Review: Witch World by Andre Norton

Series: The Estcarp Cycle #1
Published by: Gollancz
ISBN: 0575039957
ISBN 13: 9780575039957
Published: 1968
Pages: 224
Format reviewed: mobi
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Three out of Five
Related Reviews: Reading Challenge: Women of Speculative Fiction

This is part of my reading challenge for 2017, to expand my woeful knowledge of women in speculative fiction by reading at least 24 books by women that were and are instrumental in our genre.

This starts as a master of intrigue. A marked man, Simon, who is or once was very capable, and once honest and a Corporal, is on the run. He expects death at every turn, and yet is still darkly witty when prompted. Having been tricked into falling on the wrong side of the law he has had to leave his old life behind him, and has so far managed to beat off those who come after him… but he finds himself following someone expensively dangerous who says he can be of some assistance – and that assistance has to do with Simon’s Cornish heritage.

This reminds me hugely of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon for various reasons (though Estcarp Cycle came first, of course) as well as the many many other ‘MC gets transported to a magical land by various means and has to struggle on’ books out there. The general interactions at the start of the book, the light worldbuilding, and leaving the reader to make their own inferring makes this a strong book as it keeps you paying attention. The fact women are those who have magic is always a favourite of mine – turning often weaker characters who just gather herbs or sit and worry a force to be reckoned with.

Overall though, the intrigue from the start kind of set me off to expect an entirely different book, and this was a mainly plot driven piece rather than by character or worldbuilding as is my preference. This is an interesting book to read for its time, and to enjoy the genre as it once was, but overall it wasn’t as for me as I’d previously hoped.


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