Book Reviews

Review: Witch King by Martha Wells

Witch King is for fans of “The Old Guard”, a tinge of demons, and mystery. It has such an inventive world, but I had a few things that stopped me from being immersed. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?

Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.

He’s not going to like the answers.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Switching between timelines in the present and the past, readers are trying to figure out what happened to Kai. And, most importantly, who can he trust? Not only does this allow us to figure out the world, but it creates this tension between who these people are in his present, and their previous actions in the past. Can we trust everything they’re saying? While I appreciated this narrative choice, the switches felt a bit sudden at some points which caused me difficulty in figuring out a solid sense of who everyone – including Kai – was.

This meant that some of the developments, betrayals, and mystery in Witch King didn’t have as much of an impact as I would have liked. Additionally because of these switches, I had a hard time rooting and being absorbed by Kai’s investigation. By the time I finished, I had enjoyed the mystery, but I didn’t have that same “I’ll do anything to protect them” feeling as I would have liked.

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In general, I enjoyed the mystery and the world is still one of the most interesting I’ve read, but I just wanted to feel more emotionally invested. The pacing combined with the changes between timelines felt a bit disjointed at times, which just meant it was hard to become immersed. However, if you do like the idea of “The Old Guard” meeting ruins and demons, then you should still pick this up and see if it’s for you!

Find Witch King on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


What is your favorite “Old Guard” type book?

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