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The Black Witch

The Black Witch Chronicles, Book 1
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Series: The Black Witch Chronicles, Book 1
Length: 18 hrs and 11 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 13 & Up
4.5 out of 5 stars (101 ratings)

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Summary

A Great Winged One will soon arise and cast his fearsome shadow upon the land. And just as Night slays Day, and Day slays Night, so also shall another Black Witch rise to meet him, her powers vast beyond imagining.

So foretells the greatest prophecy of the Gardnerian mages. Carnissa Gardner, the last prophesied Black Witch, drove back the enemy forces and saved her people during the Realm War. Now a new evil is on the horizon, and her granddaughter, Elloren, is believed to be Carnissa's heir - but while she is the absolute image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above nearly all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren is eager to join her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University and finally 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 an even more treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

©2017 Laurie Forest (P)2017 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited.

Critic reviews

"This ambitious story is impressively narrated by the talented Julia Whelan, who creatively details its world of intricate magical practices and diverse inhabitants.... Whelan ably creates and sustains a wide cast of characters with intriguing and faithfully distinguished voices. Most importantly, she cultivates listeners' connection with flawed but ultimately good-hearted Elloren, whose first-person story portrays her fumbling attempts at understanding a wider world." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

More than your average YA

I'm older than the age democratic this genre is typically aimed at but still got a lot of enjoyment out of this book and The Iron Flower.

The world politics and events are believable and pulled from recent history, main characters are likable and well rounded and for once there's a love triangle that isn't superficial (revealed more in TIF). There's a bit of that "will they won't they" tension and the holding back of true feelings but that's to be expected with YA.

I'm picky when it comes to storytelling but so far I haven't had any major complaints with character actions or motivation. The story moves at a nice pace and the plot has a good amount of moving parts to keep things interesting.

Narrator performance was wonderful. Character voices are mostly distinct and consistent. Some of the male voices sound similar but it wasn't an immersion breaker for me.

Overall a great listen and I can't wait for the release of book 3.

2 people found this helpful

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No idea what all the contraversary is about

It's a good story, at times grating and I understand the division can be upsetting but the point of the story is that. Bringing unlikely allies together to fight the injustice of racism and class.
The narration is ok.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

I am bereft!! The book is finished... already..... and I have so many questions!
Where is the next one?
More, Ms Forest! MORE!!!

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing

Loved listening to this book the narration is captivating and definitely adds a new dimension to this story. The book itself takes the reader on a wonderful journey into a supernatural world. Definitely worth listening to.

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It was OK.... just OK.

Soooo..... I have given this book a chance, I really have. I have even listened to book number 2 (The Iron Flower), well some of it anyway.

I just can't get into the Laurie Forest novels, they falls short for me. I'm sure there are many fans of Laurie Forest who would disagree but the story just didn't have any teeth. It was just a bit meh....

It really is a shame as the bones of the story was really good. A powerful nation with racist and predjudist views which tries to impose it's mandate and narrow minded beliefs onto neighbouring nations. Now add magic, elves and a sprinkle of dragons into the mix and this could be a real party! The problem is... the execution was lack lustre, tame and obvious.

I like that the characters in the book were predominantly female but all of them were more than a little wispish. Even female characters that were supposed to be warriors didn't do much fighting or defending. The battles happened and the reader wasn't privy to occurence. No epic battles, no sword play, the warriors came and went or stood around glaring... A LOT.

What there was tons of was crying, lots and lots of crying.... every one had a few tears to shed in at least every second chapter. Give me a break!!
(eyes rolled*)

All in all the narrator was pretty good, 4 out of 5 stars only that her range of accents was limited. These books might make a very good teen fantasy novel, defo not for adults.

I'm not going to be purchasing book 3, not even sure if I will finish book 2.

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A fantastic read.

I loved this book. I can't wait to get stuck into the next book. Performance was great and the story unfolded chapter by chapter. I may have to read it again!

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great read

loved this book can't wait to immerse myself in the next part of the series. Enjoyed getting to know all the characters and seeing them grow as the story unfolds. Captivated with the realisation that they still have more hidden depth and unanswered questions, leaving me wanting for more....

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Love this book

I am drawn in to the very different lives of the characters such detail pictures form in my mind friendships are formed based on common goals untruths uncovered about the history of each race powerful bonds forged secrets shared. I can't wait for the next book

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  • JR
  • 07-09-18

Best book in a very long time

I loved this book and the narration. Can’t bear that it’s finished. The characters are new and dynamic and it goes along at a great pace.
Fabulous!! More please.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Build up

sadly the book starts off very well, you're soon past the middle, then it stagnates, you get everyone's back story and deep character analysis. This absolutely ruins the book for me, from the action and promise of a thrilling character (the black witch) becoming so, stalls and stalls. so much so, I gave in.

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  • Raquel
  • 28-10-17

The controversy should make you want to read this book!

I was intrigued when I first saw the publisher’s synopsis of The Black Witch, but then I read further and discovered all the controversy and negative press surrounding this book. When the public makes premature judgments and starts leaning toward book banning without so much as cracking the binding, I knew I had to find out more and I am so glad I did! The Black Witch is based in a fantasy world, but the protagonist, is dealing with issues of stereotypes, class divisions, racism, misogyny, and still darker real world issues loom. Like each of us, the main character has her flaws. She is often part of her society’s problems, but this story is about the journey of her self-discovery, how her world is not the idyllic place she believed, and how even the vast differences amongst those she comes in contact with cannot hide the beauty of what they have in common and will fight for, together.

