Format: E-Galley | 601 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
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.
THE BLACK WITCH is the first installment in author Laurie Foster's The Black Witch Chronicles. THE BLACK WITCH is the authors debut novel, while Wandfasted (The Black Witch prequel, July 1, 2017, Harlequin TEEN) will be her first e-book novella. This is a story that features 17-year old Elloren Gardner. Elloren is a Gardnerian who lives in a place called Halfix. Her family has one of the strongest mage blood lines in the entire country. But, Elloren apparently doesn't have the same affinity for magic as others, including her younger brother.
Elloren does have some interesting quirks but it doesn't make her a bad character. She has led a sheltered life thanks to her Uncle. Which has therefore created a foundation on how she sees the other races like Fae, Lupines, Urisks, and Icarals. Her Aunt is one of the more underhanded individuals you will meet in the story. Is it Elloren's fault that she was sheltered for years by her uncle, and not allowed to see what the other races are capable of? No. The most fascinating part of her character is that she can tell the kind of tree wood came from with a touch. She also has a green finger in that things she plants, have a tendency of doing a whole lot better than others.
Elloren finds herself traveling to University in Verpacia where she hopes to further her goal of becoming a Apothecary like her mother. But, upon arrival, this is a school like anything she's seen. There is, of course, the mean girl antics. The mean girl destined to become the next Black Witch who has set her sights on one boy in particular. The same boy, Lukas Gray, that Elloren's aunt wants Elloren Wandfasted to. Along with learning everything from History to Chemistry, Elloren faces a much different struggle. A struggle to put her bigotry on the back burner and learn how to get along with those she calls roommates, and classmates.
Elloren's journey is a topsy turvey one. One that will see her question everything she's ever been told. She can't avoid being put in the spotlight. Not when she's the spitting image of her grandmother. It is a journey that will have her facing her own forms of racism by other cultures, and those who truly do hate the fact that she is the granddaughter of someone who did so much wrong while she was alive. One could say that Elloren's journey is a bit much. After all, she's nobody really of consequence with her magic barely a sliver of that of her own younger brother. But, I adore the fact that Elloren and her brothers are connected so well. There's no bitter sibling rivalry. And, when things get moving, they brothers are the first people to jump on Elloren's train.
THE BLACK WITCH is well paced considered how long the book actually is. One could say that Elloren's story is how a person can actually change her opinion, and her feelings towards others. It is Elloren who takes actions while others look the other way. It is Elloren who puts together a fairly impressive group of like and non like minded individuals from various species to save the most vulnerable in this society. It is Elloren's own coming of age story and for that reason alone, I will be reading the next installment. That is if the publisher doesn't resort to cancelling the next installment over reviews that are extremely hurtful in nature.
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