In James Nicol's debut novel we meet Arianwyn, a young apprentice witch who is dispatched to the faraway town of Lull to see if she can tackle their growing problem with dark spirits. She hopes to impress the town's rather reticent mayor and earn full witch status in the process.
While in Lull she is taken under the wing of a more seasoned witch from the CWA (Civil Witchcraft Authority) and a kind and savvy friend named Salle.
There are quite a few comic moments in this delightful book, her battle with a nest of ornery snotlings among them. However, it's Arianwyn's grasp of her own more powerful magic and her ability to harness it in order to combat darker forces that gives this story real heft.
Nicol has given us a hero we can believe in because she is both magic and lovably human.
— Kristin, Books Inc. School Programs Coordinator
Packed with pathos, humor, and relevance for readers as young as 8. This could be my family read-aloud pick for 2017.
— Summer at Laurel Village
A special middle grade debut of magic and courage in a world of witches, written with the charm and enchantment of Circus Mirandus and The Apothecary.
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.
About the Author
James Nicol has loved books and stories his whole life. As a child he spent hours absorbed in novels, watching epic 1980s cartoons or adventuring in the wood at the bottom of the garden. He lives on the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens with his partner and a black and white cockapoo called Bonnie. The Apprentice Witch is his children’s debut. You can visit him at @jamesenicol.
Advance Praise for The Apprentice Witch:
"Will at once open a new and imaginative world and feel like a book you have loved forever." --Jennifer Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of The False Prince
"The Apprentice Witch is entirely more charming, adventurous, and full of heart than a book has any right to be. Make no mistake: there's magic afoot." --Trenton Lee Stewart, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Keepers and the Mysterious Benedict Society series
"A charming tale of magic, bravery, and friendship, reminiscent of Diana Wynne Jones." --The Guardian
"Impossible to put down." --The Bookbag
"Infused with mystery, adventure, and bundles of charm." --The Bookseller
"Delivers mystery and action in a whirlwind of cinematic, magical adventure." --Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books
"A great adventure story, filled with wonderful spells and mysterious creatures. Arianwyn is a fantastic character, unsure of herself but determined to succeed. The atmosphere throughout the book is tense and exciting, right until the dramatic climax." --Booktrust