Title – The Black Witch
Author – Laurie Forest
Pages – 601
Publisher – Harlequin Teen
Goodreads rating – 2.16
My Rating – 4
TW: Racisim and Homophobia
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.
I want to start by saying I completely misjudged this book half way through. I thought is was extremely racists and homophobic among other things. The main character started out extremely naive and ignorant of all the problems the others races have. In this novel, Gardnerians are the holy ones as their religion portrays. Elloren Gardner (the main character) lives with her uncle and two brothers when her aunt comes to get her for hopes she will be wandfasted (practically arranged marriage) to Lukas. only Elloren has promised her uncle that she will wait two years till she finishes university to be wandfasted. Her aunt extremely upset with this takes her to the city. Elloren looks just like her grandmother the last black witch. Her aunt hopes to test Elloren in hopes that she could follow her grandmother’s footsteps in being the next black witch. Her aunt buys her the finest clothes and introduces her to the other ladies including the next black witch, Fallon Bane.
When Elloren starts university she is already enemies with Fallon. Fallon soon starts doing small magic to bully Elloren. She is freezing her ink, so she can’t take notes, tripping her and just trying to make her life miserable all because Elloren kissed Lukas. Elloren is also forced to lodge in the north tower with two Icrals, Ariel and Wynter. In the Gardnerians religion, everyone of a different religion is looked down upon, but the Icarals are the lowest of the low. They are the evil ones, they are the fallen. At first, Elloren is terrified of them and soon stands up to them, by threatening to get them kicked out. Soon they have a mutual respect and become friends.
While at university Ellorens aunt is making her life hell, living in the north tower and then kitchen duty. While she works kitchen duty she meets Yvan and other kelts and urisks. They do not take kindly to her as she goes out to the barn to be thrown in crap and beaten. Soon Lukas comes to her rescue or so she thinks and threatens all of them. Soon after feeling guilty she makes a mutual peace with them and they go about their work. Yvan and Elloren soon find themselves interested in each other, staring at each other in the kitchen and Elloren soon makes friends with Yvan, finds out his secret and they help each other greatly.
Elloren has also made a friend another Gardnerian girl names Aislinn. They come upon one of their classes to find out they have to share the same class with lupines. Lupines are a race of shapeshifters, they can turn into wolves. They have incredible strength and senses. Aislinn terrified at first find out one of the lupines (they are twins, brother, and sister) Jarod loves poetry just likes she does and they fall in love. terrified by her family and reputation, she distances herself from him in order to be wandfasted to Randall ( an idiot). Aislinn doesn’t want to be wandfasted to Randall though. She wants to be with Jarod, she has fall head over heels for him, but to be with him means giving up her entire family to become lupine. This is just one example of the prejudice against other races in the book, that they overcome.
Elloren throughout her first few months at the university has learned so much about how ignorant she was to others and their way of life and everything they go through. She finds herself in a professor’s office asking questions about other religions and cultures. she learns what they believe and soon questions her own religion and everything the Gardnerians stand for. She soon helps a Fae, kelt, and protects a urisk girl. She is constantly surprising others view of her because many gardnerians treat others like crap. She is no longer believing her aunt’s words or her own religion.
By the end of this novel, these characters and much more a group of friends, a little rebellion. They are learning spells and freeing dragons. They work together and you get to see Elloren come out of her prejudice ways that she has been taught. She learns how to be kind and that everyone is equal. She learns how awful gardnerians treat others that are not of her race. Again I say this book did start off to portray that is was racist and completely garbage. I honestly did not want to finish the book, but I did and I’m glad I did. Some look at this book as racist and will not even read it. I encourage you too. to see what you think. While I was reading I read parts and gasped at them, by the end I understood why they were written to show that you can overcome being prejudice and that everyone is equal.
While you may not agree with my review, I encourage you to read others reviews. Read the book with an open mind and see what you think of it. What did you feel while reading it? Did you see the way they all came together? Did you just see the racists and homophobic part and stop reading? I would love to know what you thought of the book as well.