
The spirit swift that had Summoned Tanzi swooped over us now, briefly multiplying into three aetherial birds. Then six. Then shrinking back into one before sailing through the open door.
When it had disappeared from sight, Hilga nodded at Tanzi. "From this day on, Tanzi Lamanaya will be no more. She will leave us as a Serving Sister and return with the Gift of Clear Eyes."
"Praise be to the Sleeper," we all murmured — even me, though it made my stomach hurt to say it.
Tanzi smiled then. A brilliant, giddy one with no sign of her earlier fret.
And who could blame her? Even she, who waxed day in and day out about wanting to leave the Convent — even she wanted the Sight as badly as the rest of us.
And now she would get it. She'd been Summoned by the Sleeper, the most important moment in the life of a Sightwitch Sister. The only moment, really, that matters.
I tried to mimic her grin. Tried to show Tanzi that I was happy for her — because I was. A person can grieve for herself yet still revel in someone else's good fortune.
Our eyes barely had time to connect before Hilga gripped Tanzi's shoulder and turned her away.
They walked, Tanzi and Hilga, step by measured step into the chapel. Into the mountain. Soon enough, they were lost to the shadows.
The next time I would see Tanzi, her eyes would no longer match mine.
The other Sisters turned away then and marched back to the observatory in their perfect lines.
I lingered behind, my gaze trapped on the words etched into the marble above the chapel entrance.
TWO OR MORE AT ALL TIMES,FOR A LONE SISTER IS LOST.
We call it the Order of Two, and no matter your heritage, the letters shift and melt into whatever language you find easiest to read.
For me, that is Cartorran. My aunt took me from Illrya before I was old enough to learn its written language.
I could not help but wonder, every time I saw these letters, What do those words look like for someone who cannot read?
I shook my head. A useless question, and one that left me running to catch back up to the group.
The rest of my day unfolded in silence.
Tanzi's half of the bed is cold now, as I write this. Only without her here do I realize how adapted to her presence I am. Her sideways snorts when she thinks something's funny. The constant cracking of her knuckles while she talks. Or even how she breathes heavy in her sleep, not quite a snore, but a sound I'm so accustomed to.
I don't want to sleep. I don't want to wake up alone. And I don't want to wake up wondering, yet again, why, why, why I am still without the Sight.
Today, I received a knife with an amber on the hilt. My mentor, Sister Hilga, told me it is the "key to the past" and that I must not lose it. "Every Sister at the Convent has their own key," she said. "And they are not to be shared."
She also gave me a huge book called A Brief Guide to the Sight-witches and this diary, in which I'm supposed to record all events of the day. Then, upon waking, I must record all of my dreams.
I hope I can remember my dreams. I've never remembered them before.
Today, I learned the hierarchy of the Sightwitch Sisters. I don't think I'll forget the three kinds of Sisters, seeing as I live here now and will be seeing them every day, but I also do not want to disobey my mentor. Especially since my roommate, a girl named Ryber Fortiza, has now scolded me twice for not following the rules.
Ryber is from Illrya, and she's just like Gran-Mi always said the Illryans were: focused and serious.
"Your bed is not made right," Ryber pointed out earlier. Then just a few moments later, she said, "You will get us into trouble, Tanzi. The lanterns are snuffed at the twenty-first chimes, and lighting a candle after that would be breaking Rule 33."
Her dark eyes have been narrowed ever since and her brow sloped so low. Gran-Mi would say that she has a face for telling stories, because it is so expressive.
I miss Gran-Mi. I hope I don't cry tonight. I don't think Ryber would like that.
Oh, no, Ryber is staring expectantly at me again. I had better write what I remember from my lessons.
First, we were assigned something called the Nine Star Puzzle. "Given the nine stars," Hilga said, "connect them all with only four lines and without lifting your chalk from the slate."
The nine stars were laid out like this:
But I still haven't figured out how to connect the stars with only four lines. And I've tried a hundred different ways.
After that, we learned the three kinds of Sisters.
Ryber drew the pictures for me and added the notes. She says it's better to have pictures in our diaries, but I can't draw.
"Not yet," Ryber told me, "but you'll learn." Then she read what I'd written about her above, and she laughed. A big sound. The kind Gran-Mi would've called "catching."
