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The Black Witch

The Black Witch Chronicles, Book 1
Written by: Laurie Forest
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Series: The Black Witch Chronicles, Book 1
Length: 18 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Great Winged One will soon arise and cast his fearsome shadow upon the land. And just as Night slays Day, and Day slays Night, so also shall another Black Witch rise to meet him, her powers vast beyond imagining.

So foretells the greatest prophecy of the Gardnerian mages. Carnissa Gardner, the last prophesied Black Witch, drove back the enemy forces and saved her people during the Realm War. Now a new evil is on the horizon, and her granddaughter, Elloren, is believed to be Carnissa's heir - but while she is the absolute image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above nearly all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren is eager to join her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University and finally embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother's legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people - including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians - is an even more treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

©2017 Laurie Forest (P)2017 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited.

What the critics say

"This ambitious story is impressively narrated by the talented Julia Whelan, who creatively details its world of intricate magical practices and diverse inhabitants.... Whelan ably creates and sustains a wide cast of characters with intriguing and faithfully distinguished voices. Most importantly, she cultivates listeners' connection with flawed but ultimately good-hearted Elloren, whose first-person story portrays her fumbling attempts at understanding a wider world." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Black Witch

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • DM
  • 2018-09-12

Fun Book

If you're calling this book racist you either haven't read it or are an idiot. This book is ILLUSTRATING racism and the repercussions of it. It is CONVEYING the sickness and nonsense of racism not condoning it! Get a grip people. First let me say the narrator is not my cup of tea. She is hopelessly breathy and whispery and it grinded on my nerves quite a bit. I like a clear sounding narrator sans Marylin Monroe breathiness (Sorry Julia!) Besides that I DID think the narrator was great at conveying the different characters so kudos for that. This is often a challenge for narrators but she did great switching. One note to her: look up the pronunciation of the word rifle or rifling. You are saying it wrong honey. Now...on to the actual contents of the book! GREAT JUVENILE FUN FLUFFY MAGICK content and I want to know what comes next so all in all I do recommend it but be prepared to listen to the the raging hormonal thoughts of the main character which sometimes makes you cringe but also sometimes makes you long for that feeling! The favourite part for me is THE CONFLICTED DISCOVERIES AND SUBSEQUENT DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH OF THE CHARACTER TOWARDS A LESS IGNORANT WORLD VIEW! Don't listen to these morons trashing the book. It's complete nonsense.

5 people found this helpful

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Best book I have read/listened to in a long time

I can’t get enough! The different races and places can get a bit confusing if you miss something but it is such an amazingly written book, I would recommend this whole series to anyone and everyone The narrator is amazing also which makes the book even better to listen too. Finally a series I absolutely don’t want to end!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Liz
  • 2019-11-26

Good book!

This is not a "racist" book. It's ABOUT racism. Now that I have cleared that up, Laurie Forest has a knack for good, but not yet great writing. Some things become repetitive, but not in the usual repetitive way. The same conflicts, just played out in 10 slightly different ways. A lot of that could have just been cut straight out from the book. Some scenes seem never-ending. They just kept going on and on. If it wasn't for Laurie Forests wordplay, this book wouldn't have kept me listening. It's almost as if she writes this bluster to make a long read. A lot of it just is not needed. As for for the story itself, it was entertaining yet slow. Nothing much is really achieved in the first book, but some how Laurie manages to keep you listening. Overall it is worth the read if you like this type of novel. Most of the flaws can be overlooked because Laurie does have major writing potential. She could be a GREAT fantasy writer and I look forward to more novels by her.

1 person found this helpful

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Outstanding!

Wow. Incredible and heart wrenching. Highly recommend. Team Lukas!! I cannot wait for the next book

1 person found this helpful

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A Pleasant Surprise

This was so much better than I was expecting, but I should have known—YA Fiction is among some of the most entertaining being written these days and this, the beginning of a series, is an excellent example of YA Fantasy.

