Book Review: Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw

6 Aug

WintercraftWhen Kate Winters brings a bird back to life, she’s chased by Wardens and Collectors who know her for a Skilled–a person who work magic and heal people. High Councilwoman Da’ru has been experimenting on the skilled and desperately wants to put Kate through some tests. Silas Dane, the man who captures Kate, wants her to find a book created by her ancestors to help him with his own predicament. All Kate wants to know is what’s going on and how anything involves her.

This book was a quick read, but I wasn’t blown away. I felt like the whole thing was like a pile of quilt patches about to be sewn together. All the pieces were there but they hadn’t been stitched together properly yet. There were quite a few info-dumps and quite a few things that weren’t really explained or, if they were, weren’t woven through the various threads of the plot often enough for it to really sink in.

For instance, an over-arching plot was that the country had been at a lengthy war and that was why the Wardens had a habit of descending on towns and taking people away. But the logistics were off. The war had been going on for 10 years. If a country was at war for 10 years and was running out of manpower, don’t you think they’d be running out of other resources, too? Yet there was no mention of hard times or food being hard to come by. Secondly, they apparently took EVERYone, including women and children. Could women fight in the war? Did they train child soldiers? We don’t know. We later learn that these people are “sold” to individuals in the capital city, which made me think that maybe the war was a fake idea engineered by the rich people in the capital… but then it was mentioned again and I didn’t think so. I was then confused about why they were at war, who they were at war with, and how the heck they continued to support themselves with food and other necessities.

That said, the war wasn’t part of the plot at all. The main bit was Kate finding the book that her ancestors had written about all the dangers of going into the Veil and dealing with souls, and Silas wanting her to kill him (he was trapped between life and death). The plot moved quickly, which was nice for a quick read, though I got confused when it came to the magic and veil and felt that it could have been explained better. Part of the problem was that Kate wasn’t in control of her power most of the time, which made sense as she only just discovered she had any power at all. But–and this is a personal preference–I hate it when characters are simply “gifted” with something and don’t have to work at it. Her lack of power never really came into play in a negative fashion; she didn’t destroy anything or make something go wrong. She always ended up doing whatever she was meant to even though she didn’t know how. She was a “natural.” It just seems unrealistic to me.

On the other hand, the main characters–Kate and Silas–were okay. I particularly liked Silas, who had a brooding sort of quality about him. Hidden depths and all that. Kate annoyed me a little sometimes, but I liked that she didn’t turn into a teary mess when she was taken against her will. She was a pretty strong character all things considered. Some of the other characters–Edgar, Artemis–struck me as largely dispensable, but that might be because I didn’t really care either way about them.

I don’t mean to sound like I didn’t enjoy this book. I feel like I run that risk every time I read a book that I think could have been better. It was actually quite enjoyable–a fun, fast read–but there were little details that could have been added or changed to make the whole thing a lot better. I read it in (almost) one sitting doing some late-night babysitting and it certainly caught my interest and pulled me through the evening. Worth a shot if you see it on the shelf, and hey, you might have some different opinions.

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One Response to “Book Review: Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw”

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  1. 2013: A Year of Reading in Review | More Than One Page - December 26, 2013

    […] Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw […]

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