The Year of the Witching

Alexis Henderson

fiction Fantasy Horror
challenging dark mysterious medium-paced

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A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

What the community thinks

summary of 327 ratings (see reviews)

Content warnings

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Blood (9 reviewers), Death (6 reviewers), Animal death (5 reviewers), Misogyny (5 reviewers), Religious bigotry (5 reviewers), Animal cruelty (4 reviewers), Sexism (4 reviewers), Body horror (3 reviewers), Gore (3 reviewers), Pedophilia (3 reviewers), Adult/minor relationship (2 reviewers), Racism (2 reviewers), Violence (2 reviewers), Child death (1 reviewer), Confinement (1 reviewer), Emotional abuse (1 reviewer), Physical abuse (1 reviewer), Self harm (1 reviewer), and Medical content (1 reviewer)


Adult/minor relationship (5 reviewers), Body horror (4 reviewers), Racism (4 reviewers), Rape (4 reviewers), Blood (4 reviewers), Emotional abuse (3 reviewers), Misogyny (3 reviewers), Pedophilia (3 reviewers), Physical abuse (3 reviewers), Self harm (3 reviewers), Sexism (3 reviewers), Animal death (2 reviewers), Confinement (2 reviewers), Death (2 reviewers), Gore (2 reviewers), Sexual violence (2 reviewers), Torture (2 reviewers), Toxic relationship (2 reviewers), Religious bigotry (2 reviewers), Child abuse (1 reviewer), Child death (1 reviewer), Mental illness (1 reviewer), Miscarriage (1 reviewer), Sexual assault (1 reviewer), Terminal illness (1 reviewer), Violence (1 reviewer), Medical content (1 reviewer), and Grief (1 reviewer)


Pedophilia (6 reviewers), Sexual assault (4 reviewers), Adult/minor relationship (3 reviewers), Domestic abuse (3 reviewers), Rape (2 reviewers), Vomit (2 reviewers), Child abuse (1 reviewer), Infidelity (1 reviewer), Racism (1 reviewer), Sexual violence (1 reviewer), Torture (1 reviewer), Violence (1 reviewer), and Xenophobia (1 reviewer)


dark 98%
tense 62%
mysterious 58%
adventurous 38%
emotional 35%
challenging 18%
reflective 13%
sad 12%
hopeful 9%
inspiring 5%


medium 68%
fast 21%
slow 10%

Strong character development?

Yes: 76% | It's complicated: 12% | No: 11%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 48% | It's complicated: 39% | No: 12%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 85% | It's complicated: 9% | No: 4% | N/A: 0%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 66% | It's complicated: 18% | No: 12% | N/A: 2%

Average rating


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