Sunday, January 12, 2014

Giveaway ~ Witch Fall (Witch Song #3) by Amber Argyle ~ Book Tour ~ 5 star Review ~ First Chapter

Witch Fall by Amber Argyle
(Witch Song #3 (Prequel))

Publication date: October 24th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

All things fall.

Even Witches.

Supreme in their dominion over seasons, storms, and sea, the Witches have forgotten the unmatched destructiveness of mankind. And among the weapons men seek are the magical songs of the Witches.

Lilette is one of the few who see the decadence and decay weakening the Witches. As an outsider amid her own kind, can she help them survive the coming war?

Buy  Links
Book 1, Witch Song, if FREE during the tour. You can get it at Amazon


Amber Argyle is the author of Witch Song and Fairy Queen trilogies. She grew up with three brothers on a cattle ranch in the Rocky Mountains. She spent hours riding horses, roaming the mountains, and playing in her family’s creepy barn. This environment fueled her imagination for writing high fantasy. She has worked as a short order cook, janitor, and staff member in a mental institution. All of which has given her great insight into the human condition and has made for some unique characters. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Physical Education from Utah State University. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and three small children.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Links

I loved this whole series, I read the others first, this last and to me it was best that way, even though this is a prequel, I personally think its best to read Witch Song, then Witch Born, then the novella which is  a prequel to this book, about Lillette as well, that is Witch Rising. I loved them all. I really liked the character in this book, Lillette much better than Brusuanna from Witch Song and Witch Born.

It’s a complete fantasy setting with great world building. I can see it all take shape as if I was seeing it. I was able to visualize the great tree houses the witches lived it. It reminded me of scenes from the Hobbit movies and movies like that. The author has a great collection of pictures at her Pinterest board that you should check out.

I can’t say a lot without really spoiling things for the other books, even though it’s a prequel, but I will say that the character of Lillette was amazing. She is such a strong person, and had such difficult choices to make. She is one of those people you want to hate, so beautiful, and seems to have everything, and is so darn nice, you just can’t help but love them. Yeah, she’s one of those kinds. I felt so bad for the sacrifices she had to make, and the choices she was faced with. Her life was not an easy one at all.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5, it’s a phenomenal read, and know anyone who likes fantasy and witches with absolutely love this series. And what a great cover. I can picture that scene in my head right now. All the covers in the series are amazing, and are what drew me to the series to start with. As usual, is the covers that draw me in to see if I may like the book.
Highly recommended.
I received this book from the author for my honest review.

Chapter 1

Lilette left the island like she came into it, amidst a wave of suffering and death. ~Jolin

