The Black Witch is, basically, a political treatise couched as a dark fantasy novel. It's all about Powers That Be creating a climate of fear and hatred of others, denying creatures basic human rights, closing borders, pushing religious agenda... there's even slavery and hints at denying the poor healthcare. Even with all that, it's not heavy handed. Instead the story handles these subjects in a fresh and interesting way while still being engrossing and page-turning.— From Faith's Picks (page 1)
Critics are raving about Laurie Forests incredible debut, The Black Witch "Elloren learns to question authority and Gardnerian history, while developing real empathy for different races and species. Forest uses a richly imagined magical world to offer an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice." --Booklist, starred review "Exquisite character work, an elaborate mythology, and a spectacularly rendered universe make this a noteworthy debut, which argues passionately against fascism and xenophobia." --Publishers Weekly, starred review "This briskly paced, tightly plotted novel enacts the transformative power of education, creating engaging characters set in a rich alternative universe with a complicated history that can help us better understand our own." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review 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.