Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Book Review of A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez

Goodreads Summary: A tale of vengeance, true love, and cannibalism

Being born undead can have its disadvantages, such as eternal youth and flawless beauty ---things most unsuitable for a witch. Hiding behind the guise of a grimy old crone, the witch is content living outside Fort Stalwart with her unlikely band of allies: a troll named Gwurm, an enchanted broom, and a demonic duck named Newt. She leads a simple life filled with spells, potions, and the occasional curse.

So when a White Knight arrives at Fort Stalwart, the witch knows her days of peace are at an end. The Knight is just days in front of a horde of ravenous goblings, and Fort Stalwart lies right in the horde's path. But the goblings are just the first wave of danger, and soon the witch and the Knight must combine forces on a perilous quest to stop a mad sorcerer from destroying the world.

Filled with menace, monsters, and magic, A Nameless Witch, is a properly witchly read by the award-winning author of Gil's All Fright Diner and In the Company of Ogres.
Goodreads Rating: 3.89 stars with just over 4,000 reviews
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Humor, Fiction, Paranormal, Witches, Magic, Romance
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Goodreads Challenge: 12/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #14, Reread a favorite (find the challenge post here).

Review:

I was recently able to sign up for the county library since I was a member of my township's smaller library, and it's probably the best book thing to ever happen to me. The massive county library uses Overdrive for their e-books and even lets you request books for them to order. I had really been wanting to read A Nameless Witch again, and when I requested it, they instantly ordered an e-book copy. This ended up being a perfect addition to #14 on the challenge list, reread a favorite. 

I've previously mentioned A Nameless Witch on the blog but hadn't reviewed it. I believe I read it long before the creation of my site. It was previously mentioned on my segment called Recommendation Tuesday. You can find the post here. It's one of two posts I tried to do for this segment. 

I'm really glad I decided to reread this book, as so much of it was forgotten. I thought I remembered the plot, but I was so wrong that it was almost like reading a new book. I remembered the characters well enough and still enjoyed their story. "Witch," the main character gives creative names to forces in her life like Nasty Larry, Ghastly Edna, and Soulless Gustav (although, that last one wasn't actually given by her.) The story follows an accursed witch with no name, those close to her end up just calling her Witch.  Her companions are her familiar, Newt, a demon duck with a thirst for blood, an animated broom, Penelope, who's obsessed with sweeping, A troll, Gwurm, who keeps his unmentionables in a bag, and the sickeningly noble (just ask Newt) White Knight, named Wyst of the West.

One thing that I really enjoyed reading in A Nameless Witch that I had forgotten about was the fact that everything in the world that A. Lee Martinez has created has a spirit of some sort. The woodland creatures, the Earth, even a cranky old dirt road which has been neglected. I don't know what it is, but I love stories that do this with the scenery and animals. 

The main plot of the story is a quest that Witch and her friends have to go on. It starts as a quest for vengeance but becomes so much more than that. More than anything the quest, at least for Witch, is about self-discovery. The trials are really set to make her look at her self and figure out the balance between her curse (being a beautiful cannibal) and being a witch, but also having her own identity. 

The curse is probably my least favorite part of the story. It was more a page filler than anything for me, and I think the story would be mostly the same if it weren't there. Or, I guess half of the curse really seemed pointless. The cannibal twist is interesting, but her having to be just like some beautiful entity is eye-rolling worthy to me. I will say that this was probably meant to be a little more tongue and cheek, poking fun at books that do this with the character. It still was a little annoying to read. 

My favorite thing about this story is the humorous wit throughout. There are a lot of witchy things said that were just generally great lines. Here are some of my favorites:

"It was not fate, she'd explained once, but rather the past yet to be. Not to be confused with the future that might come or the present that never was." - Page 2

"I wondered if this was perhaps the magic finally talking to me. Ghastly Edna said that it talked to everyone, but most were unwilling to listen." - page 21

"Second, remember that people, human or otherwise, are, with rare exception, basically good at heart. Treat them as you would be treated, and you'll almost never go wrong." - page 26

"Your destiny is always wherever you go," I replied. "Usually a day or two ahead of you," I added because it seemed a witchly turn of phrase." - page 52

"It's easy not to kill people who don't deserve it. It's keeping from killing the people who irritate you that is the task." - page 57

"No one can catch tomorrow." - page 125

"But Magic, by its very nature, defies true understanding. It follows its own rules, and often ignores those rules when it feels like it." - page 128

"To worry is to acknowledge that the world is unpredictable, and there is power in understanding one's own powerlessness at times. But too often, worry takes on a life of its own. Men are quite prone to this. They'll plague themselves with so many 'what if's' and 'if only's' that they soon forget to ponder the true possibilities before them. Which inevitably leads to poor decisions. Whatever happens, will happen. Sometimes we have say over the future. Sometimes we do not. Either way, worrying alone never accomplishes anything." - page 139 (as someone with horrendous anxiety, this one really hit close to home.) 

"Like all lost things, he was in the last and most obvious place I looked." - page 202

"Certainty is for fools and death." - page 231

"We all save ourselves, child, even if we are fortunate enough to have help along the way." - page 240

"I liked playing with words, watching how they might say so much and so little at once." - page 242 (this one tugged at the writer heartstrings in me.) 

"Only you can decide whether to take offense or not."- page 257

"Destiny was constantly setting designs in motion, most of which would never achieve fruition. Fate was an energetic child with a short attention span." - page 261

"The Truth is rarely comforting. If it were, lies would not be as well received as they usually are." - page 262

"It's easy to defeat life -or- death ordeals. Such tribulations demand success. It's the small tests that require something more from us. When we can turn and walk away is when we find what we're made of." - page 283

When I previously read this book, I gave it a four on Goodreads. I think that's a pretty solid place for my thoughts to stay. I hope you all will check it out, it's a really great story.



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