A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez
Published by Tor/Forge on May 1, 2007
Genres: Comedy, Comedy, Fantasy, Humor
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A tale of vengeance, true love, and cannibalism.
Being born undead can have its disadvantages, such as eternal youth and flawless beauty; things most unsuitable for a witch. Hiding behind the guise of a grimy old crone, the witch is content living outside Fort Stalwart with her unlikely band of allies: a troll named Gwurm, an enchanted broom, and a demonic duck named Newt. She leads a simple life filled with spells, potions, and the occasional curse.
So when a White Knight arrives at Fort Stalwart, the witch knows her days of peace are at an end. The Knight is just days in front of a horde of ravenous goblings, and Fort Stalwart lies right in the horde's path. But the goblings are just the first wave of danger, and soon the witch and the Knight must combine forces on a perilous quest to stop a mad sorcerer from destroying the world.
Filled with menace, monsters, and magic, A Nameless Witch is a properly witchly read by the award-winning author of Gil's All Fright Diner and In the Company of Ogres.
I found A Nameless Witch to be…cute. I liked the MC and I enjoyed the story but it did not pull me in or get me emotionally invested. I enjoyed the way the story turned some tropes upside down – especially the “witchly” tropes. The MC is an accursed witch…so she is undead, breathtakingly beautiful, ageless, basically indestructible and almost immortal. She also eats raw red meat, has a forked tongue, has a demon duck for a familiar, a sentient broom named Penelope and a thoughtful, intelligent troll. I loved the “witchly” things she did – like pretending to be ugly and saying cryptic things just because she was a witch. That was hilarious.
I also enjoyed the White Knight – and the Nameless Witch’s corruption of him. I enjoyed the fact that almost all tropes were turned on their heads, including the White Knight. The White Knight, Wyst, is a dark-skinned black man who has “ears bigger than is attractive” but is still incredibly handsome. Some men are like that. Wyst reminded me of college. There was a guy there who was decidedly not cute. But MAN! was he sexy. So sexy. Tongue-tyingly sexy.
There is a lot to commend in A Nameless Witch. But in the end, while I found the story cute and fun, it had low stakes, little emotional connection (for me), and ends in a rather wistfully sad way.