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In a quiet street far from the river, with an ancient tree growing through its walls and floors, is the House of the Dead. There lives the witchling: healer, midwife and conduit between the world of the living and the world below. A witchling must give up her family and friends and spend her life alone, tending to the sick and carrying the dead down dark tunnels to the und In a quiet street far from the river, with an ancient tree growing through its walls and floors, is the House of the Dead. There lives the witchling: healer, midwife and conduit between the world of the living and the world below. A witchling must give up her family and friends and spend her life alone, tending to the sick and carrying the dead down dark tunnels to the underworld. Haley was born with the gift of death-magic, and at the age of seven her mother abandons her to the witchling to be raised as her successor. But as Haley grows older and learns her craft - as invading armies pass through her town, people are born and die on her floor, and loyalties shift and dissolve around her - she finds it harder and harder to keep her vows and be the perfect and impassive healer. But if she can't, it will be her downfall - and that of everyone she's not supposed to love . . .


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In a quiet street far from the river, with an ancient tree growing through its walls and floors, is the House of the Dead. There lives the witchling: healer, midwife and conduit between the world of the living and the world below. A witchling must give up her family and friends and spend her life alone, tending to the sick and carrying the dead down dark tunnels to the und In a quiet street far from the river, with an ancient tree growing through its walls and floors, is the House of the Dead. There lives the witchling: healer, midwife and conduit between the world of the living and the world below. A witchling must give up her family and friends and spend her life alone, tending to the sick and carrying the dead down dark tunnels to the underworld. Haley was born with the gift of death-magic, and at the age of seven her mother abandons her to the witchling to be raised as her successor. But as Haley grows older and learns her craft - as invading armies pass through her town, people are born and die on her floor, and loyalties shift and dissolve around her - she finds it harder and harder to keep her vows and be the perfect and impassive healer. But if she can't, it will be her downfall - and that of everyone she's not supposed to love . . .

30 review for The Witchling's Girl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    This book was absolutely incredible. I just finished and I am an emotional wreck. The writing is stunning, lush and evocative without getting to bogged down in overly flowery prose but I think the true reason this book now has a place in my heart as one of my favourite books is it's focus on healing as well as discussions around death and having a good death. Books that have a large focus on medicine and the struggles that healers (/doctors) face will always mean a lot to me as I so deeply reson This book was absolutely incredible. I just finished and I am an emotional wreck. The writing is stunning, lush and evocative without getting to bogged down in overly flowery prose but I think the true reason this book now has a place in my heart as one of my favourite books is it's focus on healing as well as discussions around death and having a good death. Books that have a large focus on medicine and the struggles that healers (/doctors) face will always mean a lot to me as I so deeply resonate with them. In this book we follow Haley who has a young girl discovers she is a witchling, which basically means she has power to raise and guide the dead, as well as healing magic. She gets taken to the house of the dead, where she must now live with the current town witchling as an apprentice and can never see her family again. The house of the dead was very remiscient of the baba yaga/house with chicken legs aspect of russian/slavic folklore, with each town/village havinga house of the dead witha resisdent witchling who acts as the village healer, midwife and helps people who are dying and guides the dead to the underworld. At first Haley is very angry and grieving the loss of her old life but she eventually comes round to becoming the apprentice to the older witchling, Marian who becomes almost a mother figure to Haley. We watch as Haley grows up and learns several life lessons, as well as getting to watch her learn the healing arts, which I just loved all the healing aspects of this book!! There was a scene where Haley is helping Marian for the first time at a birth and that scene was just so emotionally impactful (especially as a medical student myself!). However life is not that simple and strange things as starting to occur in the land. People are starting to die of a strange disease where they get seizures, start speaking in strange languages and act rashly and unlike themsleves. Haley discovers this is atually happening because these people are being possesed by ghosts and keeps this a secret from Marian (and everyone else) which leads to a lot of emotional turmoil for her and some reckless decison making. Haley also is visited by a mysterious character called Leah, who we find out more about as the book goes on and Haley and Leah grow closer and their relationship is beautiful T_T it had me feeling all the feelings and the angst, mystery and chemistry was amazing!! Watching Haley look back on her life (that is how the story is told) was such a joy, just to follow her life from a scared little girl, to a aprentice unsure of herself and her descions, to a powerful witchling keeping a lot of secrets and eventually to getting her own witchlings girl to raise. The character interactions are some of the best aspects of this book, witchlings are not allowed to have a family/have babies/be in love but watching Haley make meaning connections with different people in the village, as well as her complicated relationship with Marian and her forbidden feelings for Leah created such dynamic and interesting character interactions. The atmosphere of this book is so haunting yet weirdly comforting (I don't know if that is just me though and my love for medicine) but this book is perfect for autumn/winter and especially spooky season!! And I have to mention it again but all the healing scenes in thsi book were just perfection. I loved all the stuff with the herbs, that added so much to the atmosphere/setting. I also love the discussions around death and helping give people a good death and knowing when their time has come. I also liked how the families have to choose between sending their loved one to the afterlife to be judged and their soul can live on forever or to be resurrected for a few years but they soul goes into oblivion. Very though provoking, especially around the ethics and morality of doing this - I also liked how the best interests of the person was discussed. This book also brought up some struggles it's easy to face as someone who works in a healthcare setting, such as feeling guilty when a patient dies and like it's your fault even though you did everything you could, deling with the anger and grief of families and the general emotional exhaustion that comes with providing care and being deeply empathatic. And finally the ending. I am not okay T_T. I teared up a least twice (a rarity for me in books) and everything just comes to a perfect head, the poltical tension in the land that has been building up, the interpersonal conflicts in the village, the emotional stakes. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sophie's Reading Corner

    She was only a child when Haley brought her cat back to life and her mother had to take her to Marian, the Witchling of her small town. Haley is being abandoned and betrayed by her own mother and she doesn't handle it well. She now becomes the Witchling's girl and we see slowly the process of this procedure throughout the years. We see her grow along with the witch and learn everything from her for when her time comes. If you're looking for some witchy books, look no further. This book is perfec She was only a child when Haley brought her cat back to life and her mother had to take her to Marian, the Witchling of her small town. Haley is being abandoned and betrayed by her own mother and she doesn't handle it well. She now becomes the Witchling's girl and we see slowly the process of this procedure throughout the years. We see her grow along with the witch and learn everything from her for when her time comes. If you're looking for some witchy books, look no further. This book is perfect for Halloween or whenever you feel the need to read something dark and haunting. I loved every page, the characters were complex and well developed and I loved the pacing of the story and the fact that I could never guess what would happen next or what secrets these characters kept in the past or what they were hiding in the present. I could never leave. Not even for a week. When Marian died, I would be the witchling of this town, and their dead would need me. I was chained forever to these people who did not love me. The world building and all the facts surrounding their kind of witchcraft was fascinating to read. The House of Dead was definitely something I didn't expect to love and I was pleasantly surprised by this. The relationship between Marian and Haley was something I truly enjoyed reading , how it started and how it developed. Definitely one of my favorite reads this month and I would highly recommend it. I'm certain you'll fall in love with these characters and this intricate and unique world building the author has created. ARC was kindly provided by Hodder & Stoughton, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Books0507_Ashley