Lilette pointed her hands above her head and leapt off the cliffs. Eyes closed, she revealed in the feel of falling. She sliced through the cool water at the base of the waterfall, kicking until she reached the rocky bottom.
There, she paused. Everything looked different down here. The water caught the sharp sunlight, bending it into slanting shafts of turquoise. The figures of the other girls on the bank were wavering and insubstantial—as if they were mere reflections instead of flesh and blood. It was like looking at the outside world through a mirror.
But which side was real and which was the reflection?
Lilette wished she didn’t have to go back. That she could stretch this moment beneath the cool water into forever. But her lungs began to ache for air.
I will escape my fate, she promised herself. It had taken her nearly two weeks to gather enough sleeping herbs to drug Bian’s family. Tonight, two days before her wedding, she would slip the herbs into the evening meal. After everyone was sound asleep, she’d gather her supplies and slip away.
Toes pushing off the rocks, she swam upward and broke the surface, taking a gasping breath.
Pan stood at the rim of the cliffs, her arms folded over her chest. “Come on, Li. The others want to head back soon,” her words had a hard, biting edge that made Lilette inwardly cringe.
Lilette gazed downstream. She had a sudden urge to abandon her plans. Swim away and slip into the jungle, evading Bian and his sons while gathering enough supplies to survive the week long journey at sea. After which she would have to steal a boat. And then it was merely a matter of navigating by starlight.
Simple, really.
“You think he sent us here alone?” Pan said as if guessing her thoughts.
Of course not, Lilette thought bitterly. After her last escape attempt, he’d had her guarded day and night.
“I’ll call for them if I need to,” Pan went on, this time her voice flat.
Lilette hadn’t just lost Salfe that night. She’d lost her only other friend too, for Pan had made it clear she would never forgive Lilette for causing her brother’s banishment.
“Come on,” Pan said. “I need to practice fixing your hair.”
Lilette let the weight of her body pull her under again and swam toward the edge. Pulling herself out, her bare legs flashed pale as her practiced hands and feet found the crevices to haul herself up the cliffs surrounding the pool.
At the top, Pan was waiting for her. “This is how things are for a woman, Li. With Fa dead, the village lord decides who you marry. If you’d just accept it, you could be happy.”
Lilette winced at the mention of Fa’s name. The sun hadn’t even set on the day of her surrogate father’s death before the village lord had announced she would be marrying him. “If you really believe I could be happy with Bian. Then you didn’t know me at all.”
 “He never shouts at my mother or my aunties,” Pan said as if speaking to a small child. “And he plays with his daughters almost as much as his sons.” 
Lilette knew better. She’d been born into a world where women ruled because they were the ones with magic. But that was oceans and a lifetime away from the Harshen islands.
Lilette pushed the rising fury deep into her belly and held it there. In the darkness that had followed her parent’s deaths, Pan had been the one to sit beside her, bringing her pink iridescent shells and combing her hair. Over the years, as Lilette had grown frustrated at her inability to go home to her older sister, Pan had coaxed her out of the hut and down to this very pool.
Lilette had thought she’d locked her heart safely away from attachments. But if that were true, why did Pan’s coldness and Salfe’s banishment hurt so much?
The water had turned Pan’s normally dark frizz into gorgeous curls. Lilette hesitated, then reached out and tugged one, a sad smile gracing her lips as it sprang back up. “We’ll never get to come swimming anymore.”
Pan batted her hand away. “Not everything changes just because you’re a wife.”
“Everything changes.” Lilette gazed into the jeweled tones of the water, hoping to see a different future reflecting back at her.
Pan seemed to soften. “Is it so very bad, marrying my father?”
Lilette’s hands curled into fists. She wasn’t going to marry Bian. By the Creators, she was escaping tonight. She would make it back to her homeland and the sister who was waiting for her. Afraid her eyes might betray her, she avoided Pan’s gaze.
Knowing she’d have a better chance at freedom if Pan dropped her guard, she took a deep breath. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s not so bad.”
Finally giving into the inevitable, Lilette pulled on the tunic and loose trousers Bian had given her. She allowed a very small part of herself to enjoy the finery. The tunic hung mid-calf, with a side slit that went all the way to her upper thigh. She tied the pleated silk sash around her waist and pinned a decorative jade brooch to the front of it.
Unlike her homespun cotton clothes, which had knots and bumps from her hand spindle, this was silk, so soft it was like wearing tensile oil. Both robe and tunic were a rich blue. Lilette hadn’t worn color since she’d washed up on the island eight years ago. She and Fa had never been able to afford dyed cotton—let alone silk.
She’d forgotten what it felt like to wear something that didn’t rub sores under her arms. She ran her hands down the length of her stomach, remembering the closets of fine clothes she’d once had. As always, she forced any memories of her previous life down deep, so deep it was a miracle any of them still surfaced.
She slipped on her new, finely tooled sandals.
Pan’s sigh held and undercurrent of envy. “He was so generous with your brideprice.”
No one seemed to care that Bian was old enough to be Lilette’s father. That he already had three wives and dozens of children . . . Only that he’d showered her with fabulous clothes, brooches, and winking rings—all of which only made his wives hate her. The fact that Lilette didn’t want the gifts or the attention only seemed to make them hate her more. 
Pan looked Lilette up and down. She reached out, stopping just shy of touching the fine silk before withdrawing her hand. “Sit down.”
Lilette sat gingerly on a large rock Pan had draped with palm leaves to protect her clothing and studied the other girls, Pan’s younger sisters. All seven of them were chatting happily as they plaited flowers in each other’s hair. They all looked very much alike with their darker skin, curling black hair, and laughing almond-shaped eyes—very different from Lilette’s golden skin, pale hair, and brilliant turquoise eyes.
Pan’s quick fingers worked rich smelling oils into Lilette’s hair before tugging a little rougher than necessary at the knots with the comb.
“You’re hair is so thin.” Pan complained as she bound Lilette’s hair into complicated rolls and poufs. She placed three white orchids, the symbol of fertility, behind her ear.
Lilette brushed her fingertips along the petals, resisting the urge to rip the flowers from her hair.
Pan’s next younger sister knelt behind Pan and watched them shyly. “Sing for us, Auntie,” she said.
Lilette held back a wince at being called auntie. She studied the cluster of girls who would be her stepdaughters if she failed to escape tonight. She imagined Bian’s dark eyes watching her, possessing her, and she shuddered.
Taking a deep breath, Lilette sang one of Fa’s songs,