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  • Ash
  • 2020-07-28

Thought Provoking

This book, and those following it, is amazing. Laurie does a wonderful job of weaving the intricate and complicated issues of our time into a captivating story that forces us, along side the characters, to question what we believe is right. I think this book is well written and well executed. The character development is the core of the story and it is easy to lose yourself in this world she created. Laurie Forest will be an author on my shelf for years to come.

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I'm Totally Hooked!

I found this book because I was searching for others narrated by Julia Whelan. She's an excellent reader/actor and I enjoyed her work previously. When I saw this series it piqued my interest so I purchased it. Within the first ten minutes or so I was hooked, and found it hard to stop. It's well-written, the characters are interesting, and the story has enough surprises and suspense to keep your interest keen. In fact, I purchased Book 2 immediately after the last words of 'The Black Witch' ceased. I think I'm going to want to listen to the entire series. So glad I found it - and so glad to find a fantasy book with a female lead character!

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Absolutely wonderful

I first purchased this book, after a while into it and loving it, I found that there is MULTIPLES!!! If you are going to purchase... which I would like to add YOU SHOULD! Also look into the chronicles as there is a before .5 book, and after this one a 1.5 before book 2. Julia Whelan is an incredible narrator! I could not be happier. Now on to the .5 I missed... happy listening 💕

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One of my favorite books!

Definitely worth the listen! The narrator was absolutely amazing, she made it very easy to get lost in the story and was great at doing other character voices. As for the story, it turned out to be a lot better than I imagined. I was a little worried based off of some of the reviews I read but it turned out to be an amazing story. *Warning a bit of a spoiler* There is a lot of racism that takes place which makes lots of room for character development if written well. Laurie Forest did an amazing job at that, she made the protagonist not a terrible person in the beginning but lacked the knowledge to know better and made her develop so well by the end. *Spoiler over* I would 100% recommend!

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A fantastic enlightening read

I loved this book. I found the characters to be full of personality and loveable. The racial/religious divides in the book are at times sad to read, but I loved experiencing how the characters overcome their prejudices and grow. I couldn’t put this book down. I enjoyed every aspect of the narration. She was fantastic and had a different voice for every character. I cannot wait for the next book in this series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Raquel
  • 2017-10-28

The controversy should make you want to read this book!

I was intrigued when I first saw the publisher’s synopsis of The Black Witch, but then I read further and discovered all the controversy and negative press surrounding this book. When the public makes premature judgments and starts leaning toward book banning without so much as cracking the binding, I knew I had to find out more and I am so glad I did! The Black Witch is based in a fantasy world, but the protagonist, is dealing with issues of stereotypes, class divisions, racism, misogyny, and still darker real world issues loom. Like each of us, the main character has her flaws. She is often part of her society’s problems, but this story is about the journey of her self-discovery, how her world is not the idyllic place she believed, and how even the vast differences amongst those she comes in contact with cannot hide the beauty of what they have in common and will fight for, together.

116 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-05-04

Amazing

I have read a lot of controversy around this book... after reading it I find that it's nothing like the people were ranting about. The main character was a sheltered girl who lives in a world of racism and makes friends and breaks down boundaries slowly. The book itself is fast paced and I highly doubt you will find a slow moment in the book.


Only complaint is that she is sometimes very sheltered.

61 people found this helpful

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  • Common-Sense-Is-Key
  • 2018-11-08

Really Good! Only wish that......

.......the main female heroine didn't behave so simple-minded. I fully understand the author's want to make her appear sheltered; but the level of naivety shouldn't equate to a lack of common sense. Many series have turned me from reading them because of the same equation of: sheltered past equals no common sense. *** Spoilers *** For instance: (1) Elloren states many times that Fallon scares her, yet she continuously goes after her, all the while knowing her own power isn't fully manifesting. (2) Elloren cannot fathom why all the other Supernatural races despise her even after realizing her own direct likeness of her grandmother once she's been informed of her grandmother's cruelty. (3) She ignorantly believes that her aunt will somehow move her to a new room even though she again states she's not wand fasting yet. Lastly, my most frustrating example....... (4) Elloren admits, during/after her legit wand testing, that remnants of her grandma's Black Witch power flows through her, deep inside; but she never even questions that she may in fact be the new Black Witch (& her fae side may be blocking it? Or a form of fae shielding was done to hide her power?). There's absolutely no speculation from her! Characters don't have to be written as dimwitted to come across as being sheltered. Alas, I am currently downloading the 2nd book to this series! I'm hoping for Elloren to grow intellectually; however, if it doesn't happen, she's definitely not the worst character I've ever read about in a series. So there's that lol.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Steven Orshan
  • 2019-06-21

