Everyone in Gardneria says young Elloren Gardner is the spitting image of her grandmother, Carnissa Gardner, who was force behind her peoples' winning the Realm War against their enemies. She knows that is where the similarities end because she lacks any of the magical power that her society admires. Some expect her to live up to the legend of her grandmother.
Elloren is sent to Verpaxia University to learn about apothecary. She was sheltered in the Gardnerian realm all her life. In Verpaxia she sees enemies of the Gardnerians and people she was taught to be wary of roaming the streets.. The University even admits Icarals, the winged, fire-wielding sworn enemies of Garneria. Elloren learns that the University is not a safe place for the the granddaughter of the Black Witch. She must decide who she can trust at the University and in Verpaxia.
Elloren's world is turned upside down as everything she knows is challenged. While her beliefs and training are torn away, evil looms and she feels pressure to live up to the legend of The Black Witch. She just might be saved by an unlikely gang of mismatched people she once spied in the marketplace.
Laurie Forest's first book in the series teases a great new story about a girl who lost her parents. She is sent off to school and starts on the path to her destiny, which is much different than she had planned. She finds allies among those she was taught to distrust and even fear as she develops her own unique power. Will she cling to that which she thought she knew to be right or accept the new path which reveals the truth?
Beyond the great new fantasy world story, readers are introduced to interesting varieties of people with descriptions of skin textures and colors, unique features, abilities, and powers. The idea of mixed parentage creates new even more remarkable people. One concept that unfolds beautifully in this first book is that people are the same under their skin. Another is that people can be emotionally devastated by the actions of those around them. Likewise, those hurt people can begin to heal with just the merest kindness. These are all marvelous for a YA fantasy novel.
I am already listening to audio book #4 of The Black Witch Chronicles, The Demon Tide. I will review the following books #0.5 Wand Fasted, #1.5 Light Mage, #2 The Iron Flower, and #3 The Shadow Wand over the next few blog posts.