Review: A Wilted Willow

I usually do not do reviews on this blog, but I was invited by Julia Witmer to be a part of her A Wilted Willow Blog Tour, and am pleased to accept. Here is her website: Julia Witmer, Author


A Wilted Willow: A Land Lost, but Not Forgotten (Revised & Updated Edition)

A Wilted Willow: A Land Lost But Not Forgotten, Fantasy Novel, Julia Witmer

Author: Julia Witmer

Genre: Fantasy



Rating: ★★★★☆ (Not that I’m much of a person for ratings; I prefer to simply say what caught my attention, since not everyone enjoys the same things!)



The character development in A Wilted Willow is good. The characters have distinct personalities, and they act in accord with their personalities; their reactions change in response to their circumstances and experiences, but not in a way that contradicts who they are to begin with, but rather is a development out of that. The plot is simple and direct. It is at the opposite end of the ‘reluctant hero’ trope, and a somewhat odd twist on the ‘chosen one’ trope. Cadmus is often somewhat reluctant, but Mira is anything but reluctant, and if she is chosen, she actively, freely chooses just as strongly. I’ve never before read a novel in which the protagonist is so eager to jump into her adventure, eyes open, before she even knows what is going on, and while experiences and circumstances sometimes get to her, she keeps that eagerness that embraces her adventure, her calling, that runs to and even chooses it for herself. At the same time, her personality is far more adventurous than heroic – or, at least, so it seems to me – but then she finds herself motivated by something that can sustain where even the most adventurous heart might turn back – love, and not primarily romantic love, but love of people for being people and a world for being that world.

There are some parts in A Wilted Willow that I found heart-breakingly sad. I usually don’t mind a fair amount of death and darkness, but for some reason I found this one sadder than usual.

[SPOILER] Something that really caught my attention was how the author handled it when Cadmus’ pet-friend, Ollie, dies. Cadmus is heart-broken over his pet, and he feels bad that he feels so much more strongly over the death of his pet than over the threat to his country, so much so that now he really wants to kill Adelram (that’s the villain), when the threat to his country did not make him feel that way. Julia Witmer does not, however, suggest that Cadmus’ care for Ollie is mis-placed or wrong, but that it is natural and acceptable. [End SPOILER]


Dec 2nd:
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Dec 8th:
The Gifts of Faeri, Fantasy, Dragons, Novella, Aneri, Return of the Dragonriders, Raina Nightingale, Fiction, Short Fiction, Young Adult

What’s Next in Areaer: Cover Reveal, Blog Tour Invite, and More


Today, DragonSword, the conclusion to the Return of the Dragonriders Trilogy (previously DragonBirth and DragonWing) is available! However, while DragonSword is the conclusion to the Return of the Dragonriders Trilogy, it is not the last you will hear of Areaer! Therefore, in addition to announcing the release of DragonSword today, and giving you links to everything concerning it, I will be showing you the cover for The Gifts of Faeri (a standalone novella, free in digital format, and prequel to the Return of the Dragonriders) and telling you about the next series set in Areaer: the Legend of the Singer Duology.

First for Dragonsword:

Dragonsword, conclusion to Return of the Dragonriders Trilogy, Areaer, by Raina Nightingale, high fantasy dragon fictionWhen the Obsidian Guardian rises and the Dragon-sword shines again, so will hope to defeat the Nightmare…

Dragonrider Noren has narrowly escaped being burned at the stake. Reunited at last, he and Silmavalien flee northwards. Joined by Onyxalis, a black dragon who believes himself to be the destined Avenger of the Dragons, they must battle their way through the hordes of the Nightmare Lord to the Volcano of Ellen Island. There Onyxalis may receive the power he needs as the Obsidian Guardian, and there the re-forging of the Dragon-sword will be begun.

With the Gift of the Volcano, they will finally have the power to fight the battle before them and even the mightiest of the Nightmare Legion.

Ebook price in USD: 2.99. Paperback price in USD: 9.99

Barnes and Noble


Find everything having to do with the Return of the Dragonriders Trilogy and Areaer, including poems and excerpts for all three books at my Novels page, here.

Now, for the Cover Reveal!

The Gifts of Faeri, standalone novella, Areaer, Raina Nightingale, prequel to Return of the Dragonriders, fantasy

Descrption: Faeri has something no one else does: the ability to sing power into objects and direct that power to her will. For more than two decades she and the obsidian dragon paired with her, Chrysanthemum, have been traveling Aneri, using her song to give gifts to everyone they come across that will make their lives easier. But then the fabled enemy in the stories, the Nightmare, shows its hand, trying to taint Faeri’s gifts and make them a snare to the souls of those who keep them.

Just when Faeri is convinced that her song is worse than useless, and she needs to stop using it, a conflict with nightmare creatures reveals Chrysanthemum’s fire as a bane to the Nightmare. . .

For any of you who have read DragonBirth, you will be familiar with the Tale of Faeri. This is, of course, the true story.

If any of you are interested in the Blog Tour associated with its release, on January 27nth 2021, here is the link to see what I will be doing and sign up if you want:

Blog Tour Signup for The Gifts of Faeri

And now, last but not least, is the time to introduce you to the next series in Areaer, the Legend of the Singer! This one is a Duology, consisting of Children of the Dryads and Sorceress of the Dryads, and taking place several hundred years later, on the continent of Ellenesia. (See more here.)

Children of the Dryads

Description: When her human father, Eldor, a member of an organization of elite warriors dedicated to protecting the Valor Alliance, is called on a mission she does not think he can survive, Tara-lin violates his orders and follows him…

She is a half-elf, born with the long-lost ancestral magic of the elves. With her is Alis, a human girl desperate to avoid a marriage forced on her by her father, a colleague of Eldor, but terrified that gods Tara-lin does not believe exist will cast her into the netherhells for her disobedience. Ahead of them is Eldor’s terrifying destination – Nightshade Castle, haunt of madness and black magic.