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Wishes get an adventurous, magical treatment in Wishtress by Nadine Brandes.

In a monarchy in turmoil, conflicted characters from all walks of life travel to two wells, the Well of Talents and The Nightwell, in hopes of controlling their fates with unknown powers. However, the wells’ waters provide very different favors, and as the author illustrates immediately, even benevolent Talents can become burdens if not wielded with intention.

Myrthe, born as the most esteemed of the Talented, is starved of information regarding her gift and forced to serve others from the moment it manifests. Bastiaan, on the other hand, spends the years provided by his Talent studying Talents and the Well; his reverent quest for knowledge puts him in danger of forgetting their higher meaning.

Opposing purposes, clashing personalities, and dangers posed by old friends and a zealous, vengeful king beset Myrthe and Bastiaan’s journey to the Well of Talents. The difference between good and evil is nuanced, with some using their Talents for nefarious ends and others seeing the Nightwell’s Banes as useful tools. Assumptions and pride become as dangerous as raw power. Myrthe freezes her heart for self-preservation but finds understanding worth dying for.

Wishtress creates a world of magic to explore very human themes. Concepts like poverty, death, and sexual assault are handled honestly and with care. With her realistic characters, lush scenery, and fantastical elements, Brandes has created a tale that ranges from thrilling to introspective. Myrthe and Bastiaan’s journey is one you will not want to leave.

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Author Nadine Brandes
Star Count 5/5
Page Count 464 pages
Publisher Thomas Nelson
Publish Date September 13, 2022
ISBN 9780785264002
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Category Young Adult