Down to the depths of the stream you must pour
Heartache and loneliness, hurt and what’s more
Missed opportunities passing you by
                                   Mistakes and aches, let them fly
Into the stream of forgetting

The world around Lilette stilled—waiting for something more, but she hadn’t sung the words in the Creator’s language—the language of power. She’d buried her knowledge of that language so deep she could only remember one song—and that one only recently.
As last note drifted away, the elements slowly went back to sleep. In the quiet that followed, Lilette fingered the phoenix carved into the decorative comb Salfe had given her. It was the only thing of value she truly owned. The only thing she’d take with her when she escaped.
Pan tugged the comb from her fingers and slipped it into Lilette’s hair. “Not quite straight,” she murmured and shifted it. The comb suddenly jerked out, taking some of Lilette’s hair with it.
Lilette yelped and whirled to look at Pan. At the look on her friend’s face, the words she might have said froze in her throat. She followed Pan’s gaze to see a man watching them from the shadows—probably Quo, one of Pan’s many brothers.
But instead of running away in shame for having been caught watching the women swimming, he slowly rose to his feet. Lilette took a breath to threaten to tell the Lord, but he stepped into the light.
Lilette choked on her words. She didn’t recognize him, which was impossible. She knew everyone on their small island.
“Hello, Lilette.”
Lilette’s mouth came open in a noiseless gasp. He’d spoken in her native tongue—Kalarian. And used her full name. No one had called her that in eight years.
She rose to her feet and took in his dark hair bound in a queue, the fine features and full mouth. But it was the poised way he stood, the leather and bronze studded armor he wore that gave him away. She realized with a start that she did know this man.
Chen had come to kill her. Just as his father had killed her parents. The fear that had long slumbered in Lilette roared to life, and the air seemed thin and wavering. “It can’t be.” She hadn’t realized she’d said the words until they’d left her lips.
“Who are you?” Pan’s voice came out breathy.
Where were Bian’s sons? Lilette was suddenly frightened for them. They would be worse than useless against Chen.
“Quo? Zu? Ji?” Pan called. When they didn’t answer, her face paled and she cleared her throat. “What do you want?”
“He’s come to murder me,” Lilette answered.
His brow furrowed as he turned to her. “Murder you? No. You will become my concubine.”
Lilette narrowed her gaze. “I don’t believe you.”
Pan puffed out her chest in a show of false bravado. “You can’t have her. She’s already taken.”
Lilette rested her hand on Pan’s shoulder in warning.
“Yes,” the man agreed. “Long ago.” He motioned with one hand. Dozens of men eased from the shadows of the jungle, the sharp sunlight of midday revealing leather armor reinforced with bronze studs. They carried two long swords at their waists or across their backs. Some also carried halberds, the blades wicked half moons. The heavily armed men blocked their way back to the village.
Lilette and the others rounded to dive into the pool, but soldiers appeared at the base of the cliff. They were surrounded.
“Quo! Ji! Zu!” Pan cried for her brothers, this time her voice full of fear instead of supplication.
“Are you looking for them?” Chen gestured again and the soldiers brought forth three boys who were almost men. Each of them were bound and gagged, their eyes wide with fright. Quo’s cheek was swollen and his face bloodied.
Chen eyed Lilette up and down. “This isn’t going to be nearly as arduous as I thought.”
Lilette knew firsthand this man’s ruthlessness. If she didn’t do something soon, everyone was going to die. “Let them go.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “Are you giving me an order?”
She swallowed. “If what you say is true—if you really mean to make me your concubine, I’ll come quietly.”
He looked pointedly at the men surrounding them. “You’ll come either way.”
