Wishtress by Nadine Brandes

Book Blurb:

She didn’t ask to be the Wishtress.

Myrthe was born with the ability to turn her tears into wishes. It’s a big secret to keep. When a granted wish goes wrong, a curse is placed on her: the next tear she sheds will kill her. She needs to journey to the Well and break the curse before it claims her life–and before the king’s militairen track her down. But in order to survive the journey, she must harden her heart to keep herself from crying even a single tear.

He can stop time with a snap of his fingers.

Bastiaan’s powerful–and rare–Talent came in handy when he kidnapped the old king. Now the new king has a job for him: find and capture the Wishtress and deliver her to the schloss. But Bastiaan needs a wish of his own. When he locates Myrthe, he agrees to take her to the Well in exchange for a wish. Once she’s fulfilled her end of the deal, he’ll turn her in. As long as his growing feelings for the girl with a stone heart don’t compromise his job.

They are on a journey that can only end one way: with her death.

Everyone seems to need a wish–the king, Myrthe’s cousin, the boy she thinks she loves. And they’re ready to bully, beg, and even betray her for it. No one knows that to grant even one of them, Myrthe would have to die. And if she tells them about her curse . . . they’ll just kill her anyway.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.

AnnaScott’s Review:

“You both get to write your story, but the longer you live, the more you’ll learn to surrender your ink.”

This is just a tiny glimpse at the stunning contents of this book. I love this book for so many reasons, but one of the reasons is beautiful way it is written. Nadine’s prose is simultaneously poignant, relatable, and eloquent, and the life lessons that are subtly woven throughout are striking. I also loved that the story acts as an allegory for salvation and the Christian life. It is incredibly thought provoking, and I had to pause several times just to process the depth of what I had just read.

Moving on to the actual story, I loved Bastiann, Myrthe, and especially Runt. Their relationships are so pure and sweet, and they are all real characters dealing with relatable challenges. I especially appreciated the deeper look into the classic battle between good and evil that they afford us. So many stories like this tend to take a black and white approach, and I love how this book shows that life is really not that simple. People can do bad things with good intentions, and good things with bad intentions, and everything in between. It adds a depth to the story and the characters that is rare in YA. Finally, Nadine’s world building is amazing and her plot is completely unique. I was down to the last 10% of the book and had absolutely no idea how it was going to end.

My only teeny tiny complaint is that it took me a while to get into the story. The beginning was full of a lot of setup for the world and backstory on the characters, which I appreciated, but it wasn’t until I got a third of the way into it that I was hooked. Also I have so many questions about the ending, which I think was her point, but still.

Overall, it really reminded me of a mash-up between Tangled and Frozen, which are two of my favorite Disney movies, so I loved it. It is original and thought provoking, and I wish that YA was filled with more books like this.


One comment

  1. Dear AnnaScott:

    I pondered your observation “it took me a while to get into the story.”
    And I wondered why ‘Wishtress’ hadn’t struck ME in that same way.
    Yes, Nadine takes her time.
    She constructs her world of Winterune in a decidedly unhurried manner.
    But is that necessarily a negative?
    May I be so bold as to put forth that the glory is in the details…..
    And THESE details are glorious!

    There’s this, too:
    I listened to the audiobook, professionally narrated by Kim May and Max Himmelreich.
    I wonder if that fact makes a definitive difference in my assessment of ‘Wishtress’ as a whole.
    The narrators’ tone and inflection…..
    The manner in which they bring characters’ personalities to life – INCLUDING soliloquies – is not just informative, but entertaining, too……
    Versus reading ‘toneless’ hardcopy text on a page.

    Whaddaya think? Might the first one-third of the book – the “setup for the world and backstory on the characters” – strike you differently if you listened to the audiobook version of ‘Wishtress’?
    I daresay that my own attention span expands in leaps and bounds when I LISTEN to a topflight audiobook versus reading a hardcopy version of the same.

    My two cents’ worth,
    PhiL >^•_•^<

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