"You can call me Ry," she said next. "And I'm sorry I nagged you earlier. But Rule 8 says, 'Obedience is holy.' So you see? Only by following the Rules will Sirmaya know which Sisters are good enough for her to Summon."
Serving Sisters are acolytes at the Convent. They serve the Sightwitch Sisters by helping to clean, cook, and garden.
Summoned Sisters are acolytes who have been Summoned by Sirmaya to go into the mountain. For up to two days, a Sister is underground meeting the Goddess, but I don't really know what that means.
Sightwitch Sisters have the Sight, meaning they can look at something once and remember it forever. They also can use their knives (like the knife Sister Hilga gave me) to remove memories from corpses. And, when they pray together, the Sisters can see visions in the scrying pool at the observatory.
"Oh," I said, thinking back to the massive list of Rules that Hilga had showed me earlier.
There were a lot.
Ry seemed to know what I was thinking because she laughed again and said, "Don't worry. You have time to learn it all. I've been here for five years — since I was four years old! — and I'm still learning."
Then she smiled big, and I smiled back.
"What about the Nine Star Puzzle?" I asked. "I haven't figured that out yet."
"Me either! And I've been trying to solve since I got here." She shrugged. "Sister Hilga says that it takes some Sisters their whole lives to find the answer."
I winced. "I hope it doesn't take me my whole life."
"It won't, Tanz. It won't." Ryber laughed after that, a bright sound that made me laugh too.
I like how she called me "Tanz."
"Do you have other questions?" she asked while neatly turning down her half of the bed.
I hesitated. I did have a question, but I did not want to be rude. My curiosity got the better of me in the end, though. "Why did Sister Lindou say I was lucky to share a room with you?"
"Oh." Ryber's face fell, and I knew right away I shouldn't have asked. I should have "practiced restraint" like Gran-Mi always taught me.
"They tell me I will have strong Sight one day," Ryber answered eventually. "Stronger than other Sisters. So I guess being with me is ... special."
I wanted to ask her why her Sight would be stronger and why that made her special, but this time, I was smart enough to stay quiet.
Poor Ry. I don't like how worried she looks now.
Y18 D153 — 1 day since Tanzi was Summoned
I don't remember my dreams. As usual.
And I already miss Tanzi. It's strange to wake up alone. Strange to write this without hearing her quill scratch nearby. Strange to sit in this cold space with no one asking, "Did you sleep well, Rybie-Ry?"
Oh, it is true she will be back tonight, but her eyes will no longer be the dark brown of most Kritians. They will be silver.
She will be clear-eyed. A true Sightwitch Sister.
It is worse, though, knowing she will no longer be allowed to share a room with me. She will return from the mountain at the dolmen in the Grove, where all newly gifted Sisters arrive, and then she will move two stories above me in the Convent. She will have a new roommate, a new room, a new life.
I cannot help but wonder if our Threadsister bond can survive that.
A week after Tanzi arrived at the Convent, Hilga assigned us sheep duty with Sister Gwen. But Gwen fell asleep, the sheep wandered outside the glamour, and Tanzi and I got horribly, hideously lost while searching for them. Ever since that day of rain, cold, menacing forest, and unruly sheep, we've been best friends.
Please Sirmaya, don't let that change. I cannot take fake kindness from her. The gift of Sight changes everything. It digs a chasm between friends as wide as the mountain. As deep as the scrying pool from which the spirit swifts fly.
And it happens every time. First there was Sister Margrette, then Sister Ute, then Lachmi, then Oriya. Fazimeh, Yenna, Birgit, Gaellan. They were all my friends; now I hardly speak to them.
No doubt there are even more lost friends who I'm forgetting since I do not have the gift of Clear Eyes. Once seen, often forgotten. Once heard, usually lost.
I wish I'd been the one Summoned instead of Tanzi.
I hate myself for that.
And just as I predicted, I was charged with clearing the mountain paths today. Summer has fully awakened in the forest that hugs the slope. The weak, fighting buds of spring that I saw last are now full leaves. Green, green everywhere.
On a normal day, it would have made me feel better to be outside instead of cooped up in the kitchen. And on a normal day, Tanzi and I would have played the game we always played when no one is around to hear us.
"What happens inside the mountain?" I would ask. Then she'd chime back, "What happens during the Summoning?" For hours we would make guess after guess, each more absurd than the last.
Excerpted from "Sightwitch"
Copyright © 2018 Susan Dennard.
Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
The Sleeping Giant,
Ryber Fortiza: Y18 D152,
Tanzi Lamanaya: Y10 D234,
Ryber Fortiza: Y18 D153 — 1 day since Tanzi was Summoned,
Ryber Fortiza: Y18 D154 — 2 days since Tanzi was Summoned,
Ryber Fortiza: Y18 D155 — 3 days since Tanzi was Summoned,
Tanzi Lamanaya: Y16 D89,
Y18 D156 — 4 days since Tanzi was Summoned,
Y18 D159 — 7 days,
Y18 D161 — 9 days,
Y18 D165 — 13 days,
Y18 D167 — 15 days,
Y18 D168 — 16 days,
Y18 D171 — 19 days,
Y18 D174 — 22 days since Tanzi was Summoned,
Tanzi Lamanaya: Y17 D254,
Y18 D180 — 6 days since I became the last Sightwitch Sister,
Y18 D184 — 10 days since I became the last Sightwitch Sister,
Y18 D195 — 21 days since I became the last Sightwitch Sister,
Y18 D209 — 35 days since I became the last Sightwitch Sister,
Eridysi Gochienka: Y2786 D128,
Eridysi Gochienka: Y2786 D132,
Ryber Fortiza: Y18 D212 — 38 days since I became the last Sightwitch,
Ryber Fortiza: Y18 D215 — 41 days since I became the last Sightwitch,
Eridysi Gochienka: Y2786 D134,
Tanzi Lamanaya: Y14 D27,
Ryber Fortiza: Y18 D216 — 42 days since I became the last Sightwitch,
Ryber Fortiza: Y18 D223 — 49 days since I became the last Sightwitch Sister,
Y18 D261 — 87 days since I became the last Sightwitch Sister,
The Sleeping Giant,
Also by Susan Dennard,
About the Author,
About the Illustrator,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love a novella that can stand on its own and isn't just a leftover story from another book. SIGHTWITCH is a cleverly written book presented in a diary format that tells an important part of the Witchlands history. I really enjoyed it! The creativity with the drawings and use of journal entries was great.
This book really brings some of the characters and the history of the Witchlands together. Can't wait until the new book is out.?
An amazing prequel! This prequel came as a surprise as I did not expect to like it as much as I did (as I am a very picky reader and am often wary of the prequels). It has an interesting blend of two major plots and I had so many AHA moments when I was reading it! After finishing, I immediately had an itch to pick up Truthwitch again! Can't recommend highly enough!
I don't really know why I waited so long to catch up on the Witchlands series and read Sightwitch, but nearly a year after picking it up, I am so glad I finally did. I LOVED this book. It might be my new favorite in the series so far. I love Susan Dennard's style. As a novella, everything about it is tight and fast-paced. The variety of drawings and artistic touches in the book made it more engaging and interactive than your typical book. The added insight into Ryber as a character, and the reveals about Kullen, were huge for me. Ryber and her rules! I also really enjoyed learning more about the world of the Witchlands and its history. Reading this one has really made me want to go back and revisit Truthwitch and Windwitch. As much as I cannot wait to see what happens next in Bloodwitch, I think I have to. :)
A perfect companion !This book provides all kinds of background info on the Witchlands while being fun, spooky, and expertly crafted in its own right. I CANNOT WAIT to see how the rest of this plays out. I see the threads of these stories reaching out and can’t to wait for them to intersect!
A MUST READ for any Witchlanders. This novella is so cleverly written and I loved the illustrations! Ryber’s story is full of mystery and shows her strength as a Sightwitch. I loved that we got to learn more about this before-thought-to-be “side character” because she is going to be so important later on! With this installment, you finally realize how much world building, plotting and hint-dropping the author has done in the previous books, and with this book and it blows my mind.
The strongest storytelling from Susan Dennard yet. A tight knitting of diary, action, puzzels, and symbolism that runs the entire length of the book.