    The Witchling's Girl we follow Haley, who as a young girl discovers she has the power to bring back the dead. Her mother instantly takes her to the House of the dead and leaves her there, to train and become the next Witchling when the current one dies! We start with Haley as an angry child grieving the loss of her life and family and resenting the current Witchling for holding her in the House of dead, but as the years pass we get to see her change into this young strong woman, as she learns her The Witchling's Girl we follow Haley, who as a young girl discovers she has the power to bring back the dead. Her mother instantly takes her to the House of the dead and leaves her there, to train and become the next Witchling when the current one dies! We start with Haley as an angry child grieving the loss of her life and family and resenting the current Witchling for holding her in the House of dead, but as the years pass we get to see her change into this young strong woman, as she learns her craft her confidence in herself rises and she begins to accept her life as the Witchling. Being the Witchling her life has never been simple, she has to stick to the laws of never having a family of her own, never having a love, the town's people must come first and she has a duty to care for them all the same. Soon there's a strange disease sweeping through the town and people start to act strangely and commit terrible crimes before they eventually seizure and die. This disease is erratic and unpredictable and goes on for some years, through it Hayley meets the mysterious Leah and starts to form a strange bond with her. I really loved the magical elements to this story, it was really well told and I had some serious Baba Yaga vibes. The characters were all really well developed and I loved the chemistry between Haley and her lovers, every time I was routing for her to just find some happiness somewhere. While the ending was sad I totally understand why the writer went down that route, it really did add to the whole story and I was left thinking about it for days after I'd finished the book. A beautiful read and one I'm glad I read in October for those witchy vibes. Thank you so much NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for a e-arc of this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I was really excited to receive this book for review by Hodder & Stoughton, the synopsis sounded extremely intriguing and the cover is gorgeous and completely evocative of the novel within. It is so beautifully and eloquently written, it’s dark, haunting and atmospheric and although it made me feel a little uneasy and unsettled at times, I couldn’t help but keep turning the pages wondering what would happen next. The opening chapter introduces you to a 7 year old Haley, the main protagonist, res I was really excited to receive this book for review by Hodder & Stoughton, the synopsis sounded extremely intriguing and the cover is gorgeous and completely evocative of the novel within. It is so beautifully and eloquently written, it’s dark, haunting and atmospheric and although it made me feel a little uneasy and unsettled at times, I couldn’t help but keep turning the pages wondering what would happen next. The opening chapter introduces you to a 7 year old Haley, the main protagonist, resurrecting a cat and this in itself draws the reader into the story immediately and doesn’t let go. The world and magic system are fascinating and intricate and there is such wonderful attention to detail. The writer really plays with your emotions, there is an intensity and passion with which the author writes and you never know what is going happen from one page to the next. The pacing is fairly slow, but this is necessary due to the depth of explanation and intricacies of the world. I never once felt bored and the story completely held my attention and never dragged. The main characters are phenomenal, they are beautifully portrayed and have depth and complexity. The main focus is on Haley and the story is written from her perspective narrating her own life. Haley becomes the village witchling, who lives in the House of the Dead and it is her duty is to try to heal whoever comes to her without question, she is also the proclaimer of death transporting the deceased to the Underworld. I was rooting for Haley all the way through, she has suffered so many hardships and has had such an exhausting life and I hoped she would find happiness. I enjoyed following the exploration and development of the relationship Haley had with Marion and latterly with the mysterious Leah. This is one of those hauntingly beautiful novels I will be thinking about for years to come and the ending of this book will definitely toy with your emotions. There are some heartfelt and tragic scenes, along with some chilling moments, however although the novel is a little bit grim it is beautifully and vividly written and you can’t help but become completely emotionally invested in the story. The Witchling’s Girl would make the perfect Halloween read or if you love reading about witches and magic and something dark and haunting. Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for the beautiful review copy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carola

    Thank you Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. My review is my own and not influenced by others. 4,5* I just finished reading The Witchling girl and it was a fantastic, beautiful, and emotional reading experience. The writing style was great; it pulled me right into the story and kept me fascinating trough the book to the ending. The world building was unique; the characters were great and well elaborated and the end made me emotional. It made Thank you Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. My review is my own and not influenced by others. 4,5* I just finished reading The Witchling girl and it was a fantastic, beautiful, and emotional reading experience. The writing style was great; it pulled me right into the story and kept me fascinating trough the book to the ending. The world building was unique; the characters were great and well elaborated and the end made me emotional. It made me wonder and inquisitively. I think it was a great job of the writer to choose this ending to keep the book in de minds of the readers. The Witchling girl a book I highly recommend when someone wants to read a fantasy book that is unique on its own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Bookbookowl)

    Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with a copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review! The end of October was meant to mark the end of my witchy recommendations, but I HAVE ONE MORE! The Witchling’s Girl is atmospheric, dark and such a unique witchy read. On the day Haley reawakens her pet cat, who had just died, her mother delivers her to the Witchling’s house, to spend the rest of her life training to take over the Witchling’s position. Devastated, young Hale Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with a copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review! The end of October was meant to mark the end of my witchy recommendations, but I HAVE ONE MORE! The Witchling’s Girl is atmospheric, dark and such a unique witchy read. On the day Haley reawakens her pet cat, who had just died, her mother delivers her to the Witchling’s house, to spend the rest of her life training to take over the Witchling’s position. Devastated, young Haley tries everything to escape her fate, but every village must have a Witchling. Without one their sick would not be healed, their babies may not be born alive and there would be no-one to carry their dead to the underworld….or re-animate them if the family wishes. As she learns the ways of the Witchling, the vows she must take, including the forsaking of all loved ones and any chance at a future relationship or family, seem harder and harder to live by. I love my witchy books to be the type that pull me in to a dark world, and hold me spellbound until the end and The Witchling’s Girl captivated me from the very start. There is nothing fluffy about the magic performed by the Witchling and the story is full of closely held secrets and the raw brutality of the inescapable parts of life. This book is not a rush of action, it develops at a meandering pace that is perfect for a spooky read. The characters are exceptionally well developed and although there were a lot of side characters to keep track of, I never had a problem connecting the dots of who was who. I loved the way we got to watch Haley grow, as the elder Witchling aged, throughout the story. It connected me so completely to them both. The writing was nothing short of magical and this haunting story took my emotions and shook them to the core. Make sure you add this one to your TBR!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an EARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. "She was the witchling and I was her girl, and if we were united in purpose and will, the town was safe." This is in equal parts a story about magic and humanity, life and death, and speaks volumes on the complexity of human nature and the lengths people will go to protect those they love. It's a life story filled with morality set in a rich atmosphere that will leave you b Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an EARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. "She was the witchling and I was her girl, and if we were united in purpose and will, the town was safe." This is in equal parts a story about magic and humanity, life and death, and speaks volumes on the complexity of human nature and the lengths people will go to protect those they love. It's a life story filled with morality set in a rich atmosphere that will leave you breathless. TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR Abandonment, Death, Medical Trauma and Medical Content, Grief, Loss of a Parent, Crime, Violence, and mentions of Sexual Assult. The setting and atmosphere, along with the writing style was the biggest draw to this book, it is magical and mystical whilst still being raw and real in places. There are many sections that are so meaningful and profound but as a whole, it is easy to get sucked into the world. Definitely, a book that would be great to read in the autumn/ Halloween season and one I am sure a lot of people will find enchanting. The plot and pacing were very well done considering it encompasses many years, the middle section was a little slower in my opinion however the last half I read in a single sitting. Throughout there is definitely a fair amount of action however I would not say that this was an action-based story and definitely is more of a reflective, character-based one. Therefore the characters are definitely a strong point, especially our main character Haley and her tremendous growth. The commentary on the different types of love and death that was so well intertwined with the characters' thought processes was refreshing to read about, and the author didn't shy away from darker subjects whilst still being very respectful. I was expecting more romance from this book but I am not sure why which I think is interesting itself, by the end, I was almost glad there wasn't because it made each of the individual relationships even more meaningful. I was so invested in friendships which I am not sure I have ever done before and at times the story made me quite emotional. It is unique for sure, however, it shares enough similar traits that I think it should be widely received in a positive way. I definitely thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience! Rated: 4 Stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I'd like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for providing this e-arc, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 4 ⭐ a witchy, atmospheric, queer YA fantasy, what is there not to like? (view spoiler)[This was a really enjoyable read. The writing was beautiful, with whimsical descriptions that transport you straight into this magic House of the Dead near the woods. The house is one of my favourite aspects of this story, how it adapts and learns to protect its residents, how it sounds just absolutely I'd like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for providing this e-arc, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 4 ⭐ a witchy, atmospheric, queer YA fantasy, what is there not to like? (view spoiler)[This was a really enjoyable read. The writing was beautiful, with whimsical descriptions that transport you straight into this magic House of the Dead near the woods. The house is one of my favourite aspects of this story, how it adapts and learns to protect its residents, how it sounds just absolutely magical and alive. Marian was probably my favourite character. She was an exceptional mother-figure to Haley and watching their relationship flourish and Marian caring so deeply for this young girl that was left at her house really melted my heart. As a nurse, I can definitely relate to the dedicated way she cared for her patients, whether they were alive or dead. Her backstory was heartbreaking! The cruel father, the boy blackmailing her, how she had to leave her siblings with her father when she became the witchling... But she turned it around and lived a full life as one of the best witchling's for miles. Haley was not my favourite. I loved her relationship with Callum & Aron, with Ira and Adriene, but I just did not really enjoy her obsession with Leah. It just became unhealthy, causing her to make questionable decisions and put her loved ones in danger. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely understand Leah's motives and found her to be a very interesting character, but it just rubbed me the wrong way... I found the possession plotline super entertaining and would have loved to read more about it, to have seen it be a little more explored. It was such a cool "sickness" and it would have been cool to see Haley looking for answers and ways to save those afflicted. The only thing that took away from the story was how slow-paced it was... The lack of dialogue and the slow burn action made the book a little hard to read at times. If it was a bit more fast-paced and a page-turner, it would have made it an even better book. Overall, my first ARC was a success! (hide spoiler)]

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Witchling’s Girl’ by Helena Coggan in exchange for an honest review. Hayley is the girl of the title. After bringing her pet cat back to life, her mother abandons her at the House of the Dead in the care of Marian, the local witchling. Over time Hayley grows into this vital role of healer, midwife, and conduit between the dead and the underworld, that is reached through tunnels under the eight-hundred year house. I had expected this My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Witchling’s Girl’ by Helena Coggan in exchange for an honest review. Hayley is the girl of the title. After bringing her pet cat back to life, her mother abandons her at the House of the Dead in the care of Marian, the local witchling. Over time Hayley grows into this vital role of healer, midwife, and conduit between the dead and the underworld, that is reached through tunnels under the eight-hundred year house. I had expected this YA fantasy to be a good fit and yet I found myself feeling very little connection to its characters and found the setting very vague with the result that the world building, aside from the concept of the witchlings and the Death House, felt absent. I don’t usually mind a slow burn but so little actually happened that its nearly 400 pages just dragged and dragged. I did find the Death House built from the roots of an ancient tree with its branches growing through the house and link to the Otherworld a potent symbol but it wasn’t enough. Perhaps its themes were more relevant to a YA readership, I just know that it didn’t work for me. Clearly, I am in the minority with my disappointment with this novel as many readers found it relevant and engaging.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Thais • tata.lifepages •

    Thank you to the team at Hodder & Stoughton for providing a beautiful copy for review! I am currently watching the redeveloped tv show of Sabrina the Witch so I felt really excited when picking up this novel about Haley who is a witchling! This was such a dark and atmospheric read! You guys know how I get scared easily and I must admit I found myself getting jumpy and nervous at times while reading! It is intense, emotional at some parts, with an overall gloomy atmosphere throughout the entire re Thank you to the team at Hodder & Stoughton for providing a beautiful copy for review! I am currently watching the redeveloped tv show of Sabrina the Witch so I felt really excited when picking up this novel about Haley who is a witchling! This was such a dark and atmospheric read! You guys know how I get scared easily and I must admit I found myself getting jumpy and nervous at times while reading! It is intense, emotional at some parts, with an overall gloomy atmosphere throughout the entire read. It is a bit slower paced, which normally would take my mind off focus, however the spookiness kept me entertained throughout the entire book. The ending had me reeling, I was not prepared for that! It is a heartbreaking story not for the faint of heart, it will certainly stick to your thoughts after reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Field

    Bisexual female lead. Sapphic as hell. Witchy and necromantic and beautiful and tragic and magical.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    Actually 4.5 stars. Review to come

  13. 4 out of 5

    Charleigh

    The Witchling’s Girl is the perfect book to read for the month of October - dark, secretive and peppered with dark magic.  I was hooked from the first chapter. The concept of every town having a witchling was so unique and like nothing I’ve ever read before. I love books based around witchcraft, so it was refreshing to read something different and imaginative.  I fell in love with the characters, the story and the world. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page for one second, and I couldn’t sle The Witchling’s Girl is the perfect book to read for the month of October - dark, secretive and peppered with dark magic.  I was hooked from the first chapter. The concept of every town having a witchling was so unique and like nothing I’ve ever read before. I love books based around witchcraft, so it was refreshing to read something different and imaginative.  I fell in love with the characters, the story and the world. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page for one second, and I couldn’t sleep for thinking about the story. The writing was stunning - some of the best writing I’ve seen for a while. The author really got inside the character’s head and it felt like they were narrating the story right next to me.  The book is told from Haley’s perspective as if she was narrating what happened. We followed her from when she found out she was destined to be a witchling, through her training, until the end of her story. It added another unique factor, and the author wrote it well. It could feel somewhat distanced at times, though.  I haven’t felt this emotionally invested in a book for so long, and it was amazing to feel like that again. It was dark, atmospheric and exciting. The kind of dark that has you hiding under the covers, peering out into the darkness like something is going to get you! I will definitely check out other books by this author and will look out for more from them!

