** Lucky number 7, with 3 books to go for #READ1040 (read 10 books in 40 days).**
Book 7: TheWitch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill
So, I really adored this book. Like, I wanted to give it a hug several times throughout the story because I just loved it so much. I read a lot of children’s (middle grade) fiction, especially fantasy. It’s my love. I also write children’s (fantasy) fiction, and every once in a while, I come across a book I enjoy so much, I wish I’d written it myself. I’m not sure there’s a higher compliment an author can pay, and THIS was one of those books.
There are many pieces that need to fit together, in order for a story to work. The story concept (is it unique?), the writing (Is it enjoyable?), and the characters (Do I care enough about them to root for them?). World-building and setting is woven in there too. Artistic world-building is a wonderful bonus. As a reader, I want them all (and as a writer, I hope to have them all), and THE WITCH’S BOY delivered.
The concept was fun… “The wrong boy would save her, and she him.” Sort of an anti-Chosen one. That caught my attention (as did the title—I love it).
The writing is lovely, and sometimes haunting. It’s cozy and charming, and I was enamored. The story opens with two twin boys, one who drowns in the river, as their father only had time to save one. Everyone felt he’d saved the wrong boy. I really liked the cast of characters. Ned, the main character—the wrong boy—was great. Adorable. Determined. Good. Aine and the wolf were great. The Queen was probably my favorite. Instantly loveable. Ooh, and the nine talking stones. They were fascinating.
The plot moved quickly enough, with plenty of adventure and conflict. I thought the different points of view wove together perfectly. My favorite thing was the magic. How it talked, and formed word’s across Ned’s skin. I liked that it was its own entity, powerful, and crafty—yet still in submission to Ned, who ultimately decided whether or not the magic was good.
I think the best word to sum up this book was satisfying. I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone--including YOU! Go read it! :)
I hope there is a sequel, or that Ms. Barnhill will introduce us to her next novel soon!