Covenant’s End: Widdershins discovers that you can’t go home again

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsCovenant’s End by Ari Marmell YA science fiction book reviewsCovenant’s End by Ari Marmell

Thieves seem to be “in” this decade, and Ari Marmell’s Widdershins, from the COVENANT series, is one of the most popular in YA. In Covenant’s End, Widdershins returns to her home city, only to discover that there have been drastic changes while she has been away. Some are huge and affect the entire city. Some are personal, shifting the fault lines in Shins’ heart.

Shins carries a tiny god, Olgun, in her head. Olgun provides insight, but he can also boost Shins’s strength and power a bit, and provide small miracles. When the duo return to their home city of Davillon, they discover that she might not be the only one who has this kind of arrangement. Shins is up against her old rival Lisette, and Lisette has grown frighteningly powerful. To survive, and defeat Lisette, Widdershins will need the help of friends she abandoned, and even old enemies.

Marmell brings back characters from the earlier books. The action in Covenant’s End is close to non-stop, and there are a couple of places where I wondered if Widdershins would survive. Olgun’s survival is at stake as well, and he has his own story here. It’s an interesting one.

The banter between Olgun and Widdershins is always funny if predictable, and if it did go on a bit too long in this book, I still enjoyed it. I also enjoyed Widdershins’s strategy to avoid swearing, saying “Oh… figs!” during a tense moment.

Widdershins has to face people she left behind, and not all of them are quick to forgive her. This adds a layer of depth to what is, despite all the dead bodies and darkness, a fairly light read. I appreciate the emotional honesty here, as Shins suddenly realizes how little she understood, or paid attention to, in her previous life. Marmell succeeds in creating a political and religious background which is intricate enough to support the story without overwhelming it.

By the finale of Covenant’s End, Widdershins has made peace with her past. She has lost many things, but she is still a fighter. The book is fast-paced with a plot that is just complicated enough. I have read the last two in this series, and now I need to go back to the beginning. This is a fun premise with an engaging pair of characters.

Widdershins Adventures — (2012-2015) Young adult. Publisher: Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces — human and other — stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder. Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it’s hers. But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her — but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first.

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Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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  1. susan emans /

    I am looking forward to Covenant’s End. I have the other books from my library, and I am waiting for my library to get End so that I can read them all again.

  2. Yeah, I’m going to read this, too. It sounds fun.

  3. It is fun, and emotionally engaging.

  4. Arcanist Lupus /

    I will miss Widdershins’ particular brand of peculiar logic and creative use of metaphor.

    I am disappointed that the Gloaming Court wasn’t as sharply horrifying as Irouch was. But with Lisette as the primary villain, and multiple Fae to deal with, I understand why it could not be. Marmell did a good job with the screen time that they got, but I wish that they could have gotten more screen time.

    • I agree about the Gloaming Court, but you can’t have everything, and it is, at 270 pages, a pretty short book.

      • susan emans /

        I find it amusing that books are now considered “short” if they are under 300 pages. Many of Andre Norton’s and Patricia McKillip’s books were much less than 300 pages.

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