The Black Witch Epub ñ The Black MOBI :↠

  • Hardcover
  • 601 pages
  • The Black Witch
  • Laurie Forest
  • English
  • 06 August 2015
  • 9780373212316

10 thoughts on “The Black Witch

  1. Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ says:

    So I read it Honestly I'm pretty disappointed in those people who condemned this book before giving it a chanceYes a defining motivation for almost everything that happens in this book is racial tension between a handful of fantasy races No I do not feel that the author condones racist homophobic ableist etc ideologies about races that exist in realityMy opinion? This book was preemptively dragged through the mud for nothing Seriously though since when is portraying characters with shitty belief systems the same as condoning characters with shitty belief systems?And I must ask have we not made it past the point where we accept that people are not all good or all bad? That it's the part of ourselves we act on that make us who we are? Wasn't this one of the fundamental lessons in the Harry Potter series?Speaking of Harry Potter any of you who ever found it in your heart to sympathize with Draco Malfoy but concluded this book is problematic likely without reading it may want to reevaluate The Black Witch is similar to what we'd be reading if Rowling had written Harry Potter cast Draco as the protagonist Not similar in plot but similar in that we have a young person raised with a certain set of beliefs perpetuating those beliefs for a time and eventually coming to uestion whether or not those beliefs are valid when confronted with real world experience knowledge This is exactly the process the main character Elloren Gardner goes through Elloren is surrounded by people from different races who all hate each other and for her first bit of time at University she has a lot of her biases confirmed Everyone in this book is acting on their contempt toward everyone else and this is the very first time she's been exposed to others outside of the Gardnarians Broadly speaking does it make sense to judge actions of a few apply them to everyone in a certain group? Of course not Does it make sense for Elloren who has lived an incredibly sheltered life up to that point to take her first impressions as an initial confirmation for the prejudices her religion has taught her? Yes in my opinion it does I have no clue where this she doesn't learn her lesson idea is coming from Elloren absolutely uestions whether the religion she's grown up with is bullshit begins breaking down deeply ingrained prejudices and ultimately undergoes a large transformation from who she was at the start of the novel Is she perfectly woke by the end of the book? Well fuck no she's not But this whole story takes place over the course of what a year? Let me just real talk for a momentWhen you are faced with working through the tangled mess of indoctrination you've been drowning in for the majority of your life it's not a uick painless process And it certainly isn't going to come full circle in a short time; you'd be lucky to see significant progress over the course of a few years Especially when you're walking that path alone without the supportencouragement of people who love you accept your evolution It's a process that I myself have been through and so it's literally amazing to me that Elloren's character is being so harshly criticized for what I consider to be a very realistic amount of growthI'm listing these three uotes because I truly don't think an author who writes a book with the intention of bolstering a racisthomophobicableist ideology would have the capacity to write these linesuote 1 Professor Christian is right I think it's time to start paying attention to what my own government is doinguote 2 People see what they expect to see through a filter of their own hatred and prejudiceuote 3 I know my grandmother did a lot of terrible things Since coming here I've learned that my people do a lot of really terrible things But don't you think it's possible for someone to be different from everything you've heard about their kindIt's my opinion that a lot of the condemning examples I have seen are taken out of their proper context slanted to fit a certain perspectiveBut here's my thing I'm not going to spend any time in this review trying to convince you that this book is not what it's been accused of being If the premise of this book interests you at all I encourage you to go read it and find out for yourself what is true and what is not This is a wonderful example of why it's so important to educate and think for yourself Stances with a foundation in ignorance are poison As for my opinion on this book outside of the maelstrom of controversy it's garnered I didn't really find much here that appealed to meThe best aspect of The Black Witch is the style of description Laurie Forest's words are infused with whimsy laying out gorgeously intricate scenes that were lovely to imagine The details of places people really leap off the page in a way you don't often see in debuts But unfortunately those beautiful words were not backed by beautiful world building There is a decent variety of races present fae lupines demons elves etc but most of them are incredibly derivative of what we have seen countless times before in other Fantasy novels The world building element of the story also suffered greatly from the choice in POV Elloren's story is told in first person and I found it uite difficult to connect myself to the world because we spend a ridiculous amount of time trudging through Elloren's suabbles with basically everyone she encounters We come to understand some of the details behind the tension between races through Elloren's eyes but we are largely uninvolved with the degenerating situation outside her bubble of existence There are a handful of prologues written from different perspectives but it didn't uite resolve the issueThere is such an enormous focus on Elloren's petty rivalries revolving love interests that it really destroyed my ability to relate to her She has a couple shining moments scattered throughout the story some of her connections to others develop in a satisfying way but she is so heavily characterized by her relationship to typical cliche YA trope characters that I found it difficult to invest in her as the protagonistWe've got the Regina George esue mean girl who is unabashedly awful hates the MC the uiet soft spoken best friend the male love interest who oozes testosterone trails along behind the MC just waiting for the opportunity to corner her with a steamy kiss and adults that don't listen or understand the MC love jumping to conclusions Oh everyone is drop dead gorgeous with one exception that doesn't really follow through on being an exception by the end of the novelForest's dialogue also edges a bit too close to the line of over dramatic for my tastes I couldn't help but imagine the characters speaking the same way theater performers sometimes do with so much exaggeration that the performance becomes of a caricatureIt seemed like every situation Elloren got into was wildly scandalous or wildly embarrassing or wildly confusing or wildly inappropriate I get it her people are conservative but Forest may be in a competition with Maas to see how many times she can use the same word in a single bookAs with the world building the plot of this story also suffers from a lack of clear focus Elloren is just existing at the University for most of the time There's a mini plot near the end of the novel but it doesn't do much to salvage my attention when almost nothing happens until the 80 90% mark Not to mention the novel ends in what I consider to be an abrupt place It's not even a cliffhanger it just cuts off with some weird minor plot developments unresolvedSo it's safe to say I didn't love this novel I knew going into it that I had no intention of softening my opinion of this book if I disliked it; I wanted to write an honest review to the very best of my ability My rating has nothing to do with any racisthomophobicableist messages everything to do with the fact that I just didn't like the bookI'm glad to have read this so I can finally put to rest my suspicions about the controversy surrounding itThoughts Before ReadingI have no problem with calling out a book for racistableistsexistetc themes If a book supports any of thee above then it deserves to be rated poorly But I am disappointed to see that most ratings are coming from people who haven't read the book Deciding not to read a book that may be harmful to you is 100% valid Deciding to use GR's review function as a means of drawing attention to a book and warning others about its content is 100% validBut I can't support destroying a book's ratings when it hasn't been read by the majority reviewers or uasi threateningblacklisting people who express interest in forming their own opinions about content This book may be an absolute piece of shit but I won't claim to know that for sure until I have read the damn book

