The Women’s War by Jenna Glass — ARC Review

The Women's War by Jenna GlassSummary:

In a high fantasy feminist epic, a revolutionary spell gives women the ability to control their own fertility—with consequences that rock their patriarchal society to its core.

When a nobleman’s first duty is to produce a male heir, women are treated like possessions and bargaining chips. But as the aftereffects of a world-altering spell ripple out physically and culturally, women at last have a bargaining chip of their own. And two women in particular find themselves at the crossroads of change.

Alys is the widowed mother of two teenage children, and the disinherited daughter of a king. Her existence has been carefully proscribed, but now she discovers a fierce talent not only for politics but also for magic—once deemed solely the domain of men. Meanwhile, in a neighboring kingdom, young Ellin finds herself unexpectedly on the throne after the sudden death of her grandfather the king and everyone else who stood ahead of her in the line of succession. Conventional wisdom holds that she will marry quickly, then quietly surrender the throne to her new husband…. Only, Ellin has other ideas.

The tensions building in the two kingdoms grow abruptly worse when a caravan of exiled women and their escort of disgraced soldiers stumbles upon a new source of magic in what was once uninhabitable desert. This new and revolutionary magic—which only women can wield—threatens to tear down what is left of the patriarchy. And the men who currently hold power will do anything to fight back.

Review: 5 Stars

I always love a great epic fantasy novel and while The Women’s War looked like it might be intriguing I really didn’t expect much when I picked it up. I am so glad that I gave this one a shot because it really was just incredible. The Women’s War had me captivated from the very beginning and even though it was over 500 pages I didn’t want it to end! I am so invested in this world and all of these characters and I can’t believe that I just happened to stumble upon this book.

The world built in The Women’s War is so cool. The magic system is really unique and spells and potions are almost like chemistry experiments. Potions are made out of elements that can only be seen when someone’s mindseye is open. It feels a lot like science and requires some experimenting. The world is very complex and the story spans several different kingdoms all with their own complex politics. This book is full of political intrigue and there are several plot lines and points of view. The world is built slowly throughout the course of the novel so that the reader is never overwhelmed with information. It all comes together to make a world that feels incredibly real and one that I found myself wholly absorbed in.

The story is told in multiple places from multiple points of view and there are several plot lines. In a book of this scale you might think that you would lose track of who is who, but all of the characters are developed well and fully fleshed out. I grew really attached to all of the characters that it’s hard to choose a favorite. I loved watching Ellin grow throughout the novel the most though. Each one of the women were inspiring and courageous in their fights for justice and freedom in a world where women are second class citizens.

The plot was incredibly well crafted and was quite the emotional roller-coaster. I always worry when picking up a political fantasy that I might get bored, but all of the issues were so intriguing. It’s like reading the political issues that a women’s rights crusade causes and it was incredibly compelling to read. In books with multiple plot lines I typically enjoy one plot line more than the others, but that wasn’t the case with The Women’s War. Each plot line was so intriguing that I was never bored and they all came together for a phenomenal ending. 

I have been addicted to this story and I’m so glad that the sequel is already published so that I can pick it up right away. I’m so happy that I stumbled upon this epic fantasy novel about a world where women fight against injustice and for freedom. If you’re looking for an epic fantasy novel that will completely absorb you and has a really unique magic system then I highly recommend you check out The Women’s War.

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