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The Black Witch
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The Black Witch
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A Great Winged One will soon arise and cast his fearsome shadow upon the land. And just as Night slays Day, and Day slays Night, so also shall another Black Witch rise to meet him, her powers vast...
A Great Winged One will soon arise and cast his fearsome shadow upon the land. And just as Night slays Day, and Day slays Night, so also shall another Black Witch rise to meet him, her powers vast...
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  • A Great Winged One will soon arise and cast his fearsome shadow upon the land. And just as Night slays Day, and Day slays Night, so also shall another Black Witch rise to meet him, her powers vast beyond imagining.

    So foretells the greatest prophecy of the Gardnerian mages. Carnissa Gardner, the last prophesied Black Witch, drove back the enemy forces and saved her people during the Realm War. Now a new evil is on the horizon, and her granddaughter, Elloren, is believed to be Carnissa's heir—but while she is the absolute image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above nearly all else.

    When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren is eager to join her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University and finally 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 an even more treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

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. THE BLACK WITCH (May 2, 2017 - Harlequin TEEN) is her first novel, and WANDFASTED (THE BLACK WITCH prequel, July 1, 2017 - Harlequin TEEN) is her first e-book novella.

    Visit her realm at 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.

  • AudioFile Magazine This debut fantasy introduces listeners to Elloren Gardener, granddaughter and spitting image of the powerful, celebrated Black Witch. This ambitious story is impressively narrated by the talented Julia Whelan, who creatively details its world of intricate magical practices and diverse inhabitants. Studying at cosmopolitan Verpax University, na�ve Elloren must question the divisive beliefs she absorbed while growing up when she finds herself learning alongside those she's been taught to hate. Whelan ably creates and sustains a wide cast of characters with intriguing and faithfully distinguished voices. Most importantly, she cultivates listeners' connection with flawed but ultimately good-hearted Elloren, whose first-person story portrays her fumbling attempts at understanding a wider world. Listeners witness Elloren learning to question her assumptions and see the world--and herself--more clearly. J.C.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
  • 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.

  • 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.

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