  2. Emily May Emily May says:

    People see what they expect to see he says sharply Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice I don't really know where to start with this book I recommend that everyone make themselves aware of the criticisms surrounding The Black Witch if you are not already And also be aware that this review is my opinion; I speak for no one but me If you have a problem with that don't read onThe Black Witch is in my opinion a thoughtful consideration of the prejudices people hold and the way upbringing and family can play into our narrow view of the world Elloren is the narrator and a Gardnerian with her own set of bigoted ideas about the other creatures in Erthia Fae Lupines Urisks Icarals etc who in turn have been brought up to believe in all the negative Gardnerian stereotypesIt's a magic boarding school book which I personally love It is like Harry Potter if Rowling had paused to deeply explore the prejudice held by supposedly pure blood witches and wizards And unlike Harry Potter Elloren is not special and does not save everyone The author places emphasis on the power of cooperation and teamwork suggesting we are at our strongest when we work together Really it is about the power the utter necessity of education Universities in both the world of The Black Witch and in our own bring together people from all different backgrounds They are the ultimate melting pots that allow people to expand their minds beyond the confines of the small world they are used to Forest uses this to show how important multiculturalism is how it fosters understanding and empathy Real education doesn't make your life easy It complicates things and makes everything messy and disturbing But the alternative Elloren Gardner is to live your life based on injustice and lies If you don't want to read ANY on page prejudice I respect that and this book isn't for you It shows misogyny homophobia xenophobia and racism even if the races are pink skinned elves or werewolves in order to offer social criticism on it I should point out though that all of these things are repeatedly portrayed as inherently wrong and this book is as sexist as The Handmaid's Tale or as racist as The Hate U GiveMany people who have blacklisted this book have said that readers read to feel good; to escape the darkness of the real world And that is fine but it’s not me I read to feel I read to uestion I read to think dream explore and understand If a book makes me sad or angry it’s probably a new favourite I don’t expect books to convince me that everything is sunshine and roses and happily ever after is real in fact I’m skeptical of people selling that bullshit Life is complex and messy and nasty Just like this bookI personally don't agree that the bigotry portrayed isn't challenged as I've seen some others note It is most directly challenged in the second half of this book but even in the first half it is clear that we are meant to uestion it From the very moment Elloren leaves her small town life behind she uestions her aunt's insistence that the Selkies aren't human They may look like humans Elloren but they aren'tThe very human looking terrified eyes of the young woman are burned into my mind Perhaps it is too subtle for some readers that nobody comes out screaming prejudice but the author clearly presents all the races as complex and sympathetic When Echo expresses disgust towards a Lupine man Elloren notes the hurt in his eyes And here are some uotes You know Elloren Aislinn says her voice tentative talking to Jarod it just makes me wonder if if our people might be mistaken about some thingsI'm beginning to think it's all hogwash anyway I tell him All this stuff about Evil Ones But that doesn't change the fact that everyone else seems to believe itThe desire to avert my eyes is gone I need to see this for what it isAislinn shrugs I'm finding that I like meeting new people she says uietly People different from me I'm tired of being afraid of everyoneSince coming here I've learned that my people do a lot of really terrible things But don't you think it's possible for someone to be different from everything you've ever heard about their kind?All that wyvern blood floating around he explains interferes rather inconveniently with cherished ideas of racial purity Which in and of itself is the greatest myth of all time The challenge to prejudice is most evident when you consider that all the main antagonists are the most shamelessly bigoted In fact this was the part I liked least Fallon and Vogel are two of the very few one dimensional characters in the book I'm sure the author made this decision to try to avoid any confusion over her stance against racism and I feel a little bad for her that she probably cannot win but it was disappointing to have such mindlessly cruel individuals in a sea of otherwise well developed multilayered charactersTo present this as merely a book about a girl who learns to humanize those of other races seems reductive when all the races in uestion have a complicated web of prejudices that are deconstructed over the course of the novel Everyone is difficult and weird and jealous and vindictive and moody and aren't we all? It would be so very easy to reduce prejudice to a simple Good vs Bad Heroes vs Villains Us vs Them paradigm and yet the author never does thatForest shows that prejudice and privilege are extremely complex and overlap in many ways She shows that bigotry is not something you're born with but something you learn And despite the dark and serious themes throughout I can't help but wonder isn't this message ultimately an uplifting one? Sure it shows all the prejudice and horrors that exist in our world but it shows something else too that they can be beatenI did spend a lot of time considering whether I wanted to review this at all I figure there is a group of people on twitter waiting to tear down anyone who doesn’t instantly 1 star this book and scream “offensive” And I’m so tired of the backlash people get for going against the herd But in the end if Goodreads isn’t a place where people can express a variety of different opinions and perspectives then it is utterly worthlessBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. Georgina Georgina says:

