________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 35. . . May 19, 2017


Julia Defiant. (The Witch’s Child, Bk. 2).

Catherine Egan.
Toronto, ON: Penguin Teen, 2017.
439 pp., hardcover, $21.99.
ISBN 978-0-385-68468-2.

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Tara Stieglitz.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


I open my eyes and am vaguely surprised that I have eyes to open. I am sprawled numbly at the center of everything that has ever happened to me, all of it spread out to be examined by this witch’s nimble fingers—except that last one, which is not my memory at all but someone else’s, somewhere I’ve never been or dreamed of. The witch is squatting on my chest and I can hardly breathe. Her tattooed hands work through the threads around me and all over me—or are those ribbons, or what are they?

Then I remember the thought that eluded me before: I can disappear.


Julia Defiant is the sequel to Julia Vanishes, and it is the second book in Catherine Egan’s “Witch’s Child” series. When this novel opens, Julia and her assorted companions, including her brother, her ex lover, an immortal being, some failed revolutionaries, and a witch, have left their home country of Frayne and taken a treacherous journey to the distant city of Tianshi, in Yongguo. Here, they hope to find a sorcerer who can reverse a dangerous magic done to a small boy. While Julia uses her mysterious ability to vanish to explore the city and try to locate the sorcerer, she also discovers a secret that may help reignite the revolution in Frayne that, 18 years ago, failed to topple a regime that persecutes and drowns witches, including Julia’s mother. Over the course of the novel, Julia also learns more about her ability to vanish and even to completely transport herself to a hellish shadow version of the real world.

     Julia Defiant stands out from other young adult fantasy novels with its original plot and setting, and nuanced and conflicted characters. The geopolitical machinations of the kings, immortals and witches in the novel are interesting and fresh. The tone of the novel is somewhat dark, with lots of betrayals and characters that make uncertain allies for Julia. Julia Defiant does not stand alone; a reader reading it without first reading Julia Vanishes would find it confusing and filled with extraneous characters. The author assumes the reader has a fair deal of prior knowledge. With the caveat that interested readers should start with Julia Vanishes first, Julia Defiant is highly recommended.

Highly Recommended.

Tara Stieglitz is a librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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