Book Reviews

Book Review: Wishtress

by Nadine Brandes

publisher’s synopsis

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. 

Another beautiful story from Nadine Brandes, one that won’t leave me soon.

Wishtress is more of a character-driven story, rather than a plot-driven story. It focuses more on the characters and their internal plot, rather than the external plot. But don’t think that means there aren’t any scenes full of action, or that the story drags!

So, the pacing might seem slow to some readers, but it really just lets you get to know the characters deeply and see their struggles and pain. I’m just going to say it: Nadine isn’t the nicest to her characters. But that leads to a beautiful story, and themes of forgiveness and healing. Honestly, all of the various themes Nadine wove into the story were excellent.

But back to the characters. They were fantastic. Myrthe is a character that you just want to hug. Baastian got my interest from the very start. And Runt. Oh my. I love Runt. While he didn’t steal the show, I think he could have if he tried. His remarks and comebacks almost had me laughing out loud (which is very rare for me). I loved the sibling relationship between him and Baastian. And the side characters had me either loving or loathing them, depending on who they were.

I also loved the couple of mother-child moments. Nadine’s heart for motherhood is clear in them, and I loved seeing the relationship between Baastian and his mom, and some other characters I won’t name—no spoilers! Positive parent-child relationships in books, especially YA, always make me happy.

Wishtress takes place in a fictitious kingdom that reminded me of the Netherlands, which was super cool. I’d love to get to explore Fairhoven and Winterune more. The magic system was also great–I love all of Nadine’s magic systems.

I didn’t binge-read Wishtress, but I did read it a little faster than I do most books. So I’m looking forward to sitting down with my hardcopy come September, and just savoring and soaking in Wishtress once more. I’m fairly certain that there will be things I’ll pick up on during a reread that I didn’t notice before.

Thinking back over Wishtress, I wish I had a little bit more of everything. But I think that’s because I’m not quite ready to leave this story behind. I want to spend more time with Myrthe, Baastian, Anouk, and Runt. And with that ending… while it does work perfectly fine for a standalone, let’s just say I won’t complain if Nadine ever decides to write a sequel. 😉

Cautions: moderate/heavy violence; brief, non-descriptive mention of a character being trafficked in the past, and a resulting pregnancy; light/moderate romance; three kisses

*Wishtress releases September 13, 2022, and you can preorder it now! I received an ARC from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.*

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