Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 349
Publisher: Chicken House Books
Released: 7th of July 2016

Arianwyn has fluffed her witch’s evaluation test.

Awarded the dull bronze disc and continuing as an apprentice – to the glee of her arch-rival, mean girl Gimma – she’s sent to protect the remote, dreary town of Lull. 

But her new life is far from boring. Turns out Gimma is the pompous mayor’s favourite niece – and worse, she opens a magical rift in the nearby Great Wood. As Arianwyn struggles with her spells, a mysterious darkness begins to haunt her – and it’s soon clear there’s much more than her pride at stake …

What I Have to Say 

This book took me back to my childhood in the most wonderful way. Growing up, I adored the Worst Witch books and the Apprentice Witch has got a very similar quality to it. It's written for slightly older readers and has a beautiful world built up where witches live and work to keep each village safe. 

I'm not sure exactly what time period this story was supposed to be set in. It had an almost timeless quality while having motorcars giving it a sense of the 1920s about it. In a lot of ways it didn't matter, because it's a different world with spirits and demons commonly acknowledged. But this slightly old fashioned setting gave it the most wonderful feel to it. I definitely want to explore this world more. 

I think there's something about Arianwyn as a character that appeals to me a lot. Drawing back to the comparison with the Worst Witch, she and Mildred are the sort of people who always set out to do good. They just want to help and get things right, but everything just goes wrong for them along the way. I think it was that which made the Worst Witch books so relatable to me as a child. You feel more for a character who wants to get things right and so their failures make you feel so much more sorry for them. 

I think that everyone should read this book. It's one that I quickly came to adore and I hope that everyone else loves it as much as I do. 

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