  14. 4 out of 5

    We Hae Books

    My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book ahead of publication. It is scheduled to be published on 7th January in the UK according to netgalley but 8th July on Amazon so the date may change. At seven years old, Haley resurrects the family cat, identifying herself as the next witchling. Her mother carries her to Marian, the current witchling and leaves her there. Haley is forced to accept her new destiny, but with a war coming her role may be very different t My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book ahead of publication. It is scheduled to be published on 7th January in the UK according to netgalley but 8th July on Amazon so the date may change. At seven years old, Haley resurrects the family cat, identifying herself as the next witchling. Her mother carries her to Marian, the current witchling and leaves her there. Haley is forced to accept her new destiny, but with a war coming her role may be very different to previous witchlings. Firstly, I have to admit a certain difficulty reviewing this book. I loved the world building and its approach to death felt fresh and original, but at times I struggled with the story. It starts like a teen book with a young girl learning of her talent and fighting against it with everything she has, but as she gets older the plot thickens and it almost becomes a different kind of book. I can't even decide how much to reveal without risking cries of spoiler so I'm going to do my best to describe it without giving anything away. The world outside how it deals with death isn't hugely developed, but the depth of explanation into that is well done. It therefore has to be a slow moving novel, which it is, so the reader and Haley can both understand what's going on. A witchling is the town healer, living in the House of the Dead, so called because it has one of many entrances to the underworld in its basement. Although a witchling heals people and is a midwife, it's her dealings with death that singles her out the most. When a person dies the witchling can temporarily resurrect them with magic, or take their body to the underworld. When they are alive they can choose to be judged on death, and those who do are either damned or transcended. If they aren't judged they remain in the underworld forever, or their souls (here called ghosts whether the person is alive or not) will die if their bodies aren't taken to the underworld whole. Follow all that? Understanding that takes about 25% of the book and that's without revealing any plot points! There are characters I can't mention because it gives too much away but the relationships between them are kind of fluid. Marian and Haley are no doubt the most important characters in the beginning and they spend great swathes of the early chapters almost alone as their relationship builds, which makes sense because they are largely left alone. People fear death so they in turn fear those they see as facilitating it. This alone makes it quite a slow burner and not a book everyone will like. I don't mind it but when the plot opens up with the war and then the aftermath it becomes a bit of a rollercoaster with lots of plot for a few chapters then back to the day to day healing. These peaks come more often further into the book and I found my interest waning and peaking as well to the point I couldn't decide whether I was enjoying it or not. There's definitely much to be admired in this book, and a new approach to certain things that I enjoyed. Yes it does progress slowly and I understand other reviewers saying not much happens. I thought a lot happened but the plot gets surprisingly complicated and the references to later events when describing past ones can be off-putting; for example describing an event with a character and then saying how they died years later. It gave the feel of a memoir to me but the first time it happened I thought it was saying the person died right after the event, not years later, so I was a tad confused and others may be too. It's worth reading this for how the world is built and the approach to death and magic but if you doubt like slow burners, maybe go for a library or borrowed copy. 3.5/5

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    'The Witchling’s Girl’ is a quiet young adult fantasy that burrows under your skin and refuses to let you go. The magical elements are intriguing, but the real heart of the story is in its emotions – sadness and longing and heartbreak and love. This is not a happy story, but it’s a profoundly impactful one that lingers long beyond the last page. The story follows Haley – a perfectly normal child until, aged seven, she accidentally resurrects the family cat. The only people with the ability to res 'The Witchling’s Girl’ is a quiet young adult fantasy that burrows under your skin and refuses to let you go. The magical elements are intriguing, but the real heart of the story is in its emotions – sadness and longing and heartbreak and love. This is not a happy story, but it’s a profoundly impactful one that lingers long beyond the last page. The story follows Haley – a perfectly normal child until, aged seven, she accidentally resurrects the family cat. The only people with the ability to resurrect the dead are the Witchling’s – healers and herbalists, but also those with death magic, who can resurrect the dead or take them to the afterlife for judgement. As she knows she must, Haley’s mother takes her to the current Witchling – Marion – and abandons her, leaving the Witchling to train Haley to be her successor. At first, Haley fights her fate – but every town needs a Witchling, and the costs of Haley not becoming the Witchling are worse than those she faces becoming one. It’s impossible not to become attached to Haley. She’s introduced as a terrified seven year old, not understanding why her mother has left her behind in a strange place. She hates the Witchling and longs so badly for a freedom she will never achieve. As time passes, she grows and matures – but some of that defiant seven year old always remains, and it’s a flaw that’s eminently relatable. Haley is, at heart, a nice person – she cares about people, and wants to do the right thing – but she often cares too much and that starts to become her downfall. The world Helena Coggan crafts is exquisite in its simplicity. In many respects it feels like Medieval Britain – small towns run by rival Lords, each with their own healer-herbalist who works to balance the humours – but Coggan has taken this framework and built a fantasy world out of it. In her version, there is death-magic – a way of healing severe wounds by giving some of your energy to another, and a way to resurrect the dead – but only once, and at the cost of that person never going to the afterlife. It’s a familiar feeling magic system, but one which works perfectly with the setting and is beautifully described. The plot is nothing like what I expected when I picked this up. It’s cleverly crafted, with little hints dropped throughout, but still manages to catch you by surprise. The first few chapters are reminiscent of novels like ‘The Sin Eater‘ – historical fiction about a child outcast – but this goes in an entirely different direction, weaving in political upheaval and supernatural entities and, above all, a child forbidden from connecting with others trying – but failing – to follow that vow. Haley doesn’t make good, or logical, decisions, but each one is completely understandable, and the story doesn’t shy away from the consequences. This is magical realism, but the fact that the protagonist is allowed to make these childish decisions makes it feel more real than many similar novels that follow stricter historical fiction. The writing is one of the best parts. It doesn’t try to be flowery or lyrical; doesn’t craft elaborate descriptions – it just tells the story, but it does it in such a way that every emotion is a stab through the heart. There are a few moments where the flow isn’t perfect, but beyond those this is a masterclass in the effectiveness of simplicity. Overall, this is a story that’s far more than the sum of its parts. If you’re looking for fantasy filled with action and bold characters this isn’t the book for you – but if you want to read something quieter, something that focuses on character and connection, something that crafts a little bubble of a world and explores the delicate dynamics within that, then this is a recommended read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    “Magic … is not so much an art as a language, one you are born fluent in.” Recounting her own story, protagonist Haley unravels the world of the witchlings for the reader; a time entrenched in magic, embroiled in war, entangled in duty. The witchling of a village is both bringer of health and proclaimer of death. It is her role to care for people without bias, being compassionate but impartial. Haley is discovered as a witchling’s girl with the power to resurrect the dead when she is seven. She is “Magic … is not so much an art as a language, one you are born fluent in.” Recounting her own story, protagonist Haley unravels the world of the witchlings for the reader; a time entrenched in magic, embroiled in war, entangled in duty. The witchling of a village is both bringer of health and proclaimer of death. It is her role to care for people without bias, being compassionate but impartial. Haley is discovered as a witchling’s girl with the power to resurrect the dead when she is seven. She is then handed over to Marian, the town’s current witchling, to be parted from her family forever. Her duty is to one day replace Marian as the town’s witchling and protect people from harm while also facing their fear as the woman that deals with the dead. Haley’s formative years are spun throughout the novel, showing her growth as a witchling and a person. The careful balancing of tone as Haley grows is particularly well crafted; her younger self reads far differently than it does by the end of the novel, but at no point did I feel like she was overly childish. Perhaps this is due to the reflective tone of the writing. You are aware for the entirety of the story that Haley knows much more than she is sharing. Yet, these do not feel like needless hooks - they definitely kept me turning pages. Likewise, there is a careful conversation between female duty in many forms. Haley is constantly torn between what she has been told to believe is her responsibility and what her feelings dictate she should do. Particularly in the case of Leah, Haley’s allegiances are incredibly blurred; but it is in a striking moment of loss that takes the novel in a direction that allows Haley to see that obligation and emotions as a witchling can live comfortably alongside one another if you are careful. I found this to be an original storyline with some interesting character development and plotting. I don’t think I’ve read anything like it before which is rare to come across these days! The world building was an important feature for me and I think it is something keen readers of fantasy will really enjoy. I felt I was kept on my toes enough to peak my interest, especially with Daniel and Samuel’s storylines. Marian is probably my favourite character. Her quiet demeanour and authority alongside her clear motherly love for Haley is something the protagonist only sees with age. Their dynamic felt very organic and helped to introduce the reader to their world without overwhelming them. I felt the most emotional impact from her story arc. I wasn’t particularly a fan of Leah as a character - probably due to her differing morals to that of Haley which I felt more akin to - but it was great to read a fresh interpretation of a sapphic relationship with different obstacles to overcome than the norm. The lore behind the witchling magic and the underworld was also fascinating, even more so with hindsight about the novel’s conclusion. I’d love to read more from this world and get a feel for the magic of the rune tattoos, the witch’s world, and more about the lords fighting the war - there’s so much potential in that story! Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for this e-arc.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sam Torres

