Synopsis: “A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.”
“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.”
The Black Witch follows Elloren Gardner attending a university to fulfill a dream she never thought possible rather than being married off to an unknown suitor as is the custom of the Gardnerians. Starting out, Elloren has firm beliefs on what is righteous and what is evil based on all the stories she has been taught growing up, but as the story ventures on and Elloren finds herself rooming with some of the supposed evil, she soon learns that everyone has their own side of the story and everything that has been drilled into her mind is very much biased as it is the side of the Gardnerians she has only heard.
Like many typical fantasy worlds, you have the usual characters( wolf shifters, witches, dragons) but we are also introduced to other characters(yikes, snake faerie sounds crazy!). Set in an intricately built world, most of the story takes place at the University Elloran is attending with all sorts of characters and sub-plots introduced. I am eager to read the next in the series in hopes of wrapping up some of these said sub-plots. Elloran starts out as a naive sheltered young woman but as the story progresses her arc really takes off with her realizing how naive and sheltered she is (albeit, a biiiiit slooooowly) and attempting to fix the wrongs she committed. This is a dark fantasy with plenty of action, magic, a grand prophecy, and a bit of a slow-burning romance as well.
Okay you guys listen I’ve heard/read a bunch of opinions that people have regarding this book and so with that I just want to say that I enjoyed reading this(well, as much as one can enjoy reading about prejudice and the narrow-mindedness of people) and I am looking forward to reading The Iron Flower. It is no easy feat to write a novel revolving around so much hatred and injustice, but I felt Laurie Forest delivered it well. If you took this writing as the author promoting racism, then, um did we read the same book?
“People see what they expect to see,” he says sharply. “Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice.”
I’ve rated this 4 out of 5 stars because as much I enjoyed this, I felt it was a bit longer than it needed to be(600 pages) however, when I was reading it I was unaware it was 600 until I finished. So it was a very long book that felt long but I don’t think it felt like 600 pages long if that makes sense.
*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*