Review: Witch King by Martha Wells





After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?

Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.

He’s not going to like the answers.


Saying I am a huge fan of Maratha Wells is an understatement. Having delved into both Books of Raksura series and The Murderbot Diaries series by the queen of science fiction and fantasy, I was over the moon when I heard about Witch King and was extremely lucky to receive an advance copy.

With her compelling storytelling prowess, her staple top notch world building and charismatic character development, Maratha Wells writes an amazing tale in Witch King, of witches, demons, humans, Hierarchs and Expositors. True to her signature style, Wells does not hold the reader’s hand throughout the narrative, and Witch King follows suit. From the very beginning, you are plunged into the story without any contextual preamble, instantly engulfed in a narrative that transitions between the present and the past, imbuing the tale with an alluring layer of mystery and intrigue. Fair warning to the readers! Witch King is no mere light-hearted fantasy novel. It is a work of complexity that demands unwavering attention to every detail in order to fully grasp the expansive and complex story it presents.

One of the main things that stood out to me in Witch King was the concept of how a demon can only be killed in the Above World and if they are killed, they can jump bodies and still retain the power of taking the host’s body to the underworld if needed. This added a rather unique element to an already excellent high fantasy story.

It is no secret that Maratha Wells creates extremely lovable anti-heros so it wasn’t surprising when most of the notable characters in Witch King turned out to be extremely morally grey, including the protagonist Kai. For a life sucking, body jumping demon, Kai is extremely well crafted and managed to steal my heart. I loved how while he appeared to be all fun and games, he could be extremely crafty. The cast of supporting characters were excellent too. I really wish there was more of Ziede and Sanja because I loved both of them very much. The delightful banter between the characters and the evolving bond of friendship, portrayed in both timelines, truly captivated me with its masterful execution. Bashasa, Sanja, Tenes,Tahren, Ramad, and Saadrin, in particular, stood out vividly, leaving a lasting impression. Their personalities shone brilliantly and resonated with me on multiple levels.

In conclusion, Witch King was a fantastic and complex read filled with mystery and intrigue, that absorbed me into the story right from the start. Although the story wrapped up well and can be a stand alone, I would love nothing more if this was turned into a series.

My sincere thanks to Netgally, Macmillan Audio, Tor Books and Martha Wells for providing me this advance copy of Witch King.

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