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The Black Witch

Review

The Black Witch

In her little town of Halfix, Elloren Gardner hardly ever has anything to worry about. Her quiet, uneventful life with her uncle and two brothers continues day in and day out accompanied by dreams of University and apothecary studies. She knows she doesn’t have the power that her grandmother the Black Witch had, even if she does look exactly like her. In fact, she has no power at all except an odd way of identifying the origins of wood. She knows she is a little odd and not quite the social butterfly her powerful ancestry called for --- actually, despite her important family heritage and powerful relatives, nothing really ever happens to Elloren.

"THE BLACK WITCH is a captivating and stimulating fantasy novel with a whole world of excitement and danger. I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in this world of magic and intrigue."

That is, until her infamous and powerful aunt comes one day to collect her from her house and take her to the city. Aunt Vyvian would love nothing more than to have her only niece fill her shoes on the Mage council and become wandfasted to a respectable young man of a powerful family. Despite her aunt's wishes, Elloren cannot think of anything more frightening than being wandfasted to someone she barley knows and forced into a relationship for the rest of her life. Her uncle, knowing this, insists that Elloren wait to be wandfasted until she has completed her studies at university and become an apothecary. Relieved and overjoyed, Elloren can now spend time with her aunt in peace knowing she will be off to university in just a few weeks.

Just before she leaves her home, however, Elloren is caught by her neighbor who has been missing for months. She is frightened and injured but won't accept help from Elloren. All she asks is for Elloren to take the White Wand and keep it from the Gardnerians. Elloren is startled by the encounter but continues on with her life, excited about the journey with her aunt to the city. But life in the city of Valgard is not as romantic as Elloren expected. At every turn there is politicking, scheming and a dark undertone of racial prejudice. Amidst all the talk of evil Icarals and Kelts and Lupines, Elloren can't help but remember the strange encounter she had just before leaving home and how it might all be connected. Not to mention the mix of students at University make it increasingly difficult for Elloren to know who to trust and who to fear.

THE BLACK WITCH is a captivating and stimulating fantasy novel with a whole world of excitement and danger. I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in this world of magic and intrigue. World building is typically difficult and leaves me with a lot of questions and loose ends but Forest does a fantastic job of making her world both magical and fun while also making it realistic inside of the world. The characters leap off the page and more importantly pull the reader into the story with them. The world of the Gardnerians is now implanted in my head and the imagery from the book has made it one of my favorite stories that I have read in a long time.

Reviewed by Lauren H., Teen Board Member on May 24, 2017

The Black Witch
by Laurie Forest