    What is wrong with you people now we are commanding artists what they can't and can write in FANTASY just so we wouldn't get triggered?? Don't read it if you can't deal with cruel sad and dark themes But you don't get to tell someone they are racist just because they choose to depict a world in which racism is very much alive? What's the point of that? Are we going to ban history books next?? She writes her story she created her flawed characters and her flawed world just as ours is and there's room there to fix that world too for her characters to grow and learn This reaction is outrageous This is censorship Now we are telling others what is acceptable in arts and what not just because you can't deal with some harsh themes?? Unbelievable You know what's offensive? Throwing around such harsh words every time something's not acceptable to you And some people are here losing their mind and calling the author despicable names and they didn't even read the freaking book Are you not capable of forming your own opinion? This book had been receiving amazing reviews and then a couple of people found if racist and now EVERYONE finds it racist?? This is an on growing trend so I've noticed something similar happened to Veronica Roth Some are even rewriting their reviews It doesn't work like that If you didn't find it offensive and racists the first time you read it without any judgement then guess what? It probably isn't racist to you And what if it does show racist behavior?? So what? Can't we show such things in books? Jesus Christ God forbid we dealt with racist themes and violence towards women God forbid we wrote about racist communities God forbid we wrote about worlds where women aren't as strong as men It would be just a bit REALISTIC You people can't deal with FANTASY much less real life And then there are some who simply just go looking for isms and phobias in every freaking book they read and comment they see That's borderline sickHell even Sarah J Maas gets called on being racist and not ''diverse enough'' She even gets attacked for ''forcing her obviously gay character into a submissive straight relationship'' Because YOU wrote and know her characters right? Do you people hear yourself? This is getting seriously out of hand Who are you to demand such things from other people's works of art? Who are you to tell authors that they don't have enough ''diverse characters'' and that they HAVE TO have gay black white whatever type of characters? Who are you to tell them they can't have racist characters or create a bad bad world? If my magical world is all white all black all gay all straight all unicorns all hate and all racism I have the right to make it that way and you know what it doesn't make me racist It makes you incapable of dealing with life this real one here 20 years ago JK Rowling created a world with racism in it She created racist xenophobic hateful characters And many are dare I say hypocritically adored by our generation The only difference being she didn't make her protagonist have 'racist' views She chose the easier path Black and white morally speaking But people are not black and white Many learn many grow many are raised in such cultures and are conditioned to be that way the way the main character in this book is It would be UNREALISTIC if she were any other way And she isn't even racist she's just a flawed young girl in a cruel world Let the characters be flawed let the worlds be dark you know better or at least you should Let them learn for crying out loud that's only human Let yourself see into different mindsets even when they are wrong learn don't be so narrow minded yourself Books shouldn't be perfect characters shouldn't be perfect worlds shouldn't be perfect They should be the way authors want them to be and you should be mature enough to handle it and learn to be critical without losing your shit and seeing things even when they aren't even there What you are doing here is ruining the artistry In a couple of years all we'll be reading will be cardboard material Because authors will be afraid of getting labeled with some freaking ism You are restricting people's imagination and their craft You are restricting yourself Poor Laurie Forest Poor authors these days We live in a censorship that our younger generations are forcing upon everyone Funnily enough they are the same ones who preach freedom of speech and #nojudgement Grow up