91 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-05-17

Amazing

I have read a lot of controversy around this book... after reading it I find that it's nothing like the people were ranting about. The main character was a sheltered girl who lives in a world of racism and makes friends and breaks down boundaries slowly. The book itself is fast paced and I highly doubt you will find a slow moment in the book.


Only complaint is that she is sometimes very sheltered.

52 people found this helpful

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  • Common-Sense-Is-Key
  • 08-11-18

Really Good! Only wish that......

.......the main female heroine didn't behave so simple-minded. I fully understand the author's want to make her appear sheltered; but the level of naivety shouldn't equate to a lack of common sense. Many series have turned me from reading them because of the same equation of: sheltered past equals no common sense.
*** Spoilers ***
For instance:
(1) Elloren states many times that Fallon scares her, yet she continuously goes after her, all the while knowing her own power isn't fully manifesting.
(2) Elloren cannot fathom why all the other Supernatural races despise her even after realizing her own direct likeness of her grandmother once she's been informed of her grandmother's cruelty.
(3) She ignorantly believes that her aunt will somehow move her to a new room even though she again states she's not wand fasting yet.
Lastly, my most frustrating example.......
(4) Elloren admits, during/after her legit wand testing, that remnants of her grandma's Black Witch power flows through her, deep inside; but she never even questions that she may in fact be the new Black Witch (& her fae side may be blocking it? Or a form of fae shielding was done to hide her power?). There's absolutely no speculation from her! Characters don't have to be written as dimwitted to come across as being sheltered.

Alas, I am currently downloading the 2nd book to this series! I'm hoping for Elloren to grow intellectually; however, if it doesn't happen, she's definitely not the worst character I've ever read about in a series. So there's that lol.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Julie
  • 13-04-18

A fanciful, yet uneasy, familiarity

Great narration!

IMO, it's fantasy meets reality. Other worldly creatures face racism, bigotry, misogyny etc. The characters feel real (flawed) but with convincing personal evolution.
It IS somewhat predictable, the way life and history are.
It's not ground breaking and doesn't have to be. It's still a fun listen, and it's fiction so enjoy.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-03-18

Repetative dialogue

I really enjoy the idea of This Book of the difference characters and it different families and backgrounds. But the main character went around in circles so much in the book it really made me not want to finish. I do want to see where the story goes so I am kind of looking forward to the next book. I really hope that the author finds her groove and the book flows better. half of the book really could have been left out in my opinion

5 people found this helpful

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  • jda
  • 31-01-18

Story could be better - audio very good

Is there anything you would change about this book?

the story is ok, but could be better. the main character Elloren is a bit gratting as a character so far. More a damsel in distress than a hero. Different from brothers and uncle in viewpoint, almost as from different upbringing than brothers.

Almost all of the other charaters seem to be presented as a completed person by the Author, where Elloren still seem the author trying to figure out who she is.

Right now I'm more interested in the other charaters than Elloren,

Would you recommend The Black Witch to your friends? Why or why not?

yes I would, the Authors other series was good but a bit long winded at times. The characters, some very well developed and gripping to read about. the main charater needs a bit of work. but all in all a good read.

What about Julia Whelan’s performance did you like?

the audio presentation was very good.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Lanie
  • 17-07-17

Great Story Illustrating the Stupidity of Bigotry

What made the experience of listening to The Black Witch the most enjoyable?

Julia Whelan. She was 50% of the reason I chose to buy this book. Every one of her narrations are fantastic

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Black Witch?

Elloren's awakening. Finding out that your people aren't the great saviors of the world and that everyone in the world doesn't want to be like you. In fact, your people have been murderous monsters and most of the world loathes you.

Which character – as performed by Julia Whelan – was your favorite?

Aerial. She got the crazy down perfectly.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was holding my breath a few times, scared for them and cheering for them at the same time.

Any additional comments?

People that are freaking out about racism, homophobia and misogyny in this book are totally missing the point.
How could you show the redemption of these characters without first showing the way they were raised and the prejudices they were steeped in. Are bigotry, racism, homophobia and misogyny disgusting? Yes, of course they are, and they were entirely necessary for the story to work.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Eric
  • 29-07-17

Takes its time but great story

This story trusts itself, it takes the listener on journey step by step and it also shows how religion can be used to justified anything. So, if you willing be patient with this book you won’t be disappointed, because this is a really great read.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Ann
  • 11-07-17

Delicious ... then disappointing.

My first impressions of this story were 'a magnificently deep and richly crafted story with deliciously detailed universe development and a heroine I could get behind ....

But I'm still waiting. The universe was as I suspected indeed detailed and imaginative and blew me away. I also appreciated the deeper themes and motifs. But all along I'm waiting for the main character to blow me away ... while she does develop and change ... it kind of feels like the whole time 'winter is coming , winter is coming' and then it never does. I'm hopeful for the next book ... please tell me there is a next book so my questions can be answered ???

NARRATOR WAS INCREDIBLE!!! The story telling was perfection. Well done. Five stars. Standing ovation. So many different characters speaking and I know exactly which one is at any given time. She did a fantastic job.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Steven Orshan
  • 21-06-19

Garbage

I wanted to like this, but the main character is absolutely infuriating. Her immaturity and her contradictory behavior is exhausting. I was constantly rolling my eyes. The plot goes nowhere. No desire to finish this series. Truly bummed. I love the narrator though, she’s amazing.

3 people found this helpful