I devoured it after my book arrived. I had a book hangover. More recently however, I’ve been doing a reread of the series, chronologically mind you, and I didn’t think it could get better after I’d already read it once. It did. Sooz is a phenomenal writer–for any of those who are looking at writing her website is full of amazing tips that have helped me so much–and her world building shines in this novel. Those small things that you don’t believe notice, they tilt the world on its axis in Sightwitch. In comparison to the other novels, this is set in such a small location. However, it in turns opens up the whole world of the Witchlands. Honestly? With it’s weird side notes, quirky format, intense attention to detail, mystery, and snarky characters, I think Sightwitch is my favorite book in the series so far. Often times novellas, while fun, don’t add much to the plot. This is completely the opposite. If we didn’t have Sightwitch, well I’m not sure I’d want to know what this series would be like without it. I certainly wouldn’t have my imagination going quite as full tilt trying to figure out where it’s going. Once again, Sooz attacks your heartstrings with what the meaning of family is, and what that means. I love the strength of friendships that is given in these novels. Sooz truly takes the words out of my mouth when she talks about what the ‘threadsisters’ in her books would do for one another. I could go on about this for days. If somehow you haven’t decided that Susan Dennard’s Witchland series is something you should read, then I don’t think my previous reviews have done their job. They are full of romantic tension, the strength of friendships, amazing magics, crazy intense world building, exciting creatures, and everything you want in a fantasy novel. Did I mention there is going to be at least five books in this series? You have time to become addicted before Bloodwitch comes out next year!
This story takes place before Truthwitch (the first book in the Witchlands series) but should be read after Windwitch (the second in the series). There are two timelines in this one: the distant past and the near past where we follow Ryber, Kullen’s heartthread. We learn how Ryber and Kullen met and what happened to the Sightwitch Sisters. This book is set up more like a journal and has a lot of amazing diagrams/drawings. But don’t let that fool you! The different format doesn’t mean there’s any less in this story. So many puzzle pieces are revealed!
Let me start with just wow...I loved the insight this book provided not only into Ryber's and Kullen's past but into everything that has been happening with the Witchlands as well. I really enjoyed how it was written in diary format and all the drawings and diagrams made the book all the more interesting to read!! I cannot wait to find out if all this info will connect back into Bloodwitch or even the other books to come!!
SIGHTWITCH by Susan Dennard is a book like no other. The third book in Dennard’s fantasy series, this illustrated novella is set one year before TRUTHWITCH and is made up of journal entries, sketches, maps, letters, notes, and records as well as songs, prayers & rules pertaining to the Sightwitches. There is so much to this novella, but it is never overwhelming. Dennard’s writing skills have reached new heights. SIGHTWITCH is one of the most creative forms of the novel. This book has two main POV’s: Ryber Fortiza, a character we met in TRUTHWITCH and WINDWITCH, and Eridysi, a Sighwitch Sister who lived a 1000 years ago. Separated by time and connected by the thread of fate. The character development Ryber experiences is incredible! At the beginning, Ryber wants so bad to be summoned and given the Sight. That desire was so strong and I wanted that for Ryber, so badly. This desire to be summoned by Sirmaya is one of the strongest I have ever felt from a character, in all the books I’ve read. Then Ryber goes on this journey and she grows so much – I loved being able to witness it all. She also meets Kullen Ikray, an Airwitch we first read about in TRUTHWITCH. I loved having him in the book because we saw a deeper, more honest side of him. He is truly a precious cinnamon roll. I don’t think I could ever read a Dennard book and be disappointed – the character development was phenomenal. The development of Eridysi, a character who lived a thousand years ago, was also great because we learn about an actual person, and not a legend or someone’s over exaggeration of Eridysi’s life. I connected so much with this character that I wouldn’t mind an entire book (or series) from her POV. World-building is always my favourite and I especially loved the way I got to experience it here. The journal entries and sketches made up most of the book and were amazing to read. However, it was the notes and the songs and the Sighwitch rules written to the side that completed my experience. Being able to learn about the Witchlands and Dennard’s characters in this way was undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. Here’s a quote from the finished copy that I love re: the world-building: 38. THE RULE OF DISPUTED TRUTH Oftentimes, Memory Records offer different accounts for the same event. As such, all Memory Records are true and all Memory Records are false, for what is life except perception? Page 118. SIGHTWITCH has changed my perception of the Witchlands – both past and future. Which brings me to my final point: we are introduced to a darker, more ominous side of the Witchlands, a side we saw hints of in the first two books. The suspense I felt in this book, the way my heart raced, other books cannot even compare. There are Death Maidens and shadow wyrms and much, much more. Fans of TRUTHWITCH and WINDWITCH will not want to miss this highly anticipated, new release from Susan Dennard. Sighwitch: The True Tale of the Twelve Paladins. The illustrations in this book were created by Rhys Davies. My recommended reading order: Truthwitch, Windwitch and then Sightwitch. Although Sightwitch is set a year before Truthwitch, I feel your reading experience will be much more positive if you’re already familiar with the world of the Witchlands. Also, things happen in Sightwitch that would be kind of spoilery to people who haven’t read Truthwitch or Windwitch. I received an eARC from the publisher. This has in no way altered my honest opinion of the book.
