Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Thickety: A Path Begins

J. A. White

Hand in hand, the witch's children walked down the empty road.
When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr's Realm. But mostly it's called the Thickety.

The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her.
The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.
And that is just the beginning of the story.

This book was one of those that caught my eye and I knew it was a risk to take a chance on a story about witchcraft. Often these sorts of stories tend to run along black magic, pentagrams, and other things that give me the willies. I greatly dislike black magic and stay far away from it in any form. I was leery as I read, seeing that the story was heading in a dangerous direction. Oddly, the line that the author danced around was okay for me. It was a dark story, one that would have frightened (and probably delighted) me as a child. Kara has a complex path to follow in this first book, finding magic and seeing its dangers and delights. The impressive part of the book is that it isn’t really about magic, it’s about choices and who you are deep inside, about the gifts you have and how you choose to use them. I would be comfortable grouping this book into paranormal and horror genres, but for younger readers, and therefore not as freakishly scary as some others that have given me nightmares as an adult (psychological thrillers are terrifying to me). That being said, this makes it difficult to review this book from a content standpoint, because it definitely won’t be for everyone, and will give some kids nightmares. It was reminiscent of books I’ve read about the Salem Witch Trials, like “The Burning Time”. That book was horrifying to me. The nice thing is, this book is so firmly in the fantasy genre, that it makes it less terrifying because it isn’t based on actual events or people. Still, parents be careful with this one, I’d recommend a child that is more mature; preferably at least 14.

I give it a 3.75 out of 5

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