  4. Bentley ★ Bentley ★ says:

    See this review and on wwwbookbastionnetRelated reviewWandfasted The Black Witch 05 ★★★✯I'd like to start off this review with a little warning to the naysayers for this book if you're here to brigade me in the comments section and tell me how wrong I am for having an opinion that differs from your own you can save it because your comment WILL be flagged and deleted The opinions expressed in the review are my own and no amount of abuse from the people who think it's okay to suash free thinking with nasty comments and twitter brigades will force me to change it Don't like it don't read it Also don't complain you're being treated unfairly after you rated a book 1 star before you even read itWhen I first realized what was happening to this book I was disturbed When I looked into it a bit and realized how this all started I was outright annoyed Make no mistake what happened to this book its author and its editorsHarleuin Teen was not fair It was censorship Now that I've read it myself I can safely say that what happened to this book was wholly undeserved and very likely perpetrated by a person who saw an opportunity to bolster her own image while tearing down a debut author at the same time because who cares if creative expression suffers as long as you prove to your followers how moral you are right? The most disappointing part of all this drama has got to be how many people just went along with it down voting this book into oblivion without taking the time to read or think for themselves At the time of my last post about this book The Black Witch was sitting at a 208stars on Goodreads with 473 reviews and 1123 ratings Just to update you all today the same book sits at a 280stars with 637 reviews and 1173 ratings It's definitely trending upwards albeit slowly and this increase can be attributed to the fact that the majority of those 150 new reviews that have poured in have been mostly ranging from good to favorable Why? Because those people actually read the book and thought for themselves before rating Go figure right? I can't review this book without standing up against the culture on Goodreads that made this whole situation possible in the first place How how does this sort of thing happen? How do we as readers allow ourselves to become so jaded that we allow one fellow reviewer to totally decide our reading habits for us? One fellow reviewer with a nasty habit of using debut authors to bolster her own public image I might add Shouldn't we intellectual thinkers do the intellectual thing and actually check out these sort of things for ourselves? I get not wanting to support an author if you think the content is problematic but at least get thineself to a library stat and do your own fact checking before you jump on every bandwagon you see Especially when there are people's hopes dreams and very livelihoods on the line I cannot imagine spending years of my life writing a book only to have one single review set her twitter followers on me because she's looking for internet morality points And lets be clear here that this is exactly what happened There is something incredibly ironic in the fact that we as a community have placed a white woman's review on a pedestal and completely accepted her opinion on what is or is not racist in the first place  I don't mean to imply that I think I have a complete handle on the subject either but I'm encouraging people to do their own due diligence and find out for themselves not acting like the creative expression police and asking my followers to torpedo a brand new author's debut book with allegations that are disingenuous at best and slanderous at worst She hits every buzzword she knew in her review racism homophobia abelism assault self harm and even name drops the holocaust along with while ignoring critical things like context or the simple fact that what she was reading is something we once celebrated as good storytelling before twitter and tumblr and now Goodreads crowds decided feigning outrage at  everything was the appropriate response and a healthy way to view the world She calls this book about a FANTASY WORLD FILLED WITH SHAPESHIFTERS AND MADE UP CREATURES dangerousAnd the people attacking this book haven't stopped there They continue to drum up negative conversation around this book and encourage each other to brigade other books edited by Harleuin Teen Oh and they targeted Kirkus for daring to give this book an award Also as a fellow reviewer I have to say this You owe it to your followers to acknowledge when the contentthemeor plot of a book was too offensive for you personally to fully evaluate the literary aspects of the book with any degree of objectivity There are uite a few moments in that original review where she mentions sobbing and not being able to finish whole pages in the book because she was that deeply offended by it It is her right to be offended but if you're admitting to skipping over passages and allowing a book to take that level of emotional toll on you while reading it it might be time to admit you've lost objectivity and can't review it without personal stances coloring your opinion of a work of fictionThere's actually very little literary analysis if any present in this original review Which isn't all that surprising because much of what this person wrote was originally live tweeted to her followers in the first place And really how much context can you truly impart to your followers with 140 characters? The answer not much Not only does that original review lack context in many areas and dangerously encourages the censorship of creative expression; it was also purposefully done to give this woman's blog twitter handle and business visibility while harming the chances of another person's livelihood and success That's downright predatory behavior in my book and if you're the type that needs to tear down others and encourage the destruction of another person's career to bolster your own internet identity you seriously need to re examine your priorities Just sayingIt's like I woke up one day and suddenly found myself living in a world where people seek out things to be offended by and to decry via social media as some sort of proof of how noble and virtuous they are But you see the thing is when it comes to books or any form of creative expression you are not morally legally or ethically obligated to readwatchor listen to anything that doesn't appeal to you That also means that you don't have the right to brigade new authors editors and publishing houses because a particular book might offend you without actually reading it I've made it uite clear by now that I believe that original review lacks context and purposefully misleads but at least that reviewer took the time to read the damn book to fish out all those uotes The rest of you who rated one star didn't even bother doing that And that's wrong Every time you rate a book 1 star without reading it because of something you heard you snuff out creative expression in the future Also a fairy loses its wings This is how you get censorship guys By demanding every story be told the way you want you remove opportunities to see things from another perspective in the future Basically if you don't think you're going to like it don't read it and move on Stop with the senseless slaughter of debut authors reputations and careers based off of rumor and half truths Now as for The Black Witch itselfHow ironic that the book that garnered so much controversy from keyboard warriors this year for being so offensive happens to be the most diverse book I've read this year and also one of the most hopeful This is a story about realizing how you may be a product of your environment and upbringing This is a story about one woman realizing the dangers of the way she had been conditioned to think for her entire life and overcoming those notions This is a story about redemption and friendship and the beauty that comes with realizing that there is strength in diversity and multiculturalism What I Loved The world building is so great Seriously Laurie Forest thought this thing OUT Lots of YA fantasy kind of half asses the world building If you're lucky you get a castle royalty and magic imbibed human characters However here there are numerous fantasy races and they're all so vastly different from one another And they all have histories and legends and preconceived notions within their races that force them to challenge themselves and grow and learn to trust each the people they once feared or hated over time As a result the world feels vast and real and lived in It has not one history but multiple histories and cultures for its creatures And given that Elloren comes from such an incredibly sheltered background she provides uite an interesting lens for the viewer to experience the diversity and promise of the world through Similarly the characters their races and their cultures are great Elloren is obviously the most dynamic and well written character in the book Given that she's so misguided at the start I won't lie and say that I wasn't frustrated by her actions from time to time but that's the point She's overcoming years of an unhealthy upbringing and by the end I was rooting for the changes she was undergoing And she's not the only one The entire core cast at the school is so great I believed in their friendship and I loved watching it grow and bloom over time as they all come to places of better understanding with each other Their cultural heritages are each uniue and so compelling The characterization was just really well done in this book and I've got to give it credit There's some really lovely uotes mixed in during all that character growth that really highlights why it's so important that Elloren and her friends continue to challenge themselves and learn to put aside everything they once knew Such as  Real education doesn't make your life easy It complicates things and makes everything messy and disturbing But the alternative Elloren Gardner is to live your life based on injustice and liesThe Magical lore is intriguing and has a lot of potential to get even better There was a lot of lore around the magic established in this book Powerless though she may be Elloren is surrounded by magical creatures and there's a lot of little magical moments thrown in regardless I'm really excited to see where some of it goes next What I Didn't LoveElloren's aunt Seriously she can go fall in a hole for all I care But as the source of all of Elloren's misguided ideas about race she's supposed to be a character you hate so this is definitely NOT a fault of the writer I had one tiny complaint about a kiss between 2 characters I'm not going to name them because spoilers but it seemed like they had just met and then were kissing And while it doesn't end up being very important to the rest of story at all and can probably be chalked up to horny teens that comprise lots of YA instalove still rubs me the wrong way That ending though I wanted It felt a tiny bit abrupt to me especially because an event a Ball that had been spoken of earlier in the book doesn't get to actually take place having been saved for book 3 I think that sort of made it feel a bit cliffhanger y than it absolutely needed to Still not even those minor complaints can distract from the fact that I loved this book I kept going back and forth between 4 and 5 stars but the way the characters develop and the way the world building unfolds really puts this one over the top for me Besides enough people railroaded this book unfairly that I think 5 stars from me is than fair in this case The Black Witch is a wonderful YA fantasy that deserves credit than it gets I thought it was so creative compelling and important despite what naysayers who have never read the book might have you think If you take anything away from this review let it be this Please give this book a chance At the very least rethink your 1 star brigade reviews in the future Allow authors their right to creative expression without getting offended on other people's behalf especially when you're taking 1 very biased review completely at face value without doing your own due diligence ★★★★★  55 Give this book a chance stars

  5. Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin says:

