Book Review: Witches of Lychford

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I am charging along on the reading challenge.  As of today, I’m 11 books ahead and pretty proud of myself, though I still have about 7 to read from the list.  I discovered, thanks to Tor, an amazing book called Witches of Lychford, by Paul Cornell.  It is glorious in its absurdity and also heartbreaking at times.

The basic premise is that a big-box store wants to open on the town borders, straddling the line and changing the roads.  Where local crank Judith didn’t care about all of that before the location was announced, she now knows that building the superstore like that will cause the wardings on the town to fail, literally letting in a host of hellish demons.  The company representative seems to be one of them.

Judith has to band together with the faithless priest and the unbelieving magic shop owner to stop the nefarious plot to build the market.  All three of the women are dealing with their own issues around life and death, having to work through them to save the town.

Such a great premise, right?  And it mostly lives up to its promise as a traditional fae/forest/witchcraft fantasy set in untraditional times.  The only issue I had with it was its shortness.  It’s a novella, and it didn’t need to be.  There is meatiness there for a full-length story.

In class, I was taught that novellas typically only had one story line to them, because it was too hard to wrap up multiple story lines in under 50,000 words without the reader feeling cheated.  This book shows the truth of that.  3 different story lines for the 3 different characters, and none but Judith’s felt like it was fully satisfying.  That being said, it was still a fun, quick, romp.  I would heartily recommend. If the worst criticism I have of a book is that I wish there were more of it, it’s doing pretty well.

Plus bonus points because it’s unlike anything I’ve seen before.  Happy reading!

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