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The Black Witch
Cover of The Black Witch
The Black Witch
The Black Witch Chronicles Series, Book 1
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The New York Times bestselling series!"Maximum suspense, unusual magic—a whole new, thrilling approach to fantasy!"—Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling authorPowerful magic. A...
The New York Times bestselling series!"Maximum suspense, unusual magic—a whole new, thrilling approach to fantasy!"—Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling authorPowerful magic. A...
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  • The New York Times bestselling series!
    "Maximum suspense, unusual magic—a whole new, thrilling approach to fantasy!"
    —Tamora Pierce
    , #1 New York Times bestselling author
    Powerful magic. A deadly legacy. A world at the edge of war. Prepare to be spellbound by The Black Witch.
    Elloren Gardner is the spitting image of her grandmother, who drove back the enemy forces in the last Realm War. But while her people believe she will follow in her grandmother's footsteps and become the next Black Witch of prophecy, Elloren is devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.
    When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at Verpax University. But she soon realizes that the university may be the most treacherous place of all for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.
    As evil looms and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, Elloren's best hope of survival may be among a secret band of rebels...if only she can find the courage to trust those she's been taught to fear.
    Critics are raving about Laurie Forest's incredible debut, The Black Witch:
    "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
    "Briskly paced, tightly plotted...set in a rich alternative universe with a complicated history that can help us better understand our own."
    —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
    Books in The Black Witch Chronicles:
    The Black Witch
    The Iron Flower
    The Shadow Wand
    The Demon Tide
    Wandfasted (ebook novella)*
    Light Mage (ebook novella)*
    * Also available in print in The Rebel Mages anthology

About the Author-

  • Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont, where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. She is the author of The Black Witch Chronicles, including The Black Witch, The Iron Flower, The Shadow Wand and the prequel e-novellas Wandfasted and Light Mage, which are also available in print as The Rebel Mages anthology. Enter her realm online at www.laurieannforest.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 20, 2017
    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. Agent: Carrie Hannigan, Hannigan Salky Getzler.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 1, 2017
    Transported from her sheltered village life to join the diverse, magical student body at Verpax University, Elloren Gardner's comfortable sense of history is challenged by living and learning alongside Elves, shape-shifting Lupines, and even feared, demonic Icarals.In Gardneria, mages rule the land, brought to power by Elloren's illustrious forebears, including Elloren's magically powerful grandmother, The Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back enemy forces in the Realm War; however, a Gardnerian Seer predicts a new Black Witch will rise to battle a Great Winged One. Yet although she's the spitting image of Carnissa, with the black hair, glimmering skin, and green eyes characteristic of pure-blooded Gardnerians, Elloren appears devoid of magical powers in a society that prizes them. Pressured by her politically powerful aunt Vyvian to be wandfasted to attractive Level Five Mage Lukas Grey, Elloren draws the ire of his jealous, would-be suitor Fallon Bane--another Level Five Mage rumored to be the next Black Witch. At Verpax, Elloren must room with two Icarels and work alongside rainbow-hued Urisks and Kelts whose "blood is polluted" with other races'. But as Elloren slowly befriends her strange set of schoolmates (Lupine twins Diana and Jarod, Icaral roommate Ariel, and attractive and mysterious Kelt Yvan) she's challenged to confront her own prejudices. At book's end, Yvan, Elloren, and the mysterious white wand she possesses brim with potential power. In Elloren's tale, 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. A massive page-turner that leaves readers longing for more. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2017