Lilette’s hand snaked out and grabbed Pan’s knife from its sheath. She held the blade to her throat, hoping against hope he’d spoken the truth before and he didn’t mean to kill her.
Some of the cockiness fled Chen’s face. “You won’t use that.”
Lilette pressed down and the tip bit into her skin. Her flesh parted, the metal sliding inside her. Blood dripped down her neck, soaking her beautiful robes.
“Chen!” said one of his soldiers, a man with a scar that stretched from one mangled ear, all the way across his cheek before biting into his nose.
Chen stretched his hand toward her, palm forward, and he spoke to his men, “Let them go. I have no need for them.”
Pan eyes seemed enormous in her pale face. “Li—”
“They’re going to take me anyway,” Lilette whispered. “Just go! Don’t look back.”
Pan took in the soldiers with their swords and spears. In her fist, she still gripped Lilette’s decorative jade comb. Hands shaking, Pan stepped forward and gently slid the comb into place. Her lips beside Lilette’s ear, she whispered, “I’ll send my father and the other men after you.”
“No!” Lilette hissed. But Pan was already herding her sisters toward a gap the soldiers had created, their dispassionate gazes watching them pass.
“The boys too,” Lilette’s voice cracked.
Chen’s gaze darkened and Lilette knew she would pay dearly for their freedom. After a moment, he nodded and Bian’s sons stumbled after their sisters.
Only when they were all on the other side of the soldiers did Pan look back.
“Don’t,” Lilette mouthed.
Pan pushed her sisters forward. “Run!”
A sick horror rose in Lilette’s middle as she realized she would probably never see Pan again. She considered using the blade. It might be a kinder fate than what awaited her. But soldiers were already swarming her. The knife was ripped from her grip by the scarred soldier.
Chen came to stand before her. When he made no move to kill her, she went weak with relief. “Why?” she choked out.
His dark eyes bored into hers. “Because our daughters will have your power.”
Metallic fear coated Lilette’s tongue. When she’d prayed to the Sun Dragon to free her from marrying Bian, she should have been more specific.
“Why not sing?” Chen asked. “You were rumored to have been strong enough.”
She realized he’d been expecting it—testing her even. She refused to meet his gaze. But the thought hadn’t even occurred to her. She scoured her mind for the words of the Creator’s language—the language of power.  But she only ever remembered one song, and it was worthless against these men.
His brows rose. “You’ve forgotten, haven’t you?”
She glared at him, hating the tears of frustration in her eyes.
Chen turned and began marching away. “Form up.”
The soldiers tightened into formation around her, but none moved to touch her. They started marching, forcing Lilette to move with them. She continued to wrack her brain for one more song, any song, but she’d shoved her memories down too deep for too long
The dense canopy blocked out the sun, leaving little light for the growth of underbrush. So when the plants around Lilette started to thicken and the men had to hack at them with their swords, she knew they were close to the edge of the jungle, and at the end of the jungle was the sea.
The hard ground became loose and sandy, before they stepped into the oppressive light and heat. A Zhou was anchored off shore. It was easily five times larger than the largest of the village fishing boats, with three wide sails and dozens of men on deck.
Lilette knew what fate awaited her once she was on board. She tried to dart between two of the soldiers. One caught her, his grip firm as he pushed her into the middle. She whirled and tried again. Another easily caught her and forced her back toward the center.
Emboldened by their carefulness with her, Lilette shot toward the scarred soldier and kicked him with all her strength. She’d hoped he would falter, but he absorbed the impact, which seemed to hurt her far more than it had him. He grasped her about her middle, holding her firmly. She beat against his chest.
