The Apprentice Witch

James Nicol. Chicken House, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-11858-2
In Nicol’s charming debut novel, failed witch Arianwyn Gribble learns of the power that comes with knowing one’s self-worth and conquering the darkness within. After Arianwyn botches her evaluation, she thinks her dreams of becoming a full-fledged witch and member of the Civil Witchcraft Authority are over, but she’s given a second chance: she will continue to be an apprentice witch in the small town of Lull until the time of her reevaluation. After arriving in Lull, Arianwyn realizes more is afoot: evil spirits from the Great Wood (a “dangerous and remote” forest filled with ancient spirits) are causing mayhem, a hex infection has taken root in the Great Wood, and a shadowy creature begins terrorizing the town, too. Nicol presents a world filled with magic and strange creatures, but unexplored plotlines—such as the ongoing but vaguely described war that has caused a shortage of witches, allowing Arianwyn the opportunity to be reevaluated—and underdeveloped characters don’t let the book to live up to its full potential. Still, Nicol lays enough groundwork to support future stories. Ages 8–12. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/22/2017
Release date: 07/01/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-338-15972-1
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-338-11860-5
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5094-5702-1
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