    “Beautiful, hopeful, and emotional. Plus, Sapphic Witches too!” First thoughts- started this book a few days ago and it was so amazing. It’s everything you would expect in a witchy fantasy: atmospheric, witch history, a little romance, and amazing characters. Straight from the first page, I was hooked with the House of the Dead and the witchling that lived in it. The book is told from the perspective of a seven year old girl, Haley, and her life as the new witchling. Though, as the story goes on, “Beautiful, hopeful, and emotional. Plus, Sapphic Witches too!” First thoughts- started this book a few days ago and it was so amazing. It’s everything you would expect in a witchy fantasy: atmospheric, witch history, a little romance, and amazing characters. Straight from the first page, I was hooked with the House of the Dead and the witchling that lived in it. The book is told from the perspective of a seven year old girl, Haley, and her life as the new witchling. Though, as the story goes on, it shows her growing up. Description- The Witchling’s Girl is about a young girl, Haley, who is discovered to be the witchling. This means she basically has powers to raise and guide the dead, as well as wield healing magic. She is taken to the house of the dead, where she is to live with the current witchling and learn what it means to be a witchling and learn what she must to look after the town. Every town has a witchling that looks after it’s people.Marian, the current witchling, dies, and so Haley must fend for the whole town. She is succeeding, but a strange sickness begins to gather in the town which results in seizures and strange language. During the book, Haley is visited at times by a WItch named Leah. But being a witchling means you have agreed to vows, but can they be broken? Throughout the book, their relationship takes form quite beautifully. Major Characters Haley- I really enjoyed Haley as a character. She had depth and we saw her reasoning for the things she has done. She also had a really well written character development. She starts off as a scared child yet cunning, and throughout the book she begins to grow into an amazing character. She slowly learns to trust others. Haley finds it harder and harder to keep her vows and be the perfect healer. Marian- She was one of my most favorite characters throughout the book. She was so… strong. In the beginning, I thought she was a woman who did not care for others and just stuck to her vows, but later we learn how much love she has for people. She visits some people that I cannot name because SPOILERS. Leah- Leah is a character that you either love or don’t care for her. I honestly was in between. She was a good character, but I think the author could have made her more important. She appeared in a chapter and then was gone the next, which I did not really enjoy. I see why, I just wish it was maybe told from her perspective along with Haley. Writing- The writing was AMAZING. It pulled me in right from the start, and through the whole novel. I loved how it felt like Haley was literally talking to me. The writing did not falter at all, and did not feel like words were repeated or unnecessary. It also read super fast. “You cannot rage at the wind and rain. Blame instead the person who draws down the lightning upon you.” Ultimately, this is a story where women are bound by duty and justice, love and fear, and are trying to find their path in a world not of their making. It’s about deciding what is right and what is wrong.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy Burt