    UPDATE 199 Kindle US 92919This book was fan freaking tastic Even though I wanted to beat about 1500 people 😄I love about 15 people in this book They were so damn awesome First off Elloren Rafe and Trystan were all brought up by their uncle Edwin And good ole uncle brought them up to be good peeps They were all still tarnished by untrue beliefs but it all comes out in good time ladies and gents They are all descendants of The Black Witch and uncle is keeping some things hidden from Elloren Then ole evil auntie comes and takes Elloren off to university where her brothers go There is a lot in between that storyline but you can read that yourself Evil auntie wants Elloren to marry this mage named Lukas When Elloren refuses auntie makes it hard for her at university You see the Garderians think they are the better race We have elves werewolves selkies dragons etc They are called The Evil Ones which is crap Well auntie sets it up where Elloren has to work with some said Evil Ones and bunk with some said Evil Ones Little did evil auntie know this is the best thing that could have happened to Elloren because she eventually finds out the truth about these creatures and makes friends with many and so do her brothers There is even love in the air ❤️ But none of this is supposed to happen so a lot of stuff goes down I seriously hope we see Elloren come into her own in the next book I know she has to be all powerful damn it and I want to see her fire up the world SPOILER UOTE Sweet Ancient One in the Heavens Above what a mess we're all in I've stolen a Selkie Yvan's plotting to steal a military dragon Both Rafe and Aislinn are in love with Lupines and I'm becoming increasingly close friends with a shunned Elfin Icaral This has actually gone way beyond a mess We're all threading on increasingly dangerous ground here What on Erthia are we all going to do from here? Like I said before I love so many of the characters but the werewolf Diana is my favorite She's just bad to the bone Mel ❤️MY BLOG Melissa Martin's Reading List

  6. Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies says:

    “Elloren” Aunt Vyvian breathes “you have grown into the absolute image of your grandmother”It’s a huge compliment and I want to believe it My grandmother was not only one of my people’s most powerful Mages she was also considered to be very beautiful This book has an overwhelmingly unprecedentedly low rating I suspect it's because of the controversies this book has generated This is unfortunate because I believe this book's low rating should be due to the fact that it is painfully bad not to mention mind numbingly dull rather than anything racially offensive within the book I've been reading this book for a week and I can't read than a few chapters at a time because it is just so bad There is no complexity in this book; any conflicts within it is so simple and idiotically presented that it might as well have been written for a first grader's comprehension There they are My tormentors Sitting there eating spice cake“The denizens of hell do not get to eat cake” I snarl heart racing I don't give a fuck about the racism We're talking about elves and werewolf type shit here and I'm too tired to care about any metaphorical offense What DOES offend me is1 The constant girl on girl hatred2 The fact that the only nice girls are the outcast ugly ones Tierney Calix is by far the ugliest Gardnerian girl I’ve ever laid eyes on Reed thin her face is sharp her nose unevenly hooked her straight hair oily and uncombed 3 The fact that all the girls are mean and the meanest most beautiful girl wants the guy who's in lurve with Elloren “Fallon is obsessed with Lukas Grey”Ah him again“Sothey’re courting?”“No” she puts in flatly “Not to my knowledge From what I’ve seen Lukas has little interest in the girl” My aunt’s face twists into a disgusted sneer “Even though Fallon throws herself at him uite wantonly” 4 The fact that the main character is so beautiful and looks JUST like her famous grandma who is the most famousest witch ever 5 The fact that the most desired boy in the book wants to become betrothed to her after their first meeting6 The fact that the writing is terrible and laughable7 The fact that the conflicts between the mythical races in the book are simplistically presented8 The fact that the beautiful brave main character spends half the fucking book bawling her eyes out9 The fact that there is a love triangle10 The fact that this book is fucking long and a waste of my time

  7. Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky) Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky) says:

