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The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol
The Apprentice Witch is one of those books that transcend time and age group – very much as Harry Potter or Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials do. There is something here that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt ‘no quite good enough’ or been wracked with self-doubt or just felt they haven’t measured up against their prettier more popular peers.
Arianwynn is taking her witch’s evaluation now that she is fifteen. She loves her Grandmother, who has raised her, but is also secretly embarrassed that she is apprenticed to a relative – not the done thing anymore, that her Grandmother is an Elder working with the counsel, that she’s not really fashionable and doesn’t fit in. So getting her qualification and a Real Witch’s post is very important to Arianwynn, who sticks out like a sore thumb and feels awkward and inept most of the time. However her plans take a nose dive when she fails and she’s awarded what she feels is an embarrassing ‘apprentice continuation’ status and a posting in a quiet, out-of-the-way place near the Great Wood, in the town of Lull. Despite its name, Lull is not the tame backwater its reported to be. Dark spirits and strange creatures creep out of the wood. And just as Arianwynn starts to get her feet under her, shadows start to creep into her own magic.
The book as a whole carries you through the journey of this witch as she discover her abilities and powers but as well overcomes many of her mental and emotional obstacles. When you first start to read the book it starts off slow but picks up pace early on into the reading. The story as a whole deals with the turmoil of being a teen with self-esteem issues along with being a witch and her trials to make a friend and maintain those friendships while doing her duties of course. You will enjoy this story for the simple fact because you get a well thought out plot not overly complicated you get action and as well as various sub plots which make the story interesting.
A special middle school grade debut of magic and courage in a world of witches, written with the charm and enchantment of Circus Mirandus and The Apothecary.
Arianwyn has flunked her witch’s assessment: She’s doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch– much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.
But remote Lull is not as boring as it seems. Strange things are sighted in the woods, a dangerous infestation of hex creeps throughout the town, and a mysterious magical visitor arrives with his eye on her.
With every spirit banished, creature helped, and spell cast, Arianwyn starts to get the hang of being a witch–even if she’s only an apprentice. But the worst still lies ahead. For a sinister darkness has begun to haunt her spells, and there may be much more at stake than just her pride . . . for Arianwyn and the entire land.
Advance Praise for The Apprentice Witch:
“Will at once open a new and imaginative world and feel like a book you have loved forever.” –Jennifer Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of The False Prince
“The Apprentice Witch is entirely more charming, adventurous, and full of heart than a book has any right to be. Make no mistake: there’s magic afoot.” –Trenton Lee Stewart, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Keepers and the Mysterious Benedict Society series
“A charming tale of magic, bravery, and friendship, reminiscent of Diana Wynne Jones.” –The Guardian
“Impossible to put down.” –The Bookbag
“Infused with mystery, adventure, and bundles of charm.” –The Bookseller
“Delivers mystery and action in a whirlwind of cinematic, magical adventure.” –Mr. Ripley’s Enchanted Books
“A great adventure story, filled with wonderful spells and mysterious creatures. Arianwyn is a fantastic character, unsure of herself but determined to succeed. The atmosphere throughout the book is tense and exciting, right until the dramatic climax.” –Booktrust
James Nicol has loved books and stories his whole life. As a child he spent hours absorbed in novels, watching epic 1980s cartoons or adventuring in the wood at the bottom of the garden. He lives on the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens with his partner and a black and white cockapoo called Bonnie. The Apprentice Witch is his children’s debut. You can visit him at @jamesenicol.
I received this book to give my honest opinion.