Thursday 14 April 2011

Wintercraft: Blackwatch by Jenna Burtenshaw

Pages - 276

Published by Headline on 14th April 2011

Kindly sent to me by the publisher for an honest review.

This book begins where the last book ended. For the review of the first book in the series, please click here.

A month had passed since the Night of Souls; the night Silas Dane had left the city of Fume as a traitor and begun his new life as  a fugitive. He had murdered a council-woman, slain many of her wardens and threatened the lives of the council's twelve remaining members. In that one night he had gone from being one of the High Council's most trusted men to being an outlaw, no better than any of the smugglers and thieves he had brought to justice in his time. Word of his treachery  had spread through every town in Albion. The High Council wanted him caught, but despite everything the memory of that night still  made Silas smile.

Jenna Burtenshaw has a very dark mind! And I for one, LOVE IT!

This is the second book in the Wintercraft trilogy and I found that it was a much darker fantasy than the first one. Jenna Burtenshaw is excellent at creating a Gothic style world that slowly envelops you until you cannot escape. From the first pages, you are handcuffed and instantly engulfed with a fear of foreboding.

The Skilled have captured Kate and imprisoned her. They fear the power she now has at her fingertips. She is stronger than any other Walker who has held the Wintercraft book before her, she is also volatile as she is unable to cope with the power sweeping through her.   Whilst the Skilled decide upon Kate's future, others are keen to find her. Blackwatch, a sinister and elite force who fear nothing, will not stop until they have brought Kate to Dalliah Grey, a rather well known character from the past who has constantly defied death for two centuries.
The author has successfully brought back the feisty Kate, the dark, brooding, dangerous Silas and the sarcastic, slightly annoying Edgar from the first book. Along with these familiar faces, there are two new characters. Dalliah Grey, a quietly determined woman who gives off an air of benevolence and Banderman, the leader of the Blackwatch, who seems to be constantly defying death; a malignant growth that needs to be surgically removed. Kate worried me as a character, as I felt she on the verge of following a macabre pathway; she is now so unpredictable with the power she holds inside her. Silas is still one of my most favourite characters. As unpleasant and cold as he tries to appear, there is a heart hidden deeply within and occasionally he has to give in to it. He suffers physically and emotionally in this book, which shows a more humane side to his character. Thankfully neither Dalliah or Banderman appear as openly posionous as Daru did in the first book, yet looks can be deceiving and I think Dalliah is yet to reach her full potential of evilness.
Yet again, Jenna Burtenshaw breathes originality in to the fantasy genre. The veil and  the spirit wheels are unique to her writing style. Within this book, we are given a deeper understanding about how they came to be, their origins were a lot darker than I would have ever expected.

What I love about the Wintercraft books is the author's use of descriptive language. I find myself getting lost in the world she has built as her descriptions come to life. I find her use of imagery quite outstanding. Within this book, we discover the underground caverns that appear endless, a whole world beneath your feet, ready to be explored. Although the darkness of the underground setting does gives off a claustrophobic feel to the reader. I felt Kate's immense relief on reaching the surface and seeing the stars light up the evening sky.

Within the actual writing, there is never a trace of a clunky phrase or unsuitable word, the prose just continues to flow beautifully. This storyline wasn't as intense as the first book, allowing me to breathe easier this time. Some of the spoken passages by the characters were brilliantly written and eloquently said.

I found myself reading this book in two sittings,as once I had reacquainted myself with Kate and Silas, I didn't want to leave their company. I think if I had to choose between the two books so far in the series,  I would have to say that Blackwatch is my favourite, but it is a difficult choice to make as I have enjoyed them both.
This book ends on a cliffhanger, yet the story within the book is wrapped up leaving only the last chapter with loose ends. I can't wait for the final part of the trilogy in order to discover how it all will end.From reading the last pages of this book I can only imagine an apocalyptic finale to the series,

This is a fantasy series I would highly recommend, especially if you are new to this genre. Each book is just under three hundred books and quick to lose yourself in.


  1. This sounds wonderfully dark, thanks for recommendng it ---- I love the cover as well, very moody and atmospheric I think.

    Only thing is the link to the first book does not seem to be live - I thought I'd better let you know.

  2. Wintercraft sounds wonderfully dark and original! I will look for this book (and series) when I foray into fantasy.

  3. I may be an oldie to this genre, but I always want more. Fantasy is one genre I will never tire of

  4. This sounds really good and what a terrific cover!

  5. sounds like a great series. "From the first pages, you are handcuffed and instantly engulfed" wonderful review!

  6. Awesome review. I'm half way through this and I Love it x

  7. I love your review! It's making me so excited to get back into this world with these fabulous characters :)


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