Following on from the much-loved ‘The Apprentice Witch’, James Nicol returns with the second story in the series. The magical world of ‘A Witch Alone’ is an immersive one that balances all different kinds of magic, from the dark and dangerous kind lurking in the woods to the warm and wonderful kind where compassion resides and a tea and cake can solve everything.
The story sees the return of Arianwyn, a newly-qualified witch who needs to find courage and self-belief as she seeks to work her magic to help those around her. Somewhat thrown in at the deep-end, Arianwyn returns to the town of Lull as the resident witch and is immediately kept busy by the demands of the townspeople, whether it’s removing bogglins from farmers’ fields or dealing with infestations of tamble-rats and nesting snotlings. However, there are much bigger fish to fry, as the High Elder has set Arianwyn a secret magical mission that will require courage, perseverance and skill. And alongside it all there’s the small matter of Arianwyn’s old rival Gimma making an appearance and acting very strangely indeed.
James Nicol’s style of storytelling is cosy and compelling. There is always enough danger and mystery to give the magical world depth and drive the plot, but never so much that it becomes threatening to the young reader. I recommend ‘A Witch Alone’ to readers across Key Stage 2 who will enjoy magical worlds that mix with the very human themes of courage, friendship and self-belief.
Read the full review of A Witch Alone on the Reading For Pleasure Blog.
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