Sightwitch takes place one year before the events of Truthwitch, as well as one thousand years in the past. It is not strictly a new book in the series or a prequel, but a way for the author to further expand the world and mythology of the Witchlands. It was fascinating to read how the Witchlands found itself one day with magic as the "True Tale of the Twelve" Paladins unfolds. Despite the fact that this is a novella, it does not feel lacking and brings a deepening of the world that we have grown to love. The story is written as if it is a collection of journal entries, collected to form a cohesive narrative with the addition of illustrations made by the authors. It primarily switches between Ryber's and Eridysi's points of view, which adds a wonderful dimension to the story as they lived 1,000 years apart. Ryber found her way to the Sightwitches when she was only four years of age and has always been told that she will have the strongest Sight. She follows the rules and doesn't laugh often, but cares deeply about her Sightwitch family and her path. It was nice to see allusions to or even appearances from characters that we are familiar with from the main series. It helped to bridge the storylines and grow a sense of wonder that makes you curious as to how this will tie in with the third book, Bloodwitch when it comes out. And I'm sure it will all come full circle. I was fascinated by the mythology that she wove into this story. It gave us a depth of understanding about the powers in the Witchlands that we didn't have before. Despite the fact that it is a novella, it packed a satisfying amount of information into its pages and makes me so excited for the next book in the series. I was so happy to re-inhabit this world and highly recommend the book (and the series) to anyone who hasn't discovered it yet.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Sightwitch by Susan Dennard Book 0.5 of the Witchlands series Publisher: Tor Teen Publication Date: February 13, 2018 Rating: 5 stars Source: Review copy from the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): Set a year before Truthwitch, Sightwitch follows Ryber Fortiza, the last Sightwitch Sister as she treks deep underground to rescue her missing best friend. While there, she encounters a young Nubrevnan named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he wound up inside the mountain. As the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, and as they brave one close call after another, a tentative friendship forms between them—one that might one day grow into something more. Sightwitch is told through Ryber’s journal entries and her sketches, as well as through supplementary materials (such as other journals, pieces of songs, clippings from history books, flashbacks, etc.). Though meant as a companion novella, this story serves as a set up to Bloodwitch as well as an expansion of the world. What I Liked: I have a thing about novellas - I don't tend to read them. Novellas are often a little too short, and overpriced, and don't actually add much to the overarching story, the characters, or the series in general. However. When I saw the details of Sightwitch - that it would be a 200+ novella, that it would be published in hardcover, that there would be illustrations - I knew I would be reading this novella. This is basically an almost-novel, given the number of pages, and the fullness of the story. If you're like me and generally avoid novellas, break your rule for once and check out this one! Sightwitch is an intriguing and heart-stopping addition to the Witchlands series, and it'll leave you wanting to both reread the previous books, and pine for the third book. This novella is set a year before Truthwitch, and it tells the story of how Ryber became the last Sightwich Sister, and how she met Kullen. All of her Sightwitch Sisters had gone deep underground in the mountain, and she must find them because despite their disappearance being something indicated by the goddess Sirmaya, Ryber knows something is very wrong. She goes into the mountain to find her Sisters, and encounters much more than she ever expected. Books written in journal-style are typically hit-or-miss for me, but this one was definitely a hit. It's Ryber's diary, and it has entries from Ryber, as well as clippings from textbooks, maps, illustrations, and also entries from Tanzi (Ryber's Threadsister), and Eridysi Gochienka, a famous Sightwitch who lived a thousand years before Ryber. There are ripped pages from essays, the rules of the Sightwitches, and Nubrevnan messages. Everything adds up and makes sense as the story goes on, so this will seem random to someone reading my review, but everything is important to the story. I liked that there were different POVs, despite the story being told from Ryber's journal. We also see entries from Tanzi in the past, and from Eridysi (a thousand years ago). Both sets of POV are very important to the story, even if they may not seem so at first. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