    Gr 8 Up-It is one thing to be the granddaughter of Carnissa Gardner, the legendary Black Witch, but it's another to be the spitting image of her. Elloren Gardner discovers this from the moment she is uprooted from her uncle's secluded house and enrolled at Verpax University, which is rumored to be "racially integrated," to Elloren's great shock (Elloren shares her aunt's opinion that the integration is "misguided"). While outwardly resembling a bildungsroman, albeit a fantasy one, this novel features a protagonist who remains naive for far too long and, unfortunately, is painfully slow to confront the racist attitudes that she has inherited and that are essential to Gardnerian dominance. By the book's end, readers will wonder if she has learned anything at all. Teens will have to get through hundreds of pages of stereotypical characterizations of marginalized groups (non-Gardnerians are hateful and ultraviolent, their blood is "polluted," they mate like animals, the non-Gardnerian women are trying to steal Gardnerian men, etc.) before Elloren begins to recognize that maybe Gardnerians are the bad guys in her realm. Although unlearning prejudices is a timely theme in YA, Forest handles this issue clumsily. In a particularly rough, tone-deaf scene, mean girl Fallon berates Effrey, a purple-skinned enslaved Urisk girl. Elloren eventually comes to the rescue, and Sparrow, another enslaved girl, approves of her actions with a smile-just one of the many white savior-like moments throughout. The world-building also leaves a lot to be desired: the Gardnerian creation story is an almost verbatim retelling of Genesis, and there are sporadic, vague mentions of martial arts and elemental spirits in this otherwise "Harry Potter" meets Tolkien universe. VERDICT Poor writing and character development contribute to an overall uneven handling of race and racism in a fantasy setting.-Della Farrell, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books Selene Kallan - The Black Witch is going straight to my I-will-never-get-tired-of-reading shelve. Is the kind of book that makes you feel every emotion, anxiously go through the pages, wishing it never ends, and think about it when you go to sleep. I could write a detailed and full of spoilers review, but I don't want you to miss the opportunity to experience it all by yourself. The worldbuilding is magnificent, perfectly described along the chapters without dragging the story down. The descriptions of the places and the people are so vivid you can see everything, which is perfect because you don't wanna miss one bit of this magical new world. Elloren is a 17 year old Gardnerian, the ruling “superior” race of mages. Descendant of a long line of powerful mages, including the most powerful of them all: The Black Witch, her grandmother. She lives with her uncle Edwyn and 2 brothers, Rafe and Trystan, in a small village. Her life is quiet and calm until her aunt Vyvian, a powerful mage, shows up deciding is time for Elloren to get Wandfasted (married). But Elloren has other plans, (thanks Ancient One). She wants to make a life for herself before becoming tied to someone, something her uncle supports, so she decides to go to college first. Her aunt Vyvian has her own plans for Elloren, and she’s willing to enforce those plans weather Elloren agrees or not. Vyvian's habit of getting her way uncovers her true self. The characters have a wide spectrum. From the ones you know are gonna be a headache for Elloren. To those that are very difficult to figure out until the moment is right. It's one of the first times I've found myself loving so many characters at once, but is just impossible to pick a favorite, there's a fierce wolf girl, beautiful and powerful Elves, interesting "demons", and of course Elloren. I liked Elloren, she's intelligent and brave. Despite having so many prejudices being fed up to her she's able to make her own opinion. She rises up to bullies and has a conscience. Her journey to uncovering the truth is a long and painful one, both for her and those around her, but is well worth it. The character development is exquisite. Not only Elloren's but everyone else's. Just as she had to fight her prejudice, so do those around her. They have to learn to trust her, a difficult task given her resemblance to the Black Witch. But, soon they have to learn to see beyond as she did, that actions speak of someone's true self more than anything else. We see Elloren gain nerve, protecting her friends and doing what’s right becomes her first priority. Danger abounds, moments were you just can’t take your eyes of the pages. Once enemies, become friends and allies, the horrid acts of the governing class more obvious, the charade of perfection falls. And the end, the end is perfect, leaving you anxious to know what’s next and with new questions burning. What I liked the most about The Black Witch is how relatable it is to our world. The segregation of the higher social classes, the religious prudeness, the prejudice that stops people of different cultures to know each other better. Laurie does a great job presenting all the points of view of the conflict. Overall, an emotional and philosophical rollercoaster, full of magic, action, and powerful messages. A must read for those who know how to keep an open mind and are hungry for something refreshing. My favorite lines: "People see what they expect to see. Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice." "My apologies. I forgot that your religion is the only one correct."

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