    The Witchling’s Girl is fantastically written, it’s got a unique premise in which each village has a witchling to cure the community, to act as a midwife and upon their death to either bring people back or escort them beyond for judgement. Each witchling has a girl, an involuntary apprentice in a way, who upon showing signs of the craft at a young is renounced and given to the witchling to live with her in the House of Dead, train and become her successor. The story starts with our protagonist H The Witchling’s Girl is fantastically written, it’s got a unique premise in which each village has a witchling to cure the community, to act as a midwife and upon their death to either bring people back or escort them beyond for judgement. Each witchling has a girl, an involuntary apprentice in a way, who upon showing signs of the craft at a young is renounced and given to the witchling to live with her in the House of Dead, train and become her successor. The story starts with our protagonist Haley, taken as a little girl after bringing her dead cat to life, being passed to Marian, the current witchling, where is taught she no longer can see her family, she cannot love, she serves her people and in turn must disown herself. She is taught medicine, magic, the laws of the underworld, but along with day to day healing Haley must learn, the village is also facing a mysterious illness and, if that’s not bad enough, in the middle of a war between battling Lords. Haley is a fantastic character, you really experience her character development throughout the book As she grows up,, starting off angry and resentful when her mother gives her away, and through life lessons and good (and bad) people, becoming a young woman with torn loyalties, tenderness and fierceness until full circle, she becomes the witchling raising the girl. This book has great LGBQT representation and in particular a connection with Leah, a mysterious character who is brought in later in the book, is tender and intimate and the chemistry is delightful. Similarly, another beautiful relationship is the one between Haley and Marian which takes on a maternal role that is so perfectly captured. There are also a lot of relationships and characters introduced that have special meaning, characters are introduced for a reason and build each other up. The writing really is fantastic, there is a scene where Haley and Marian deliver a baby that particularly stayed with me. Morality, loyalty, love, violence is addressed, the writing is deep and poetic and my goodness this book will make you feel! While this book is beautifully written, I’m giving it 4 stars instead of the 5, simply because I finished the book and just sat there feeling Incredibly overwhelmed and devastated because this book is very dark, very brutal, very heavy that I genuinely found hard to get past. This book is as much about life as it is about death and while it’s beautiful, it doesn’t hold back. It’s a testament to the writing that it made me care so much about these people. Thank you NetGalley for the early copy in exchange for an honest review

  19. 4 out of 5

    thetalesofellie

    I’m always a little hesitant with fantasy novels as I struggle to connect and immerse within the story, however, The Witchling’s Girl defied that statement and was a story that I found myself captured by. In this story we follow Hayley, a young girl who discovers she has the ability to raise the dead, a Witchling. Taken by her mother to the House Of The Dead, she is raised by the older Witchling Marian. From this moment she will learn how to heal, lay to rest and become the Witchling of the town. I’m always a little hesitant with fantasy novels as I struggle to connect and immerse within the story, however, The Witchling’s Girl defied that statement and was a story that I found myself captured by. In this story we follow Hayley, a young girl who discovers she has the ability to raise the dead, a Witchling. Taken by her mother to the House Of The Dead, she is raised by the older Witchling Marian. From this moment she will learn how to heal, lay to rest and become the Witchling of the town. Death is always a difficult topic to discuss for the majority of people, especially in the context of a Young Adult novel. In this book we explore the fear surrounding death, the unknown capabilities and the question of what may or can happen when you die, I think this is a very brave and important topic to be discussed. Helena’s writing explores death in a comforting way, a beautiful way and one that is easily understood. I know the nature of the novel is around fantasy and sci-fi however, I can’t help to parallel the meaning behind the plot in real life and explore the real topic that is death itself. I want to thank Helena for being so open and yet so comfortable with the topic. I am always drawn to books that focus on medicine, healing, death and that ‘negative’ energy we see in health. As a sick person myself, it’s very comforting to read a novel that doesn’t sugar coat or stereotype the surrounding topic of death and sickness. I think this is why the book meant so much to me, I found safety and comfort in the idea of medicine, dying and health. It was refreshing to read a story centered on sickness and death without it being overbearingly overwhelming. This novel did it perfectly. I haven’t enjoyed a fantasy like this in a very long time and I’m incredibly honoured to have had the opportunity to read this book. I’m even tempting to buy the physical copy, so that I have it forever. The relationships between Hayley and Marian, the character of Leah, her best friend Daniel, her mother, the Lord’s, the battles and war. Every ounce of this book I completely devoured and I am truly looking forward to discovering more of Helena’s works. One of the best books I’ve read yet.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emily Sarah

    This book saw me pouring a pumpkin spice latte, slapped it out of my hand and said “No! This is how we do spooky season now!” And honestly?! Favourite book of the year. Do you want to curl up with a cup of tea and fall into an entrancement of hauntingly, beautiful literature during fall? Yes? Thought so. First of all- it took me by surprise as it was not advertised as LGBT+ but THIS BOOK IS QUEER AND I LOVE IT. My gay heart was over joyed. 1. Our main character, Haley- is Bi 2. Leah- is Asexual, a This book saw me pouring a pumpkin spice latte, slapped it out of my hand and said “No! This is how we do spooky season now!” And honestly?! Favourite book of the year. Do you want to curl up with a cup of tea and fall into an entrancement of hauntingly, beautiful literature during fall? Yes? Thought so. First of all- it took me by surprise as it was not advertised as LGBT+ but THIS BOOK IS QUEER AND I LOVE IT. My gay heart was over joyed. 1. Our main character, Haley- is Bi 2. Leah- is Asexual, and sapphic (I believe, but many interpret her character in different ways) 3. There’s also mention of a gay male couple early in the book though fleeting. Now the book itself. I was gripped by the house’ talons and brought into the magical world of a witchling. The book has a medieval, fantasy style feel, with battling lords attempting to take one another’s land. The story however mostly focuses on Haley, who at an extremely (not normally seen) young age, begins to display powers of resurrection; showing she is a witchling. However the life of a witchling is one of only devotion to the cause and total impartiality; punishable by death if you choose to deviate from your path. Haley is ripped from her mother’s grasp, taken into the house of the dead and looked down upon by a town who fears the dark and wonderful powers of its healers. ‘If I stayed stupid, if I did not study, then I would not learn how to carry the dead into the underworld’ The book follows Haley as she grows, starting from a young age and flowing through her life like a hauntingly, spiritual diary. It follows the elder witchling who raises her also, It’s extremely hard hitting, emotional and has beautiful depth. I know some people are looking for books to replace their usual Harry Potter reading with this year- and I would highly reccomended this tale of magic. An inclusive, haunting and hard hitting tale of magic. Content warnings; brief mentions of rape, violence, abuse, bullying, being taken from family, abortion. I would like to thank the publisher Hodder Books , for providing me with an ARC of this brilliant book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aisha

    The Witchling’s Girl follows the story of Haley from the time she discovers her gift and becomes the witchling’s girl and then what happens to her throughout the following years with the world around her changing and different people entering her life. The book follows Haley’s life from when she was a child till she is an adult and details her role of becoming the witchling and what she gets up to, the plot itself is not very exciting however I really enjoyed the writing style and tone of the boo The Witchling’s Girl follows the story of Haley from the time she discovers her gift and becomes the witchling’s girl and then what happens to her throughout the following years with the world around her changing and different people entering her life. The book follows Haley’s life from when she was a child till she is an adult and details her role of becoming the witchling and what she gets up to, the plot itself is not very exciting however I really enjoyed the writing style and tone of the book. The way the book was written made me want to read on and made Haley’s story interesting, we follow her throughout different important parts of her life but my favourite thing about the book is Haley herself and her voice. She has a lot going on and her new role means she is isolated from those around her but as the story progresses we see her slowly start to trust people and deal with her vulnerability and her conflicted emotions around having to do her job/keep her vows and balance them against her feelings for the people she cares about. There is also so much about the world she lives in that she does not know and without answers she makes mistakes, there is so much guilt she carries and it was interesting to read about her and what her choices lead to – the ending of the book connects to something from her past and I liked how everything linked together. The plot of the book is not action packed or very dramatic but that was fine because the slow pace and simple storyline suited the tone of the book. I also liked how throughout the book there is references to the past and the future and information about other side characters, it made the storytelling aspect of the book interesting to read. I really enjoyed the story overall; the setting, the magic and the characters but I did feel like the book was building up to something especially near the end of the book which lead nowhere and I would have liked to know more about the world the book is set in – more about what happened to those the witchling helped. 3/5