Welcome back to the Witchlands! I've always been drawn to this series. Its magical elements and intense story lines are things only an amazing author can think up. This story showed another side of the Witchlands, with some old and new characters. It was a great short read and I can't wait to see what will come next from Susan Dennard. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Okay so this is one of the few books I preordered this year because Katie got me hooked on the Witchlands series. After having read the other two books currently published for the series, I’m already fairly certain I will reread them at least once each, so I went ahead and preordered this one to read. And wow am I glad I did! (Though now I have to wait for Katie to catch up before we can flail about it together because her copy hasn’t arrived just yet….) While we already knew a little about Ryber, most of the other characters we got to see were entirely new. We also got a great deal more background on Ryber and Kullen during Sightwitch, which brings me so much joy and I’m trying really hard not to flail here about it because I refuse to knowingly add in spoilers so JUST KNOW IT’S GREAT, OKAY?! I also really liked getting to know the various characters to do with the Sightwitch Convent and Eridysi’s background since she’s spoken of quite a bit in the novels. It could easily have been overwhelming to have so many characters developed in such a small span, but Susan Dennard does a masterful job juggling the multiple points of view to create a clear picture of the story as a whole. Returning to the world of the Witchlands honestly feels a bit like coming home. I did enjoy seeing the new addition of the Sightwitch Convent along with its various eccentricities added into the Witchlands mix. I feel like the world building was really well done. It felt a bit like viewing the same world from a different angle and I really enjoyed it. The plot in Sightwitch doesn’t really become clear until a little ways in. In fact, I was worried for a bit that there wouldn’t be one because everything at the beginning almost feels a little random. However, it quickly pulls together in a way that had me hooked and wanting to find out what happened next. While the use of multiple points of view is similar to the other books of the series, Sightwitch is the only Witchlands novel that uses multiple points of view from different times. In fact, one of the timelines occurs a full thousand years before the other, which added to the seeming randomness in the beginning but by the end brought an amazing fullness to the story. Sightwitch so artfully written that it’s honestly hard for me to think back on all that happened and come to the realization that it’s a novella and not a full novel. There were quite a few questions at the end of the novel that are left unanswered, which did affect my bookworm rating a bit. But… I feel like I should at least mention that there isn’t a doubt in my mind, given my existing experience with Susan Dennard’s writing, that these questions will be answered in subsequent novels in the Witchlands series. While I did listen to the other two in audiobook format, I’m glad I read this one in physical format because of the way it’s laid out on the page. In this specific case, I feel like something of it could be lost in a translation to audiobook formatting. Not at all surprisingly, I enjoyed this novella thoroughly and I’m so happy that Susan Dennard decided to give us this amazing story while we wait for the next book in the series to be ready for publication.
ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!! I thought that I couldn’t possibly be more excited for Bloodwitch, but then I read Sightwitch and oh my!! The ending!!! This is a MUST-READ for Witchlander fans! If you haven't read Truthwitch and Windwitch yet then pick it up and get reading!
There are many things I loved about this book: how much we learned about Ryber, how much we learned about Kullen’s story, what is means to be a Heart-Thread, how deep and far back this conflict our favorite inhabitants of the Witchlands are dealing with, among many more. It sets up the entire world in a way that made me want to re-read Truthwitch and Windwitch, and left me with more excitement for Bloodwitch than ever. There are so many things I could say about why people should read this book but it boils down to the fact that it’s a rich and layered novel that you won’t be able to put down. Truly a fantastic addition to the Witchlands series.
