Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Witch's Boy - a book review

Quote of the day:

"She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them.  Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape."

Today's featured book:

Author:  Kelly Barnhill
Middle Grade Fiction
Ages 9 +

About the book:

Twin brothers Ned and Tam fall from their raft into a raging, bewitched river and Tam gets swallowed up and carried away.  Ned, when he finally comes around finds he stutters, cannot make sense of words to read, and lives under the constant barrage of ridicule and scorn from fellow villagers, hearing non-stop that the wrong brother lived.  Ned does not know that in order for him to live, his mother, a witch, had stitched his dying brother's soul to his chest.  

Ned lives in isolation with his mother and father and is convinced that he is weak, mentally challenged and his life will never get any better. 

Ainè, a resourceful and practical girl, lives with her Bandit King father.  Her evil father goes to Ned's village one night with his motley crew and tries to steal away the magic that Ned's mother protects. Ned's mother is on a mission to the Queen and is absent from their home. Seeing the eminent danger that befalls not only his family but his entire village Ned steps forward and absorbs the sneaky and contriving magic and becomes a local hero by not only protecting his family but also his entire community.  

As fate would have it, Ainè and Ned work together against the Bandit King and with the help of a rogue wolf and seven giant stones make their way back through a large, enchanted forest to finally put the magic in its rightful place. By so doing they are able to stop a war that will surely rip both their worlds apart and set both Tam and the stone creatures free to move on.

I truly loved this book.  The writing is rich and detailed and I found myself creating windows of time where I could once again escape with the book to find out what happened next.  The story line is creative and engaging and I know it would make a perfect movie that both young and old would love.  I highly, highly recommend this book.  

About the author:

Kelly Barnhill writes novels for children and short stories for adults and poetry that she whispers in the dark when no one is listening. Her first novel, The Mostly True Story of Jack, received four-starred reviews, and her second, Iron Hearted Violet, received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her most recent novel is The Witch's Boy. - See more at: http://algonquinyoungreaders.com/book/witchs-boy/#sthash.v0xDauR6.dpuf

Book Review Rating:  9 (close to perfection!)

"A story with many alluring elements…Barnhill creates an absorbing world of kingdoms and prophecies in which transformation comes through language, and through courage and self-awareness as well…[The Witch’s Boy] should open young readers’ eyes to something that is all around them in the very world we live in: the magic of words."
The New York Times

"Barnhill skillfully interweaves the stories of Ned, Áine, Sister Witch and the stones, along with an intriguing group of secondary characters. The third-person narration switches perspective smoothly, and it’s all related in a precise, flowing prose that easily places readers into the fantastic setting and catches them up in the story. The classic fantasy elements are all there, richly reimagined, with a vivid setting, a page-turning adventure of a plot, and compelling, timeless themes."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"In a story of an unexpected hero, a thief’s daughter, and some very tricky magic, Barnhill weaves a powerful narrative . . . [She] elegantly joins the story’s diverse threads in a complex tale whose poignancy never turns sentimental."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
- See more at: http://algonquinyoungreaders.com/book/witchs-boy/#sthash.3ydCxw9z.dpuf

Read on and read always!   Have a magnificent day everyone!
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