The formation halted. While Chen watched carefully, two soldiers caught her wrists and bound them with soft cords. The flowers in her hair had come loose. They swung against her check, their sweet smell nearly making her gag.
Gently, Chen tucked them back into place behind her ear. “If you’re not careful,” he said dispassionately, “you’re going to hurt yourself.”
He backed away from her and resumed his place up front. “We can’t afford any delays,” he said almost apologetically. “Fight any more and we’ll bind your feet and carry you. Understand?”
The wound at her neck had broken back open, spilling blood down her neck and chest and making her tunic cling stickily to her. Dizzy, she nodded. He gave her a small smile. “Good girl.”
He turned toward the scarred soldier. “Get her in the boat.”
The man took her elbow and dragged her down the beach to a small rowboat that had been towed on shore. He easily hefted her inside.
She looked into his eyes and was surprised to see a hint of compassion there. “Please.”Don’t do this to me. Let me go.
His gaze darkened and he turned away. Something whistled through the air and landed with a thud near his feet.
Lilette nearly cried out with joy to see a fishing spear quivering in the ground. She knew the spear had been a warning—the men of her village could easily impale a fish from twenty breadths.
“Phalanx formation!” Chen ordered.
Soldiers who had been climbing inside the boat leapt back out and loped forward, their spears held before them. Men from her village stepped slowly out of the jungle. Bian was among them, as was Quo, his eye now swollen completely shut. The men held fishing spears, long knives strapped to their waists.
The two groups appraised each other. Her villagers outnumbered these men, but even Lilette knew that fisherman against trained soldiers didn’t make for good odds.
Bian took a step forward. His hair was shot through with gray, his skin weathered by the sea, but he still carried himself like a younger man. “Who are you and why have you taken my wife?”
Chen reached into his armor and pulled out a drawstring purse, which he tossed at Bian’s feet. “To compensate you her bride price.”
Slowly, Bian bent and lifted the bulging purse. He opened it and his eyes widened. One of the elders said something and Bian passed the purse over.
Another villager called out. “You cannot buy another man’s wife.”
Chen tipped his head to the side. “She’s not a wife until the marriage is consummated. Until then, the contract may be bought out by another.”
How could Chen possibly know so much about her betrothal?
Bian studied the soldiers surrounding Lilette. “By law, you cannot take her if I do not agree to the exchange.”
Chen lifted his swords. “If you wish to die, come and try to take her then.”
The scarred soldier stepped closer to Chen and said softly, “You slaughter an entire village and there will be consequences, Chen.”
“Remember your place, little brother,” Chen said. “These peasants are no threat to us.”
Brother? Lilette’s gaze shot back to the scarred man, searching for the boy she’d once known. To her utter shock, she found him there, in the eyes that had once been gentle and full of life. Now they were just empty. “Han?” she questioned softly.
He flinched, as if his name on her lips was utterly repulsive. What could have happened to him to turn him into this? He’d once sat beside her for hours, patiently teaching her how to speak Harshen so she wouldn’t be so lonely.
Lilette closed her eyes. She knew who these men were. “Let them take me, Bian. If you don’t, you’ll all be killed.”
Chen took a calming breath and called loudly, “Listen to her, fisherman, for the path you tread is narrow as a blade.”
Bian watched her, regret plain on his face. “You underestimate us, Lilette. I have waited too long to let you go now.”
Chen made a sound low in his throat. “Believe me when I say I have waited longer. I am not here to barter, fisherman. Take the gold and your lives and be gone.”
When Bian hesitated, Han’s voice pierced the quiet, “A widow has no husband.”