Is a 0.5 novella something that you should read in a series? Well it depends on the series in question and for the Witchland series I would say definitely yes but you don’t want to read it first. That is also the tricky part of adding a prequel to a series later. When should your readers actually read it? For Sightwitch I would say that you should have at least read Truthwitch to have a semi-understanding of threads, cleaving and some of the basic lore for the series. But as long as you have one of the full length novels under your belt you’ll be fine. Novella’s that are companions to series usually aren’t my thing. Except for a few of my absolute favorite authors and worlds I don’t normally make a point to read them. But when I saw that this was how Ryber and Kullen met I was intrigued with their story. However, this is so much more than just that, it is also an explanation to some of the lore behind the Witchlands Series and the twelve Paladins. The story is all told as journal entries and that does take a moment to get used. But we don’t just get Ryber’s entries, there are some from Tanzi and one Eridysi one of the Sightwitches from over a thousand years ago and a few other small entries. Ryber and Tanzi are best friends and even more than that Threadsisters so when Tanzi is called into the mountain by The Goddess and never comes out again Ryber is determined to find a way to save her from the sleep that has claimed her. While I liked learning what it was like at the convent that Ryber grew up in part of the real meat of the story for me was the journal entries from Eridysi. These tell the tale of life with the twelve Paladins and how six turned on six and then one turned on them all. When that happened there was a huge war and that is when the magic of the world changed again. We got to learn of the Paladins and how they live many lives and I think it will be interesting to see how that will play into Bloodwitch. The beginning takes a little to get into as it is just the day to day life of Ryber and establishes her connection to the Sightwitches and her Threadsister Tanzi. But once she goes into the mountain to save her sister witches it is a lot of action. I received the first 100 pages from Netgalley as preview and then bought the Audio for this after that. The Audio is really fantastic. There are two narrators one specifically for Ryber’s journal entries and then another Eridysi’s journals from the past. Both really perform the story and I especially liked that Ryber’s narrator used an accent that seemed to come from some Islands. The narration completely added to my enjoyment of the second half of the story I listened to.
Set before the events of Truthwitch, Sightwitch offers a glimpse into areas of the Witchlands world that haven't yet been explored while still providing depth to those mentioned in Truthwitch and Windwitch. Dennard adeptly told the story through the eyes of Ryber—and a few other surprise characters—in a diary format, complete with amazing illustrations. If you're looking for a story with heart-stopping and heartwarming moments, look no further. Sightwitch is not a book you want to pass up on.
I was a winner of an e-galley of Sightwitch. I loved the POVs in the book especially Ryber’s. She was strong, smart, and loving. It was interesting and fun learning about the Sightwitch Sisters. Plus the history, rules, and rhymes does not go on for pages to the point where you are bored or forgot what you just read. Their history flows naturally into the story. As the story progressed my pulse gradually quickened. After each diary entry I became more and more engrossed into the story and the disappearance of the Sisters. Sightwitch made me sad, hopeful, it gave me goosebumps, and all I want to know is what is going to happen to Ryber and her Sisters. I also liked seeing the beginning of Ryber and Kullen’s relationship. I loved how they went from wary strangers to two people trying to survive together to something a little more. The illustrations and little notes enhanced my reading experience. I enjoyed Sightwitch a lot and cannot wait for Bloodwitch.
Sightwitch was freaking amazing and it’s not like I didn’t expect it to be, because I did. I actually procrastinated reading because I knew I wouldn’t want it to be over. I really didn’t want it to end when I finished reading. It’s a shorter book but This story is set prior to Truthwitch and gives us such a great insight into the Sightwitch sisters history as well as all of the Witchland history. I enjoyed all the Sightwitch sisters and learning about them through different journal entries. Of course I also loved The Rook too. I’m obsessed with Ryber. I love her, maybe even more than I love Iseult and Vivia. I want to reread the first books in her POV. She is just an awesome character. I can’t gush enough about her! She makes me laugh that she is such a rule follower and she is also smart, clever and witty. Her interactions with Tanzi and Kullen make me want to say can you be my friend too? Love love her. I also really liked reading the entries for Eridysi. Sightwitch adds so much to the rest of the series. So many things!! I loved getting this little bit of history from a thousand years ago. It was so interesting!! The World Building is solid and it happens in such a small space when you think about it. The Covenant and the Mountain are our backdrop. These places were so flushed out though and they came vibrantly to life in my mind through the illustrations and descriptions. It made me love the style that this book is written in even more. I love the Witchlands. I always feel like I’m in a video game and I love feeling that way. Although the skull spider thing just kept making me think of Skulltulas that are in Zelda, I’m pretty sure that’s not what they look like but I couldn’t get it out of my head. I'm always a fan to see what creature is going to come out of the woodwork, or ice in this case. The Shadow Wyrms are freaky!! I could gosh about this book all day. I really loved it and what it adds to the series. It makes it that harder to wait for Bloodwitch but it also made me want to reread Truthwitch and Windwitch to catch all the things I probably didn’t the first time. Especially armed with this new information.