Posted in Book Reviews

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

Firstly, thank you so much to James for sending me a copy of your amazing debut novel,The Apprentice Witch, which I absolutely loved reading! This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

This is an enapprentice witchchanting read and I couldn’t put it down.  It’s one of those books that I wish didn’t come to an end as I wanted to read more about Arianwyn’s witchy adventures.  I can’t wait for the next book!

Arianwyn Gribble is poised to undertake her evaluation to become a fully-fledged witch but something goes horribly wrong and she fails her assessment.  With intervention by her grandmother, who serves on the Witches Council of Elders, Arianwyn is granted the status of Apprentice Witch and is sent off to serve the community of a sleepy town called Lull, in disgrace.

On her bus journey to her new home, she meets Salle Bowen and they become fast friends, which Arianwyn needs as she doesn’t know anyone in Lull.  Before leaving, she chooses a book from her grandmother’s bookshop titled “The Apprentice Witch’s Handbook”, which offers Arianwyn some comfort.  She is uncertain of her future but determined to prove that she is worthy of being a witch.

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Arianwyn soon discovers that there are lots of strange and magical things lurking in the shadows of the Great Wood forest near the town.  Things aren’t going smoothly for Arianwyn.  The more she tries to help families rid themselves of magical pests like snotlings, the more trouble she seems to get into when things go horribly wrong.

Nightmares of dark and evil magic and the arrival of her old school bully and rival, Gimma, throws Arianwyn’s world into turmoil as they are assigned to work together.  Unbeknownst to everyone around her, Arianwyn is struggling to contain a mysterious magic inside her.  Will she manage to contain it or will it wreak havoc on this small town?

The Apprentice Witch is a real coming of age story, with strong themes of friendship and courage, and characters you can’t help but love!  Arianwyn will weave her magical powers over you and capture your heart.  Even the premise that there are four cardinal glyphs used by witches when they create spells is totally believable.  It is as if James is allowing us a glimpse into a world we haven’t yet discovered as all the details seem so authentic.

I love the fact that the heroine in this story, Arianwyn, is filled with human flaws but is incredibly brave and overcomes her lack of confidence in herself to save the town.

James has assembled a great cast of characters from the bumbling mayor Josiah Belcher, to the mean and spiteful Gimma and the strong matriarchal figure of her grandmother. It is a tale of friendship, bravery and the power of self-belief.  This is a delightful and entertaining story, which I’m sure that you will enjoy as much as I have.

This captivating book is worthy of 

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