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A fierce yet thoughtful historical fantasy based on the witch trials in 17th century England
October 2021 Debut of the Month | Shortlisted for the 2021 Branford Boase Award
A gobble-it-up fiery and intense yet thoughtful debut novel about family, betrayal, and witchcraft. Opening the pathway to a fabulous historical fantasy series this calls out as a must-read for young adults. Set during the civil war in 17th century England, 15 year old Evey has to flee with her little sister Dill when her mother is murdered. As with all good young adult novels, it is perfectly easy to slide into and really enjoy as an adult too, particularly with the wonderful cover drawing you in. Touching history, it flies into fantasy, as author Finbar Hawkins examines the meaning of witch. Evey is a complex character and as she tells her own story she has the ability of self-reflection, even if she doesn’t always like what she sees. Witch is a read that fair on crackles with energy, it also encourages thoughts to both consider and soar and deservedly sits as one of our LoveReading debuts of the month.
The Branford Boase Award Judges said: ‘I loved the language, the setting, the relationships’; a wonderful sense of foreboding, it’s deliciously dark’; ‘I really enjoyed it, a rollicking good read’.
Set in the 17th century, a breathtaking debut, and a potential prize-winner, about the power of women, witchcraft, fury, revenge and the ties that bind us.
After witnessing the brutal murder of her mother by witch-hunters, Evey vows to avenge her and track down the killers. Fury burns in her bright and strong. But she has promised her mother that she will keep Dill, her little sister, safe. As the lust for blood and retribution rises to fever pitch, will Evey keep true to the bonds of sisterhood and to the magick that is her destiny?
'Evey is a marvellous, complex, flawed heroine ... Hawkins is a master of raising and re-raising the stakes ... The tale builds to a climax of incredible, cinematic imagery ... A fantastic first outing' -- Cory Doctorow, author of Surface Attack
'Raw, mystical and beautifully told, Witch is the story of a young woman's self-discovery in a hostile world. A striking debut' -- Kirsty Applebaum
'Witch is a rare thing, a book both brilliant and original, as strange and dark as it is beautiful. A tale of revenge set in war-ravaged landscape, ruled by fear and superstition; of redemption and love between two sisters; of the corrupting power of 'Magick.' All this. And more besides' -- Chris Vick, author of CILIP Carnegie-shortlisted Girl Boy Sea
'I couldn't stop reading this 5-star story for teens, full of witchcraft, revenge and the power of women' -- Mel Darbon, author of Rosie Loves Jack
'I felt its dark jewelled cloak fall about my shoulders and magic me to the time of witch-craft. A story that captures sibling rivalry so perfectly and tells its tale so beautifully I didn't want it to finish' -- Jasbinder Bilan
'An assured debut of sisterhood and fury' - The Bookseller
'Dark, spooky, and with beautiful lyrical prose, this is the ideal book to curl up with as the nights get darker and colder in the run up to Halloween' - BookTrust
'A book filled with enchantment, in every sense. Dark, exciting and pacy, Witch brilliantly balances magic and realism' -- Anthony McGowan
'There is real magic here, though what leaps off the page is the creepy atmosphere and the raw emotion of a grieving, raging girl ... Perfect reading for a dark, stormy night' - Irish Times Weekend
'Hawkins' descriptive power is considerable' - Financial Times
'[An] adventure story where good triumphs over evil. The more perceptive and mature reader may well see echoes of the battle between patriarchy and the traditional ways of healing which were mostly the domain of trusted womenfolk. The lyrical prose and the attempt at an appropriate historical idiom are attractive' - The School Librarian
'Finbar Hawkins's debut novel is notionally a young adult title, but grown-ups will find it darkly satisfying - a brilliantly paced and compellingly atmospheric story of society's need to find victims, how fear spawns mania and how the 'other' is persecuted. Should sound familiar in 2020' - Time Out
|Publication date:||14th October 2021|
|Publisher:||Zephyr an imprint of Head of Zeus|
|Year Groups:||Key Stage 4|
|Topics:||Fantasy / Magical, Horror & Ghost Stories, Historical Fiction|
Finbar Hawkins is a graduate of the Bath Spa MA in Writing for Young People. He grew up in Blackheath, London and now lives in Wiltshire with his family, in a landscape steeped in myth and legend. He is a creative director for Aardman Animations in Bristol, where he makes fun interactive things for children of all ages. Photo credit Gavin StrangeMore About Finbar Hawkins