REVIEW | The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt #2) by Mary Watson




Released: 30TH MAY 2019 by BLOOMSBURY YA


TWs: Death, talk of divorce, talk of adultery, parental separation, abuse, torture – physical and mental.

Zara’s family moved to Kilshamble for a new beginning. But everything changed the night her sister was found dead on the village green.

Two months later, Laila’s death is a riddle that nobody wants solved. Where were her injuries? Why was she so obsessed with local folklore? And what does all this have to do with David, the boy who lives at the big house?

As Zara delves deeper into her sister’s secret life, she becomes entangled in an ancient magical feud. All too unwittingly she is treading the same dangerous path that led Laila to the village green.

I HAVE BEEN AWAITING THIS SINCE I FINISHED READING THE WREN HUNT LAST YEAR!! Set not long after the close of The Wren Hunt, we find a new family has moved to Kilshamble and one of them has stumbled upon a deadly secret. I love everything that is fantasy and set in Ireland, so it was no surprise that I loved this as much as I did. It was equal parts mystical, dark, and beautiful. Chock full of Irish mysticism with a little South African detail!! I highly enjoyed that Mary Watson utilised her own background to develop the main family in this story.

I adored Mary Watson’s writing style in The Wren Hunt and she did not let us down in The Wickerlight! Her ability to invoke such immediacy for the reader has only improved from The Wren Hunt to now. As I started reading, I was completely lost in the world of judges and augurs once again. The world building and character development is (…out of this world? 🤣) unreal – so freaking good! Mary Watson is a writing ninja and I love her!!

I found The Wickerlight to be slightly more interesting only because we get more into the judges and their community, rather than only focusing on the augurs. It nearly felt like the augurs were the villains in this story, but truly villainy nearly always depends on the narrator, doesn’t it? We readers really get a lot more information about the feud, etc. in this companion. Plus, the mystery of the introductory death adds a bit of excitement and enigma to this world that wasn’t quite there in The Wren Hunt.

I highly recommend you pick this beautiful story up with some gin spritzes and read it as soon as you can! Read The Wren Hunt first, though! They’re connected, even if The Wickerlight isn’t a direct sequel. You’ll love Kilshamble and its inhabitants.

Thank you to Bloomsbury UK for this review copy.

five stars

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson (ARC review)


TITLE: The Wren Hunt

AUTHOR: Mary Watson

RELEASES: 6th November 2018 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

GENRE: Teens + YA Fantasy

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

Beneath the oak my loves does lie.

A sword through his heart, an arrow in his eye.

Blood in his mouth, blood on my hands

So, I recently saw Mary Watson at a convention and then got tonchat to her while she signed my book! She’s lovely and so kind. (Fun fact: I messaged and had a whole converstaion with her regarding Irish word usage – love that she’s an expat like me!)

The atmosphere in The Wren Hunt was amazing! Ireland has a rich culture of storytelling and the supernatural. In this story, we get a lot of both! Wren leads a sort of double life – her home life as an augur, and her life in public in which she tries to act as normal as possible so the judges whom she lives among don’t realise what she is. The tension that goes along with her subterfuge really drew me into the story.

So, like the idiot girl in the movies, the one who ends up hacked to bits, I ran into the woods.

The opening scene is thrilling. The wren hunt is both literal and figurative in this novel. While Wren is being chased through the village, she tries to rationalise the terror of their behaviour toward her even though something a bit supernatural comes over them. It is quite terrifying to imagine what could happen if they catch her, as it becomes very dark – there’s almost an air of murder to the chapter..

The wran, the wran, the king of all birds…

The tradition of the hunt is mainly based in Celtic culture and held on St. Stephen’s Day (aka Boxing Day or 26th December), also seemingly influenced by both Norse and Christianity to become what it is today. I’ve never heard of it prior to reading this novel, but it’s still celebrated in the Isle of Man and western Ireland. I would kind of love to witness this someday..

I was about to attempt a coherent sentence when from behind me the whistling started.

One of my favourite things in the novel is the wickering, which is sort of like spelling someone with sounds. The entire novel is dark and thrilling – there’s a bit of mystery, some danger (of course), a little romance, and a lot of Celtic influence. It’s magical and I love it!

Thank you so much to Bloomsbury for providing me with a proof copy. All quotes are taken from an ARC and may not match the final release.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 22.50.21