    I've completely re written this review If you read the earlier version maybe take another look? It is really long sorry about that lol Part 1 is the review Part 2 is the discussion of the controversy around this book re written based on my thinking of and discussion around this topic here on GR in the last few weeksPART ONE THE REVIEW “People see what they expect to see Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice” 35 starsThis is essentially an origin story Poor stylistic choices and an unlikeable protagonist affect the power of an otherwise engaging novel about prejudice the power of friendship and the value of education CHARACTERSHonestly I had a lot of difficultly with Elloren the protagonist she is a cry baby and kind of an asshole She doesn’t do a single nice thing until approx halfway thru the book That is way way way too far into the novel Have you heard the common catch phrase “save the cat”? It refers to the recommendation that writers have their protagonist do something nice early in the novel to garner sympathy Likewise villians “kick the dog” in the first act Not every novel uses such simplistic moral frameworks But in a novel such as this where the protagonist is a prejudice privileged young woman she should probably “save the cat” early on There was nothing admirable about Elloren I could point to no inherent goodness that allowed me to overcome my initial distaste And the other problem I had was her description of a character with a physical deformity She describes having to adjust to the unpleasantness of her appearance Like that isn’t prejudice That is just you being a fucking bitch Ellenora Add to that the unfortunate girl on girl hate hmm This is a major developmental problem within the novel and I’m honestly appalled that Forest was not advised by her publisher to significantly re write the first two acts of the manuscript to correct this issueWhy did I still enjoy it?Luckily it is an ensemble cast One of the most disingenuous aspects of the critical reviews is that they fail to acknowledge that all of the characters have extreme prejudice These characters feature heavily in the story And some of them are downright deserving of a gold star or ten ☺At the core of the novel is a beautiful story about how young people fall in love build friendships and overcome prejudice when given the opportunity to get to know one another This is true to life PLOTThis novel has a lot of set up and the pacing isn’t always uite right I always try to give debut novels leniency because many of my fave authors started off with sharp weaknesses which are rounded off in later releases There is a lot going on in the background of these novels Some people criticised this because every student they know is active in the political and military activity of their country at the age of 17Personally I appreciated the slow “waking up” of various characters to the grim future staring at them if they continued to ignore the larger world outside their university bubbleTBH it was sort of a cross between Gossip Girl if Gossip Girl addressed serious social and political issues and Degrassi High in a fantasy world That probably sounds terrible But actually it was rather wonderful PS there is a lot of romance and sobbing in this novel It sounded really kickass in the blurb but actually the story was kinda girly? Like Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants girly? I think I expected something closer to Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister but I got Dawson’s Creek in Never Land Heavy sarcasm and eye rolling intended WRITINGArgh I honestly wanted to be able to rave about this book But there were a few problems in every part of the triad character plot writing that shapes a 5 star book that just kept dragging down my overall enjoyment Transitions Forest had the most bizarre transitions I haven’t seen something this amateurish in a trad pubbed novel in literally years So Forest would do this thing where Elloren would tell a story to another character about something that happened a few weeks earlier or recount in her head something that happened a few days before I cannot for the fucking life of me understand why she did this Just tell the fucking story in order It was almost as bad as the SP books I read where the author keeps putting the character to bed to end a scene FFS I don’t understand why she did this It was so jarring So frustrating So fucking pointless The first time I highlighted it and thought “ok everyone gets one free pass” by the fourth occurrence I was tearing my hair out What sort of editor lets a writer do this? Had scenes been heavily cut and mashed together? Did Forest have too many scene fragments and this was the solution?I know it seems like a stupid thing to get annoyed about but I often find that it is in books I otherwise enjoyed that these mistakes are all the jarring Otherwise the writing was solid nothing too spectacular but effective with a clear voiceTHEMESI have seen several explanations for the fury attached to this book 1 This book is racist ableist and homophobic2 This book tries to explore racism but ends up displaying and re enforcing racist stereotypes and troupes3 This book is a “white saviour” novelOk so this is tricky because I’m really uncomfortable arguing with a POC about whether something is racist or not So I’m going to put forward these statements and readers can take them however they like1 A direct comparison between modern race relations in say America with the situation created in this novel is very difficult to make Why? Because the region in the novel has a long history of violence prejudice and genocide on all sides I was a bit shocked by the people who were most angered by this novel To me the much obvious analogy in the real world of geo politcal relations would frame Elloren as a sheltered Israelite interacting with Palestine people for the first time Make of that what you will But it certainly wasn’t a clear cut story of colonialism or slavery 2 Elloren doesn’t save anyone As of the end of the novel other characters many disenfranchised under the current “world order” of the novel are actively doing significantly to undercut ineuity then Elloren Her admiration for these characters is obvious Should Elloren be the title character? Probably not But as it stands this is very much a team effort kind of story The exception is the selkie who is saved by Elloren But is mostly healed and comforted by other disenfranchised characters 3 The prejudice displayed in the novel is challenged often within the same page It was very clear to me that you were meant to find the racism repugnant Nobody would read this with heart eyed sincerity Unlike some other very popular books that actually reinforce racism often unconsciously So what are the themes in TBW the power of education relationships and engagement to undermine prejudice of all kindsOverall I thoroughly enjoyed this novel despite it's flaws I would recommend it to most fantasy readers who enjoy meaty thematic elements and the beautiful engaging drama of the YA genre PART TWO THE CONTROVERSYSo it is no secret that controversies in the book world are at an all time high this year Here is the current situation• Shawna Cait and a few other reviewers publish critical reviews of TBW telling people it is racist sexist homophobic and ableist • Some reviewers panic and remove their star rating• LL McKinney and other influential WOC on twitter in the blogosphere and here on twitter encourage readers to 1 star TBW in protest • This leads to an overall rating that currently stands at 2 stars• Emily May Robin Hobb and a few other influential reviewers writers and bloggers provide a contrary position Much drama ensues • LL McKinney has her unreleased novel 1 starred in retaliation for some supposedly racist comments she made on twitter whiteness tires me so Many of the people 1 starring her book decried the 1 starring of TBW and are some of Forest’s most vocal supporters Read here Those reviews are removed but the reviews on TBW remain Much drama ensues• Some reviewers who previously gave TBW a high or medium star rating retaliate further by removing their star rating of TBW even thou Forest had nothing to do with the drama over on LL McKinney’s book A Blade So Black This has also occurred in the context of freuent fury over representations of POC in new releases Some examples include• Carve the Mark• All the Crooked Saints• Before She IgnitesI’ve had several people ask why there has been so much drama around books lately Here is my answerOUTRAGE CULTUREI suspect the rise in