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Black Spring

Black Spring

3.5 2
by Alison Croggon

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Inspired by the gothic classic Wuthering Heights, this stunning new fantasy from the author of the Books of Pellinor is a fiercely romantic tale of betrayal and vengeance. In a savage land sustained by wizardry and ruled by vendetta, Lina is the enchanting but willful daughter of a village lord. She and her childhood companion, Damek, have grown up privileged and


Inspired by the gothic classic Wuthering Heights, this stunning new fantasy from the author of the Books of Pellinor is a fiercely romantic tale of betrayal and vengeance. In a savage land sustained by wizardry and ruled by vendetta, Lina is the enchanting but willful daughter of a village lord. She and her childhood companion, Damek, have grown up privileged and spoiled, and they’re devoted to each other to the point of obsession. But Lina’s violet eyes betray her for a witch, and witches are not tolerated in a brutally patriarchal society. Her rank protects her from persecution, but it cannot protect her from tragedy and heartbreak. An innocent visitor stands witness to the devastation that ensues as destructive longing unleashes Lina’s wrath, and with it her forbidden power. Whether drawn by the romantic, the magical, or the gothic, readers will be irresistibly compelled by the passion of this tragic tale.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Readers who loved Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights will appreciate this romantic and magical tale with a gothic flair. Hammel, a writer and well-to-do academic, is staying in a distant place to get away from the boredom of his daily life. He goes to the Red House in Elbasa where he meets the inn keepers, Anna and her husband, Zef. From Anna, he learns about his landlord, ruthless Damek, and Lina, the woman he was obsessed with. Anna tells him about the custom of vendetta, in which men in an entire family are murdered, and about the wizards that rule the land. The magical powers of Lina, who is a witch but cannot practice her magic, and wizardry are two elements that have been added. The complex plot, told from alternating points of view, is revealed a bit at a time, making this a novel for patient readers who appreciate a classic style of writing.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Publishers Weekly
Croggon (the Pellinor series) returns with an homage to Wuthering Heights, trading the English moors of the original for the remote northern wilds of Elbasa, a land of powerful wizards and strict rules concerning vendetta. In language and pitch, the pastiche is spot on: the mincing southern fop (Hammel, in Croggon’s tale) and the pragmatic serving woman with hidden depths (Anna, standing in for Brontë’s Nelly) are captured in detail and in general through their narrative voices. It’s a fantasy setting, but Croggon maintains the north/south, high/low, and male/female class divisions Brontë explores; Lina, born a witch, takes the place of Catherine, while “swarthy” Damek il Haran has his analogue in Heathcliff. The plot, in its essentials, is identical. And therein lies the potential rub: the story does not have its own inherent propulsion. The conflict is patterned, not driven—it isn’t discovering something new. Does it matter? In a tale as well written as this one, probably not. Devotees of Brontë’s original work will still enjoy Croggon’s amplification of the story’s supernatural elements. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jenny Darling and Associates. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
The insistent power of the Gothic is on full display here, with the added dimension of the kinds of magic that appeal to contemporary teen readers. The language is challenging in the best sense, echoing the prose of its source text. ... [T]he world is compellingly made and fully immersive, and readers will be as attracted and repulsed by Lina and Damek as they have been for nearly two centuries by Catherine and Heathcliff.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Children's Literature - Joella Peterson
This story is a fantasy retelling of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Lina is a privileged daughter with violet eyes, which alert the world that she is a witch. Damek is sent to live with Lina and her father by request of the king and is her closest companion. When tragedy orphans Lina and Damek, their new master pushes them to their breaking point and a forced separation—and the whole village will suffer because of it. The title Black Spring hints at how this retelling matches the original dark and gothic tale. The story is broken up into multiple parts including the first question of the tale from a guest, named Hammel, who is staying in the area. Another part is the history from the housekeeper's daughter. There are also journal entries of Lina's, more from the housekeeper's daughter, and a final letter from Hammel. Readers who enjoy dark, depressing stories with a touch of fantasy (or some wizard and witch's magic) will enjoy this. However, it (like the story it is inspired by) has a rich, detailed story of two tragic souls who have the power to destroy the happiness in those around them. Reviewer: Joella Peterson
Kirkus Reviews
Cleaving to the sensibility of the original, this love letter to Wuthering Heights is for fans of genuine Victorian Gothic. On the Yorkshire moors–like Northern Plateau, city-born Hammel visits his landlord, perpetually angry and sadistic Damek. A dog bite forces Hammel to stay overnight. In his room, the ghost of long-dead Lina appears in a mirror. Racing back to his rented house, Hammel stays abed recovering while housekeeper Anna narrates what happened to Lina, Lina's adopted brother, Damek, and herself "so long ago" in their childhood and teen years. This is the Land of Death, where vendetta is the law of the land: Any man killed must be avenged within a precise time period by a specific male relative, and then that killing must be avenged in kind, and so on. Generations-long strings of dictated murders devastate families and villages, yet vendetta is "the ground beneath us," unquestionable, unchangeable and supposedly honorable. Damek and Lina's family (unlike Anna's) is exempt from vendetta due to royal blood, but Damek covets wealth, Lina might be a witch (punishable by death), and both crave vengeance when done wrong. Lina's beauty is that of "superb pallor" and "dangerously bright" eyes; only stolid Anna keeps anything steady. Readers seeking the warm, solid core of Croggon's Pellinor series won't find it--Damek and Lina's quasi-incestuous love is unbalanced and punishing--but Brontë devotees will swoon. For those who take their romance tumultuous and doomed. (Gothic horror/fantasy. 14 & up)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
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Barnes & Noble
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File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Alison Croggon is the acclaimed author of the Books of Pellinor and an award-winning Australian poet and playwright. About Black Spring, she says, "This book is my love letter to Emily Brontë, whom I’ve adored since I was a child. I was especially inspired by the free spirit and passionate music of her poems." Alison Croggon lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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Black Spring 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe it will be as good as Croggon's Pellinor Series!
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
I have always been a lover of Wuthering Heights so I thought this would be right up my alley. The writing style, very formal and journal like, did remind me of the classic and it was well done. However, the story itself didn't do as much for me as I had hoped. It starts with a noble, Hammel, traveling to the far and uncivilized north for a change of scenery. The story sort of begins here with him having a horrible run-in with his landlord. I was incredibly confused because the characters in the book did not seem anything like the back blurb at this point. But then we jump back in time quite a ways as the housekeeper tells Hammel the story of Lina and Damek. This is the majority of the story is told from Anna's perspective, looking back and telling her story. Lina and Damek's story is the perfect tragic romance and fits the gothic description very well. Doomed from the start by so many things. There was just too much to it though. The story seemed to drag on too much, the history being told with many rambling sidetracks. The story is intriguing and wanting to know how it ended kept me going, but at times it was hard to do. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*