The Apprentice Witch
The Apprentice Witch
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Series: The Apprentice Witch Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Sent away in disgrace after failing her witch's assessment, Arianwyn learns that the remote community where she works as a magic apprentice is under the shadow of a dark hex infestation, a situation that is further complicated by a spiteful rival and mysterious dark elements that affect her magic.
Catalog Number: #6267782
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 318 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-338-11860-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-338-11860-5
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Arianwyn Gribble has suffered a blow. The evaluation that should have made her a full-fledged witch resulted only in humiliation and the conciliatory title apprentice witch. Even so, she's landed a position in the small town of Lull, where she is eager to prove her mettle. Nicol has avoided the well-trod boarding-school setting and created an interesting magical world where war simmers in the background, witchcraft is carefully governed, and witches' skills are appreciated by nonmagical folk. He also centers the practice of magic around glyphs, written symbols historically linked to witchcraft and spellcasting. As Arianwyn's abilities strengthen, she is haunted by visions of an unfamiliar glyph that both tempts and terrifies her. Her stint in Lull takes an unpleasant turn when Gimma, the mayor's niece and Arianwyn's school nemesis, arrives to lend a hand st as a dangerous dark spirit emerges in the Great Wood. While adorned with funny and charming details, Arianwyn's story is primarily one of personal growth and discovery that will gratify fantasy readers and Tiffany Aching fans.
Kirkus Reviews
An insecure young witch comes into her own in this pleasantly old-fashioned fantasy debut.Arianwyn Gribble desperately wants to serve in the Civil Witchcraft Authority. But after blowing up the testing device at her official evaluation, she is granted only a remote assignment with provisional certification as an "apprentice witch." Soon Arianwyn discovers that even sleepy little villages can harbor terrifying challenges. This world feels like an alternative mid-20th-century England, where everyone is default white and, despite the (apparently) exclusively female CWA, traditional gender roles hold firm. The story has a similar vintage vibe. The "glyph"-based magical system is coherent and consistent (if not particularly original), with little impact on ordinary life. Arianwyn is quite likable: brave, kind, and competent despite her almost crippling lack of self-confidence. While apparently old enough to live on her own and hold a responsible position, she reads as barely adolescent, providing all the more satisfaction as she gradually builds faith in her own abilities and wins the respect of the townsfolk. The remaining characters are simple stock types, nonetheless comforting in their familiarity. The narrative comes to a solid conclusion but with sufficient hints of a wider world—and deeper magic—to justify further adventures. Not every fantasy has to be epic, grimdark, or startlingly new; this one is as cozy as a teapot and as comfy as old slippers. (Fantasy. 11-16)
Publishers Weekly
In Nicol-s charming debut novel, failed witch Arianwyn Gribble learns of the power that comes with knowing one-s self-worth and conquering the darkness within. After Arianwyn botches her evaluation, she thinks her dreams of becoming a full-fledged witch and member of the Civil Witchcraft Authority are over, but she-s given a second chance: she will continue to be an apprentice witch in the small town of Lull until the time of her reevaluation. After arriving in Lull, Arianwyn realizes more is afoot: evil spirits from the Great Wood (a -dangerous and remote- forest filled with ancient spirits) are causing mayhem, a hex infection has taken root in the Great Wood, and a shadowy creature begins terrorizing the town, too. Nicol presents a world filled with magic and strange creatures, but unexplored plotlines-such as the ongoing but vaguely described war that has caused a shortage of witches, allowing Arianwyn the opportunity to be reevaluated-and underdeveloped characters don-t let the book to live up to its full potential. Still, Nicol lays enough groundwork to support future stories. Ages 8-12. (July)

School Library Journal
Gr 48Arianwyn just failed her witch's test, and she is humiliated. Thankfully, her grandmother pulls some strings that allow her to continue her education as an apprentice witch in Lull, a faraway town. Arianwyn sets out to prove that she is capable of greatness. Lull is right on the edge of the woods, where all sorts of dark creatures live. As a witch, Arianwyn must clear away and banish these creatures to make the area safe. What she hasn't told others is that a dark symbol haunts her dreams and thoughts. When an especially malevolent creature threatens the town, will Arianwyn have the courage to confront both this dark symbol and the beast? With brisk pacing and sophisticated writing, this book is one of those rare, unputdownable gems. This tale is somewhat reminiscent of J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and fans of magical fantasy will be enthralled with the details of this fascinating world. The ending wraps up neatly, though there is enough room for potential sequels. VERDICT Recommended for libraries looking for solid fantasy with shades of J.K. Rowling.Kristin Anderson, Bloomingdale Public Library, IL
Word Count: 65,848
Reading Level: 5.4
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.4 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 190834 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: HL760L

Arianwyn has flunked her witch's assessment: She's doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch -- much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.

But remote Lull is not as boring as it seems. Strange things are sighted in the woods, a dangerous infestation of hex creeps throughout the town, and a mysterious magical visitor arrives with his eye on her.

With every spirit banished, creature helped, and spell cast, Arianwyn starts to get the hang of being a witch -- even if she's only an apprentice. But the worst still lies ahead. For a sinister darkness has begun to haunt her spells, and there may be much more at stake than just her pride... for Arianwyn and the entire land.

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