the popularity of book tube and #booktwitter has contributed to the increase in bookdrama and outrage There is something instinctively addictive about the drama and when you have big influxes of people who maybe don't usually spend time on GR voting and commenting on every review on a single book the drama gets flooded thru a huge number of readers feeds The result is that it snowballs into a massive deal Previously if a heavy hitting GR reviewer critiued a book they were only one reviewer on a page full of reviews And they didn't usually encourage others to provide fake 1 star reviews with a link to the original review The exception being when the community felt an author was behaving badly GR addressed this by blanket banning these sort of pile on's In addition rising partisanship is causing rifts and frustration across all media platforms There are a whole hosts of reasons for this that are too long and detailed to explain here but it seems likely that GR and the online book community are actually behind the general community in terms of the outrage chasers Every successful blog writer in the world knows the best way to get traction on their site is to post really divisive controversial pieces Book reviewers used to do it by posting negative reviews on popular books They are cottoning on to easier explosive ways to manufacture interest DIVERSITY in PUBLISHINGThe other less cynical factor is that diverse writers readers and reviewers are gaining influence This inevitably creates tension drama and is actually a good thing It is a chronic truism that if your reading fantasy all characters are white except maybe the villains and savages A part of this is frustration within the industry for POC trying to be published At the back end I don't see the evidence of this because I read so many popular novels written by writers who aren't white This is mostly due to survivor bias thou we readers only see the successful writers and so don't recognise the problemThat doesn't mean it doesn't exist When so many people in the industry are saying the same thing it seems likely that it is a problem No wonder they are furious and viciously criticising white writers who get published with race plots The whole thing is pretty interesting because 10 years ago a lot of authors of colour were complaining about being forced to write exclusively about race Now people like LL are say they don't think white writers should be allowed to write about race because they are cashing in on the flux of interest in reading about diverse characters settings I think there were similar foragainst arguments regarding male authors being published with books about female MC's above female authors I couldn't imagine anyone making that argument these days Although you still get the occasional accusation that the publishing industry is sexist the statistics suggest otherwise women or employed in the industry then men and women are making it as mid list authors then men Unsurprising as women read then men Like women a few decades ago POC are a largely invisible reading group The surprise success of a number of writers bloggers and novels that deal with diversity has proven otherwise The same thing can be seen with LGBT readers and writers The publishing industry will readjust a lot of the fury will die down and these sort of dramas will fadeThe evidence of change is already revealing itself last years literary awards were impressively diverse which caused a lot of old white men to cry into their cornflakes It is understandable that people are getting really defensive and angry Change is within their grasp and likely won't occur unless they are loud enough and ferocious enough That is why I am very wary of criticising POC who are fighting for change in the industry broadly For them this is war For me this is a bit of unpleasantness around a book releaseGOODREADS POLICYAt the core of the issue is GR's refusal to create a blanket rule regarding what is acceptable and what isn't When can a book’s rating be decimated and an author’s carrer destroyed and when is that unacceptable?If readers comment on an author's convictions for child abuse the review is deleted Which makes it baffling that they chose not to delete reviews that accuse a writer of racism on one book but delete them from another The line seems to be if they said stuff in the book that justifies the accusation it can stay but if they said something racist in another public forum that isn't allowed Or maybe if the criticism is included within a book review it can stay but if it is the only thing in the review it will be deleted It is all so unclear The result is people feel unfairly targeted But GR isn't interested in resolving the issue and they have never had any real platform competition that offers the ease GR delivers So why invest time in something bound to piss at least some people off? ONLINE PROTESTI came across another review arguing that the 1 star reviews are a form of protest and thus a legitimate expression of their political social power This is something I have had a keen interest in since the anonymous DDoS attacks on Scientology and PayPal It raises some interesting uestions about what protest is in the online space I supported the attacks initially until you think thru the conseuences what if every feminist novel had a one star rating on GR due to MRA's brigading those books having not read them and following the lead of someone they admire with online influence What if trump supporters orchestrated DDoS attacks on media outlets that gave unfavourable coverage? It's a slippery slope I'm not pretending I have answers to this But I do think it is worth thinking and talking aboutPERFORMANCE IDENTITY and SOCIAL PROOFINGSocially enforced morality is the collection of social cultural scripts we use to monitor good and bad behaviour in the public sphere Nerdwriter recently did a great video on this topic which you can watch here if you are interestedHe makes an observation in the video that opinion pieces just like reviews here on goodreads have had a resurgence in power providing persuasive scripts which people are parroting without much thought Performance identity used to be something that mostly only famous people or CEO’s engaged in With the rise of social media everyone has an online identity they carefully or not so carefully curate What we say on the internet is forever And people are keen to demonstrate that they are “good people” Some of the “protest” behaviour where people are 1 starring a book with a link to the orginal review are engaging in social proofing “look I’m a good person who hates racism” The problem being of course that sometimes the headlines are just flat out wrong In which case people are contributing to a public witch hunt destroying a person’s life without having any of the facts of the matter It takes each individual who shares the review a few seconds But this controversy will haunt Forest for the rest of her career That is a pretty serious action You should be absolutely sure the person who you are denigrating deserves that life sentence And how can you if you read one person’s opinion and didn’t even bother to engage with the original text?The Western justice system is founded on the idea of fair trail But we seem to forget that principle when it comes to social justice trials We also seem to forget that they are even damaging to a person’s career identity and future prospects then a criminal conviction Even convicted criminals eventually earn the right to have their past transgressions forgotten their records expunged WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT?Before you go advertising your moral superiority by 1 starring this book with a statement like never never never racist af and a link to one review perhaps you should consider reading the book in uestion? You aren't really doing anything to contribute to difficult and complex discussions about how people of colour or women or LGBT characters are represented by jumping on every bandwagon you see riding byStarring a book you haven’t read is up to you I can’t tell you what to do But because I’m a bit of an asshole here is a helpful guide if you are on the fence about whether to engage in this behaviourDid you rate this book?a Before you read itorb After you read it?If you answered a that is pretty stupid no matter what your justification If you answered b good job you understand how to read rate and review novels On a serious note I wanted to thank everyone who has commented on this review for their polite thoughtful and sincere engagement with this difficult topic