Bian stared at her, and she saw that he would not give her up. He threw the purse at Chen’s feet. Lilette gaped at the glittering gold pieces lying in the sand. “No, Bian!” she cried. “They are elite!”
Her words evoked a deadly stillness, for even in her isolated village, the elite were renowned as the highest trained soldiers of the Empire. It was they who guarded the royal family.
One by one, the villagers dropped to their knees, their foreheads pressing into the sand three times as they kowtowed.
“You had only to name yourself heir, and she would have been yours,” Bian said, his voice shaking. Finally, he understood the danger.
Chen cut a glance at his brother. “Now we have no choice. She told them who we are.”
All the fear and tension drained out of Lilette, replaced by a bone numbing horror. Had her revelation sentenced her villagers to death? “No!” she screamed. She lunged for him, determined to stop him somehow.
Han caught her about the middle, his arms locking around her no matter how much she strained. “Chen—it’s murder,” Han said.
“If you cannot stomach it, get her onto the ship,” Chen growled as he drew his swords. He turned his back on him to address the elite, “Make sure none of them escape. If we fail, we risk a war.”
With that, he stalked toward her villagers, most of whom grabbed their discarded weapons and stood their ground, but a few kept themselves prostrate.
“Chen, leave them alone!” she cried.
Han tossed her easily into the boat. She tried to bolt back out, but he blocked her way. “You can’t stop it. You’ll only make it worse for them.”
Listening to her villager’s death cries, the fight drained out of her. “Please,” she wailed as the elite cut through her villagers.
Muscles straining, Han pushed the boat into the water and pulled himself in. Lilette automatically leaned to the other side to keep the craft from capsizing. Belatedly, she realized she should have overturned it.
Chen had reached Bian. He easily sidestepped Bian’s spear thrust and pivoted, his sword biting into flesh. Bian’s eyes widened in surprise. He wavered on his feet. Chen pulled back and struck tip first into Bian’s heart. He fell lifeless to the beach.
Lilette thought of her would-be husband’s wives. All those children—Pan foremost among them, and her heart cried out in anguish.
Quo screamed in outrage and threw his spear. Chen twisted and the spear glanced harmlessly off his reinforced armor. Then he lunged forward, and even from this distance, she could see the fear in Quo’s face, fear as he turned to ran. Chen ran him down and shoved the sword in his back.
Han took her face firmly between the thumb and fingers of his massive hand. She looked into his empty, dark eyes. “Lie in the bottom of the boat and cover your ears.”
Perhaps it was cowardly. Perhaps it was weak. But Lilette did as she was told, pressing her fists into her ears to block out the sound of her villagers dying. 

This tour is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours. You can find the rest of the blogs on this tour, here.


  1. Lovely review, Michelle! I love how vivid the world building seems to be and how amazing Lillette seems to be! So happy you loved it!

  2. Thanks so much for your review! I'm glad you checked out my pinterest board, there's so many awesome images that I've found. And yes, Lilette is definitely one of those people who is so perfect you want to hate them, but you can't because they're also perfectly nice. :)

  3. Thanks for stopping by, and glad you like the review. I loved all the books. I did reviews on them too (not the novella yet, just been busy so didn't get it written yet) As I said in the review, just love the covers, I think covers are just as important as the story, as a majority of the time, if the cover is bad, people wont give the book a 2nd look to even read the blurb. Your covers are what drew me to check out the books for the tour. :) Great job!

  4. I agree, I did feel like I was a part of the world. I really enjoyed the whole series. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Totally agree. It's why I spend so much time, effort, and money on them. :)