Garbage

I wanted to like this, but the main character is absolutely infuriating. Her immaturity and her contradictory behavior is exhausting. I was constantly rolling my eyes. The plot goes nowhere. No desire to finish this series. Truly bummed. I love the narrator though, she’s amazing.

7 people found this helpful

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  • jda
  • 2018-01-31

Story could be better - audio very good

Is there anything you would change about this book?

the story is ok, but could be better. the main character Elloren is a bit gratting as a character so far. More a damsel in distress than a hero. Different from brothers and uncle in viewpoint, almost as from different upbringing than brothers.

Almost all of the other charaters seem to be presented as a completed person by the Author, where Elloren still seem the author trying to figure out who she is.

Right now I'm more interested in the other charaters than Elloren,

Would you recommend The Black Witch to your friends? Why or why not?

yes I would, the Authors other series was good but a bit long winded at times. The characters, some very well developed and gripping to read about. the main charater needs a bit of work. but all in all a good read.

What about Julia Whelan’s performance did you like?

the audio presentation was very good.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Julie
  • 2018-04-13

A fanciful, yet uneasy, familiarity

Great narration! IMO, it's fantasy meets reality. Other worldly creatures face racism, bigotry, misogyny etc. The characters feel real (flawed) but with convincing personal evolution. It IS somewhat predictable, the way life and history are. It's not ground breaking and doesn't have to be. It's still a fun listen, and it's fiction so enjoy.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2018-03-05

Repetative dialogue

I really enjoy the idea of This Book of the difference characters and it different families and backgrounds. But the main character went around in circles so much in the book it really made me not want to finish. I do want to see where the story goes so I am kind of looking forward to the next book. I really hope that the author finds her groove and the book flows better. half of the book really could have been left out in my opinion

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lanie
  • 2017-07-17

Great Story Illustrating the Stupidity of Bigotry

What made the experience of listening to The Black Witch the most enjoyable?

Julia Whelan. She was 50% of the reason I chose to buy this book. Every one of her narrations are fantastic

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Black Witch?

Elloren's awakening. Finding out that your people aren't the great saviors of the world and that everyone in the world doesn't want to be like you. In fact, your people have been murderous monsters and most of the world loathes you.

Which character – as performed by Julia Whelan – was your favorite?

Aerial. She got the crazy down perfectly.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was holding my breath a few times, scared for them and cheering for them at the same time.

Any additional comments?

People that are freaking out about racism, homophobia and misogyny in this book are totally missing the point.
How could you show the redemption of these characters without first showing the way they were raised and the prejudices they were steeped in. Are bigotry, racism, homophobia and misogyny disgusting? Yes, of course they are, and they were entirely necessary for the story to work.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Eric
  • 2017-07-29

Takes its time but great story

This story trusts itself, it takes the listener on journey step by step and it also shows how religion can be used to justified anything. So, if you willing be patient with this book you won’t be disappointed, because this is a really great read.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Ann
  • 2017-07-11

Delicious ... then disappointing.

My first impressions of this story were 'a magnificently deep and richly crafted story with deliciously detailed universe development and a heroine I could get behind ....

But I'm still waiting. The universe was as I suspected indeed detailed and imaginative and blew me away. I also appreciated the deeper themes and motifs. But all along I'm waiting for the main character to blow me away ... while she does develop and change ... it kind of feels like the whole time 'winter is coming , winter is coming' and then it never does. I'm hopeful for the next book ... please tell me there is a next book so my questions can be answered ???

NARRATOR WAS INCREDIBLE!!! The story telling was perfection. Well done. Five stars. Standing ovation. So many different characters speaking and I know exactly which one is at any given time. She did a fantastic job.

19 people found this helpful