  8. Robin Hobb Robin Hobb says:

    College or University A time when almost every student discovers that a not everyone believes what you believe and b some of what you know is wrongThe Black Witch captures that time in the protagonist's life as Elloren leaves the shelter of her rustic uncle's home and goes off to school under the guidance of her politically power aunt Elloren has been 'wand tested' for magic and found lacking despite the family lineage of powerful mages She is still a potentially powerful pawn for her aunt's ambitions but only if she surrenders her independence and knuckles to her aunt's threats and bribes This is a strong 'first novel' YA entry by Laurie Forest It excels at depicting realistically how we react when we confront prejudices our own and others The 'come to realize' moment is powerful and graphic Elloren is a believable protagonist in her sometimes painful growth towards accepting the truth If you enjoy tales of both magic and coming of age and going off to school this book will satisfy all three of those flavors

  9. Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ says:

    35 stars rounding up Review first posted on Fantasy Literature In an ironic twist The Black Witch 2017 a book expressly dedicated to exploring the problem of prejudice and promoting diversity and tolerance has been accused by many voices of being the very thing it is most devoted to showing as wrong Words like “offensive” “racist” “ableist” and “homophobic” have been hurled at the author and this book It’s understandable because the society and most of the characters depicted in The Black Witch ― including the main character Elloren a beautiful and otherwise kindhearted girl ― are prejudiced and dismissive even cruel toward other races It’s also deeply unfortunate and unfair because obviously the author’s primary purpose is to show how even a nice person can be steeped in prejudice because of their culture and upbringing and how that can change gradually as they meet new people have new experiences and slowly come to know better It’s actually a great idea for a young adult fantasy novelSeventeen year old Elloren Gardner is a member of one of the most prominent families in the country of Gardneria She has the black hair forest green eyes and white skin with a subtle shimmer that characterize her people the Gardnerian Mages and is also the spitting image of her famous grandmother Carnissa Gardner a powerful mage known as the Black Witch who saved her people during a bitter war But Elloren seems to be lacking in any magical talent at all Orphaned at a young age her Uncle Edwin has raised her and her two brothers in the country far away from the capital city of Valgard and its power politics and Elloren’s Aunt Vyvian a member of the High Mage CouncilBut now Aunt Vyvian has come to bring Elloren to the city and from there to the prestigious Verpax University in the neighboring country of Verpacia Elloren wants to become an apothecary; her aunt is insistent that she first “wandfast” the Gardnerian form of marriage with a powerful young mage Lukas Grey Elloren resists even though she’s strongly attracted to Lukas; she’s just met him and she promised her uncle that she’d wait to wandfast for a couple of years until she finishes her education Aunt Vyvian is highly displeased ― and once Elloren gets to the university she finds out just how many ways her powerful and well connected aunt can find to show her displeasure make life difficult for Elloren and convince Elloren to do what her aunt wantsVerpax University is a colorful and diverse place a melting pot of many races there are various types of fae water air fire and Kelts a non magical human race Lupines wolf shapeshifters Icarals bat winged shapeshifters with fire wielding power elves selkies and It’s a bit confusing actually Elloren is assigned two Icaral type roommates as part of her aunt’s punishing regime and is forced to work in the university’s kitchen amongst humble non Gardnerian workers of various races ― most of whom hate her on sight just because she’s a Gardnerian and part of the oppressive ruling class More hatred comes Elloren’s direction from Fallon Bane a talented Gardnerian Mage and a romantic rival for Lukas’ attentionAt Verpax University Laurie Forest begins delving deeply into the theme of prejudices particularly the lies that people can tell each other and themselves about their history how awful people are who are different from them and how their own race or nationality is better than any other type The Gardnerians think they’re best and are disdainful toward other races but we also see prejudice and unkind treatment based on racial stereotypes from practically every other group Prejudice isn’t limited to just the Gardnerians the ruling class But they are the ones currently in power and their leaders are actively looking to become powerfulElloren narrates this story in first person present tense and some readers will find it just too painful or off putting to be inside Elloren’s head and hearing her voice as she says all kinds of bigoted things which she does very freuently especially in the first half of the book But it gradually becomes clear to Elloren that she and her society have been wrong It takes most of the book and even as she’s slowly changing she still says and thinks a lot of stupid things But that’s entirely realistic Change is not an immediate magical process and not all prejudiced people are evil and ugly and villainous and they shouldn’t be depicted as such even in a YA novel Many people are biased just because they don’t know and have never been taught any better and that’s what is going on with Elloren in The Black WitchThe world created by Laurie Forest in The Black Witch is a fairly traditional fantasy world with races and types that are largely recognizable with a few original twists like the Urisk a people with a magical affinity for gemstones The university setting owes a fairly large debt to Hogwarts and the HARRY POTTER series There are a fair number of broad hints that despite Elloren’s current lack of magical power at some point she’ll have a breakthrough and become the new Black Witch of the prophecies so The Chosen One trope is definitely in play here as well It’s the additional factor of the widespread prejudice bigotry and cruelty in this world and Forest’s focus on that problem that set The Black Witch apart from otherwise similar books in the YA fantasy genre It’s encouraging to see not just Elloren but many other characters of different races come together and learn to be accepting of each other The climax of the story is a perfect example of interracial cooperation where multiple characters play a vital role The Black Witch has a few other literary weaknesses There are some key characters who are strictly cardboard portraits of hatred and bigotry Elloren’s enemy and rival Fallon is one a standard vicious ueen bee character who is desperately jealous of Elloren’s relationship with Lukas It would have been preferable to see a rival for Elloren who has some good points other than her great magical power and some subtlety as a character Lukas’ character may offend readers who don’t like romantic interests in the form of hot guys who are alpha jerks though this can be excused given the way their relationship shifts over the course of the novel Additionally Forest’s inexperience as an author shows through occasionally with “saidisms” and other trite or overused phrasing In Chapter 14 for example I counted six times in eight pages where a character “spits out” a laugh a comment or a sound of derisionAs much as anything else The Black Witch is the story of a young woman who is slowly clearing the webs of prejudice and bigotry from her head Being forced together with Icaral roommates the most despised of all other races beginning to fall for someone who is of another race and who is perhaps even different than she initially thinks and watching some of those who are closest to her do the same all help that process along This change process may happen too slowly or painfully for some readers but it does add a different flavor to this romance and adventure oriented YA fantasy the first in a planned series of four booksRe rounding up my 35 rating To be honest my first inclination was to round down; it's closer to a 3 star read for me than 4 stars But a I give the book some extra credit for taking on the very difficult subject of prejudice however imperfectly it handles it and b with all the 1 star ratings out there based solely on jumping on the bandwagon I felt like doing my very small part to help offset that I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review Thank you

  10. Sana Sana says:

    This book is literally everything I wished Harry Potter would be I LOVED this book so much oh my god LAURIE FORST GIVE ME THE NEXT BOOK NOWNo this book was NOT homophobic or racist in any way And if you're gonna comment otherwise and start bullshit I'm warning you now fuck off because I am not in the mood for this bullshit today or tomorrow Oh wait than half of you didn't even read the book so 😑 you can't even argueAnyways I'm so glad I read this for myself I'm so glad I gave this book a chance because it's one of my favorites now I can't believe people are one starring and trashing a book based on ONE persons review while a bajillion others read it and found nothing problematic about this book Honestly stop rating a book one star without reading it?? You have no idea what a shit you are by doing that I strongly suggest you don't follow the one star trashing of this book and give it a chance because honestly it's so fucking great RTC I'm going to get unfriended by so many people aren't I? Lmao anyways let's do this I'm so pumped

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The Black Witch[KINDLE] ✿ The Black Witch ❃ Laurie Forest – A new Black Witch will riseher powers vast beyond imaginingElloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch Carnissa Gardner who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardne A new Black Witch will riseher powers vast beyond imaginingElloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch Carnissa Gardner who drove back the enemy The Black MOBI :↠ 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 elseWhen 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 WitchAs 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 rebelsif only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to fear.

About the Author: Laurie Forest

Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of The Black MOBI :↠ dryads dragons and wands She is the author of THE BLACK WITCH LA BRUJA NEGRADIE SCHWARZE ZAUBERIN WANDFASTED LIGHT MAGE THE IRON FLOWER THE REBEL MAGES which is the book form of Wandfasted Light Mage together in one volume THE SHADOW WAND Sh.