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ab

    This was a beautiful and heartbreaking story about powers of healing, what happens when we die, what it means to be “good” or “evil,” and what it means to love. Told through a fantastical story about singular women (witchlings) who act as the town doctors, healers, and gatekeepers to the underworld of souls. They are necessary to a town’s survival, but evil always lurks behind closed doors, and souls that have been wandering for eternity in the underworld would do anything to live again. We lear This was a beautiful and heartbreaking story about powers of healing, what happens when we die, what it means to be “good” or “evil,” and what it means to love. Told through a fantastical story about singular women (witchlings) who act as the town doctors, healers, and gatekeepers to the underworld of souls. They are necessary to a town’s survival, but evil always lurks behind closed doors, and souls that have been wandering for eternity in the underworld would do anything to live again. We learn about a witchling’s purpose, her vows, and her duties primarily through the aging witchling’s teachings to her reluctant young replacement. Any child found to possess death-magic, or powers of resurrection, are sent to the witchling to live a cloistered and outcast life, but very much an essential part of the town’s survival. The story pulled me along at a fast clip for the first half of the book while we learned about this world and saw witchling Marian teach young Haley her ways, then slowed to a saunter as we begin living as the town witchling alongside Haley. Haley struggles to adjust and can’t quite keep her vow of never loving another or finding human closeness. Her bisexuality is refreshing and easily slips along the story as a simple matter of life, and we feel the sorrows and challenges of her struggle. The warring lords are also frequently storming towns and hurting with abandon, and in this way there is a Medieval feel to the setting, though the world is clearly a new one. I also loved the sentience of the witchling house, getting to know its inhabitants and letting doors open or not as recognition and need allow. There is also a network of tunnels to a kind of eternal purgatory in its basement, which is amazing. So creative and atmospheric, I will look forward to other works by Helena Coggan.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I started my October by picking up this book and I have to say it was a perfect, atmospheric and beautiful read for the season. From the first page I was pulled straight into the world of the witchlings and their dead house where they serve as healers, midwives and accompany the dead to the underworld. The book is told from the perspective of Haley who at 7 years old was abandoned by her mother for using “death-magic”, she is left in the care of a Witchling named Marian and must come to terms wit I started my October by picking up this book and I have to say it was a perfect, atmospheric and beautiful read for the season. From the first page I was pulled straight into the world of the witchlings and their dead house where they serve as healers, midwives and accompany the dead to the underworld. The book is told from the perspective of Haley who at 7 years old was abandoned by her mother for using “death-magic”, she is left in the care of a Witchling named Marian and must come to terms with her new life and learn how to take Marian’s place when she dies. Watching Haley’s relationship with Marian develop from one of resentment and hate to one full of respect and love was heartwarming yet tragic and really elevated the story for me. Haley really stood out as a main character as she was easy to relate to and held my attention throughout the book. She made mistakes but always tried to do her best when it came to her work as a witchling. Throughout this book there is a war being fought and although we never see the front line we get to see the effect it has on the village and the way the witchlings operate which added another layer to the story and served the plot well. Another thing that really stood out to me was the magic system that was used - it was fascinating and original and was never over explained so the mystery was kept ‘til the very end. This book has been one of my favourite reads this year - a beautiful yet tragic tale with perfect pacing and a storyline that I couldn’t put down. If you're looking for a witchy read that’s not only magical but full of heart I would highly recommend you give it a try. Thank you to Hodder books for the arc to review

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heather K Veitch

    The Witchling’s Girl is a lyrical and magical story about Hayley, the titlular Witchling’s Girl, who was born with death-magic and is given to Marian for further instruction in magic. We follow Hayley as she grows up into the role of the Witching — the town’s healer and midwife to both the newly-born and the newly-dead. I loved this aspect of the story in particular and felt it was incredibly well orchestrated. The world-building is wonderful and so descriptive! I loved the chthonic aspects of t The Witchling’s Girl is a lyrical and magical story about Hayley, the titlular Witchling’s Girl, who was born with death-magic and is given to Marian for further instruction in magic. We follow Hayley as she grows up into the role of the Witching — the town’s healer and midwife to both the newly-born and the newly-dead. I loved this aspect of the story in particular and felt it was incredibly well orchestrated. The world-building is wonderful and so descriptive! I loved the chthonic aspects of the story, beneath the House of the Dead, but my heart pulled for both Marian and Hayley, who, as Witchlings, cannot have family or friends due to the nature of their work. Sadly, even though the Witchling provides essential services for the town, the fear of Witches runs deep and dark, and this is something that Hayley must learn to balance. The characters get under your skin and I found myself wondering about them long after I’d finished reading this book. Despite her magical abilities, Hayley is so human that it’s hard not to relate to her. She is contradictory and frustrating but at the same time so utterly, messily human that you cannot help but feel for her. The other characters are equally well-drawn and I really loved Marian in particular. This is a magical story and has some fascinating insights on alternative concepts around death, dying, and bereavement. Highly recommended! I received an e-ARC from the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Halima (Starlight_and_blooms)

    An atmospheric, beautifully written YA novel about magic, self-sacrifice and one girl's search for who she really is. ⠀ Hayley was born with the gift of death-magic and at age seven, after she resurrected her cat, Hayley’s mother hands her off to the care of Marion at the House of Dead, where she must vow to abandon any hope of family/ love and future relationships and give her life to become the next Witchling. Hayley tries everything to escape her dark and solitary life but every Village must ha An atmospheric, beautifully written YA novel about magic, self-sacrifice and one girl's search for who she really is. ⠀ Hayley was born with the gift of death-magic and at age seven, after she resurrected her cat, Hayley’s mother hands her off to the care of Marion at the House of Dead, where she must vow to abandon any hope of family/ love and future relationships and give her life to become the next Witchling. Hayley tries everything to escape her dark and solitary life but every Village must have a Witchling (their healer; their midwife; their bridge between the living and the Underworld) and so she is torn and tormented by her fate. Coggan skills fully crafts a fantastic, dark yet captivating tale, as we see Hayley seeking to find her place in this world - bound by duty, fear and love. It really is captivating to see how Hayley’s character develops, as she goes from a troubled young girl into a powerful Witchling. You all know how much I love my witchy books and this story did not fall short. From the very first page, I was truly enthralled and entertained. It’s not a whimsical story but rather a slow, raw and atmospheric narrative. The writing is beautiful and the characters are unique and fascinating. A cliche, but it really was a gripping page- turner. ⠀ Thank you to the author, @hodderbooks and @netgalley for the arc. Releasing on the 7th January, this is definitely one for your TBR. 5 starlights ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🌟

