In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet's word is law, Immanuelle Moore's very existence is blasphemy. Her mother's union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to lead a life of absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement. But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where she finds the journal of her dead mother and unpack the grim truths about the Church.
The Year of the Witching is Alexis Henderson’s debut novel, but you’d never know it. It’s so well crafted and her point of view so well honed it feels like it should be her third or fourth book. The story is enchanting, enticing, enthralling, enigmatic ... Locations make manifest the existential horrors the characters experience. It’s a good thing, then, that Alexis Henderson is so damn good at it ... It’s impressive work that reels you in ... Unfortunately, the book’s ending doesn’t quite live up to everything that precedes it. Henderson lets certain characters off the hook and doesn’t demand as much from others as she needed to ... With a keen eye and a sharp tongue, Henderson breathes new life into an old trope. Alexis Henderson is a fresh new voice in dark fantasy, and I look forward to hearing more from her.
Horror meets fantasy in this witchy story that will appeal to readers of The Handmaid’s Tale ... Older readers will enjoy Immanuelle’s passion for knowledge about herself and her world as well as admire her fight against what is wrong about her society.
Alexis Henderson’s novel is heavy, and not because of its page count. The Year of the Witching explores issues of identity, patriarchy and life under a totalitarian theocracy, all of which would be terrifying in their own right ... This is not the book for you if you even border on squeamish. The Year of the Witching revels in a sort of rich macabre tone, describing scenes of blood and horror so vividly that you can almost smell the putrid flesh of the witches ... this book is a perfect read, certain to terrify, disturb and intrigue from beginning to end.