Critics are raving about Laurie Forests incredible debut, The Black Witch:
"Elloren learns to question authority and Gardnerian history, while developing real empathy for different races and species. Forest uses a richly imagined magical world to offer an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice." —Booklist, starred review
"Exquisite character work, an elaborate mythology, and a spectacularly rendered universe make this a noteworthy debut, which argues passionately against fascism and xenophobia." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This briskly paced, tightly plotted novel enacts the transformative power of education, creating engaging characters set in a rich alternative universe with a complicated history that can help us better understand our own." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.
Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.
When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother's legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.
As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she's been taught to hate and fear.
In this intoxicating tale of rebellion and star-crossed romance, 17-year-old Elloren Gardner enrolls at Verpax University to study healing. Elloren's grandmother Carnissa was a powerful Mage known as the Black Witch, who led Gardneria to victory in the Realm War. Some think Elloren will fulfill a legendary prophecy and follow in Carnissa's footsteps, but though Elloren resembles the Black Witch, she possesses no magic. Still, Elloren is hated by those on campus whose people Carnissa helped subjugate. Out of loneliness, Elloren befriends Verpax's other outcasts, many of whom belong to races she's been taught to fear or disdain. She begins to question everything she knows about Gardneria's history and culture, and realizes that there's good reason for the growing opposition to her country's new government. Exquisite character work, an elaborate mythology, and a spectacularly rendered universe make this a noteworthy debut, which argues passionately against fascism and xenophobia. Though the worldbuilding is initially dense, the pace and stakes increase exponentially, and the thrilling conclusion will leave readers eager for the next book in this series. Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A great book with a varied and interesting cast of characters. Read the whole thing in one sitting, I was so enthralled.
I will say I do think its funny that the main character will go on and on about every woman she cones across, painstakingly detailing their beauty, and describes most men as same and boring, while being aghast at the thought of her being attracted to women. I was unsure myself for much of the novel of where she landed, haha!
Unlikely heroes, truly horrible villains
Interesting concepts and characters, deals with uncomfortable issues. Well written and worth a read. Looking forward to finding out what becomes of the unlikely heroes and truly awful villains in the sequels.
My number one complaint is the stupidity of the main character Elloren. Yeah I get that she’s from a small town, but’s she almost 18. She’s written like an immature 12 yr old. Life happens even in small towns. It makes absolutely no sense that this chick is 17 and she’s so stupid. She cries for half the book, she speaks and thinks like a child; it’s like reading about an infant going to college. I think that this book would have been great as a book for 12 yr olds. Anybody over the age of 14 is gonna have a hard time relating to the story.