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ariadna

    TW: death and anything relating to it This story sucked me in from the start and it is unlike anything I have ever read before. Sure I have read books about witches but not like this. The uniqueness and just the whole concept of the story and the magic system... I doubt I will ever encounter anything like this again. The whole story is our MC, the witchling's girl, her name is Haley, so this is a very character focused story and because we see the world from Haley's POV there isn't much world bui TW: death and anything relating to it This story sucked me in from the start and it is unlike anything I have ever read before. Sure I have read books about witches but not like this. The uniqueness and just the whole concept of the story and the magic system... I doubt I will ever encounter anything like this again. The whole story is our MC, the witchling's girl, her name is Haley, so this is a very character focused story and because we see the world from Haley's POV there isn't much world building because we know only what Haley knows. (Though I won't lie the world intrigued me very much and I would love to know more about it, maybe like a spin off). I really like the characters in this story, they all give off such comforting and soothing vibes, despite death being a very prominent subject in the book (it's everywhere) and just reading the book gave me the feeling of comfort on the inside (i don't know if this makes any sense but i don't know how else to describe it). But also this book hit home for me, it talked and mentioned some things that are very private and deeply rooted inside me and even I don't know how to phrase them and because of this it's a 5 stars for me. I would recommend this for people who like dark but whimsical and very character based stories. * thank you to the publishers on Netgalley for giving me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    The witchling’s girl is about Hayley - a young girl who discovers she has the power to raise the dead, This automatically means she’s forced to leave her family and go live in the house of the dead, where she trains to become the next Witchling. Witchlings have the power to heal and are the caretakers of the town. They have the power to either resurrect or take the dead to the underworld, and they take vows to treat everyone that comes to them, as well as to love no one or have any families of t The witchling’s girl is about Hayley - a young girl who discovers she has the power to raise the dead, This automatically means she’s forced to leave her family and go live in the house of the dead, where she trains to become the next Witchling. Witchlings have the power to heal and are the caretakers of the town. They have the power to either resurrect or take the dead to the underworld, and they take vows to treat everyone that comes to them, as well as to love no one or have any families of their own. The book traces Haley’s life as she recounts growing up with Marian and all the things she goes through. I had mixed feelings about this story. Plus side, Hayley is a formidable character - she’s fierce, strong and likeable. All the characters are well written and morally grey, which I typically love. There is an LGBTQI element to this as Haley is Bi - but it doesn’t feel gratuitous or an add on. The house itself is a characteristic the book (nuff said 😉). The other thing I like is that the story is fairly dark and gritty so there are some real world elements that/make the stakes high for the characters. The not so great parts - it’s not fast paced. There are a lot of heavy themes and issues so it’s not light reading. It is however nuanced and I loved the moral ambiguity the characters brought to every situation.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    What an absolutely fantastic, magical read. It’s a crime to have to wait till next year to get my grabby hands on a physical edition! The way Helena writes is wonderful and made this book such an interesting and captivating read. We begin in the eyes of a 7 year old girl. The perspective given from someone of this age is refreshing. Haley is deathly afraid, of monsters and being in trouble, whilst referencing a future where she becomes what scared her. Set in the house of the dead, the pages ooze b What an absolutely fantastic, magical read. It’s a crime to have to wait till next year to get my grabby hands on a physical edition! The way Helena writes is wonderful and made this book such an interesting and captivating read. We begin in the eyes of a 7 year old girl. The perspective given from someone of this age is refreshing. Haley is deathly afraid, of monsters and being in trouble, whilst referencing a future where she becomes what scared her. Set in the house of the dead, the pages ooze both death and witching which enthrals you. To want to read more. To dive through the pages yourself. Haley grows up to become the witchling, her purpose in life is to selflessly help others through sickness and death whilst vowing to forsake herself of all we deem are our rights - she cannot marry, love or create relationships that may cloud her judgement. Towards the end I worried, how can this story complete. Will it be disappointing, open ended even? However, no. The last two lines, though I won’t spoil them, gripped at my heart and left me feeling satisfied yet curious still that this was the end.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Evans

    Death magic, witchlings, an army of lords, and witches. A perfect combination for this vivid and intense story that pulled me in from the first page and didn't let go. Hayley is born with death-magic and at the age of seven becomes the Witchling's girl. After the army of lord Jonathan invades her town and her Witchling mentor Marian is killed, Hayley becomes the witching and must now tend to the town's sick and dead. Witchling's take vows and as Hayley struggles to keep hers we are pulled deeper Death magic, witchlings, an army of lords, and witches. A perfect combination for this vivid and intense story that pulled me in from the first page and didn't let go. Hayley is born with death-magic and at the age of seven becomes the Witchling's girl. After the army of lord Jonathan invades her town and her Witchling mentor Marian is killed, Hayley becomes the witching and must now tend to the town's sick and dead. Witchling's take vows and as Hayley struggles to keep hers we are pulled deeper and deeper into the story and her faith in the witch Leah. The writing is beautiful and lyrical and a pure joy to read. The world is brought to life in truly stunning atmospheric descriptions so you feel like you are in the House of the Dead surrounded by death and sickness and ghosts. It is a beautiful and yet tragic tale the flows at just the right pace. It pulls at the heartstrings and keeps you captive as you turn page after page to see what fate has in store for Hayley next. The action is tense in all the right places and I certainly look forward to reading more from the author. I loved everything about this book and can't wait to recommend it to friends and family.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chantal Lyons

    I remember reading Helena Coggan's first book, 'The Catalyst', and WOW - her writing has come on in leaps and bounds since! 'The Witchling's Girl' features a truly unique new world and magical system. The imagination is astounding, and there was a flavour to it that reminded me strongly of 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone'. I quickly went from intrigued to engrossed. With all that said, the book is really, really long, and slow-moving. A key character, Adrienne, doesn't appear till well over halfway th I remember reading Helena Coggan's first book, 'The Catalyst', and WOW - her writing has come on in leaps and bounds since! 'The Witchling's Girl' features a truly unique new world and magical system. The imagination is astounding, and there was a flavour to it that reminded me strongly of 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone'. I quickly went from intrigued to engrossed. With all that said, the book is really, really long, and slow-moving. A key character, Adrienne, doesn't appear till well over halfway through. It is also... unrelentingly grim. Dark, bitter stories work best with flashes of humour. My patience did start to wear thin after a while, to the point that when I finished the book, although I was glad to have read it, I felt slightly disengaged. So - a beautifully imagined story for those who have the time to give it the attention it deserves. (With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review

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