The Thickety: A Path Begins

The Thickety: A Path Begins

3.9 27
by J. A. White, Susan Duerden

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A fantasy series set in a world where magic is forbidden—but exists in the dark woods called the
Thickety—for fans of Neil Gaiman and Septimus Heap

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their

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A fantasy series set in a world where magic is forbidden—but exists in the dark woods called the
Thickety—for fans of Neil Gaiman and Septimus Heap

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic … except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place.
Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr’s Realm. But mostly it’s called the Thickety.

The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers—a book that might have belonged to her mother. And that is just the beginning of the story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/24/2014
The followers of the Path have left the sinful world behind to live in the isolated community of De’Noran, which is increasingly encroached upon by the Thickety, the domain of the forest demon Sordyr. Kara Westfall’s mother was executed for the crime of witchcraft, and now her family ekes out a living under the burden of the community’s suspicion. It falls to 12-year-old Kara to keep her sickly younger brother and dysfunctional father alive. She negotiates the treacherous road of a pariah, attempting to persuade a proto-Puritanical society that she is harmless, even while the dangerously addictive powers she has inherited from her mother well up within her. In this darkly imaginative debut, White creates a fantasy world with creatures that are anything but sweet—a cyclopean bird, a multi-mouthed horror—and, after a deceptively satisfying resolution, he unfurls a twist that will make readers want the next chapter of Kara’s story immediately. White’s prose is evocative without being dense, and Offermann’s sharp-edged silhouettes (not all seen by PW) add an ominous note. Absolutely thrilling. Ages 8–12. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, Janklow & Nesbit. (May)
Lisa McMann
“The Thickety is a sinister, magical debut with a marvelous and shocking heroine. J.A. White’s elegant writing and masterful plot kept me turning pages late into the night.”
Angie Sage
“The Thickety may give you nightmares, but it is a gripping story with a great heroine.”
The Bulletin of The Center for Children's Books
“A startling plot twist at the end will have readers urgently waiting for a sequel, and it may even lead them right back into the book to see if they missed earlier clues.”
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Jan Chapman
It is always delightful to find a new fantasy that does not mine the usual tropes, but presents readers with something fresh and original. In The Thickety, readers meet Kara who, when she was only six years old, watched her mother convicted of witchcraft and executed. Because of that, Kara and her family are shunned by the villagers who have been taught that witchcraft is an abomination. One day, Kara is lured by a strange bird into a forbidden forest called the Thickety. There she discovers a book that is a compendium of magic spells. Through the book, Kara begins to discover that she has an inherited ability to perform magic, but she must keep this secret from everyone or risk her mother’s fate. When another village girl steals the book and also begins practicing witchcraft, Kara has to find a way to stop her, as the book has given its new owner terrible powers that are being used for evil, not good. The author has created a world that is vivid and beautifully realized. Rather than subject readers to elaborate preliminary world building, readers enter this world and feel at home almost immediately. The characters are well drawn and fully developed, particularly Kara, whose struggle to understand her new powers and fear of being persecuted are poignant. The cleverly suspenseful plot moves along at a good pace. Fans of Jaclyn Moriarty’s Colors of Madeleine fantasy series or Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novels will eagerly snap this one up. Reviewer: Jan Chapman; Ages 11 to 18.
Children's Literature - Joella Peterson
Kara was six years old when her mother was killed for practicing witchcraft. Now, years later, the people of her village still won’t forget what her mother was. They treat Kara and her father and little brother like they are worthless, while preaching how amazing they are since they are kind to everyone. When a bird leads Kara to a magical book, life begins to change. Suddenly Kara has power, but she is not quite sure what is the right way to use the power and what isn’t. When her secret starts to escape and others are after the magic and the power, life is not so safe around the Thickety. This is a great fantasy. Kara is a strong character who not only has gumption, but also is willing to fight for her family and friends (and perhaps those that are not her friends). The magic and the thicket are powerful and mysterious. Just when the plot turns in one direction, it twists around itself so the reader is never quite sure what will happen next. The story is not dark, but it has just enough bite that those who want something more than an elementary school fantasy book will be pleased. Reviewer: Joella Peterson; Ages 10 to 14.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—"There is no such thing as a good witch." These words, well known to all the villagers of De'Noran, haunt 12-year-old Kara Westfall. Ostracized and abused, she and her brother are the children of the last known witch, who was hanged on the edge of the Thickety when Kara was five. As the tangled branches of the dark, forbidden forest spread closer to the village, something strange and powerful awakens in Kara. Was her mother's magic truly evil? White's debut novel is darkly bewitching. The isolation of De'Noran and the fervor of its residents create a heady suspense, and White's well-crafted characters operate beautifully within the fantastical world he has created. Offerman's inky silhouettes perfectly complement the story. Readers will devour each twist and turn of the plot, right up to the startling conclusion.—Sara Saxton, Wasilla Public Library, Wasilla, AK
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-02-19
Nail-biting suspense is the hallmark of this long fantasy novel, from the terrifying prologue to the shocking epilogue. This pleasantly accomplished debut presents readers with a dystopian, theocratic society that fears and executes witches and magic users. The community lives on the island of De'Noran, where the habitable land is being devoured by strange forest called the Thickety. In the prologue, readers meet little Kara Westall, who is roused from her bed and dragged to watch her mother's execution as a witch. Years later, Kara, now 12, is responsible for herself, her younger brother, Taff, and their father, crippled by depression. When Kara finds her mother's grimoire in the Thickety and uses it, the already suspenseful narrative becomes nerve-wracking. The author's storytelling chops show in how he ratchets up suspense, delivers believable characters (both good and evil), and reveals information slowly and only when absolutely necessary. There is a stunning climax and a seemingly perfect resolution. Readers will know, however, that nothing is perfect, and the epilogue confirms this fact while providing hope for a sequel. The spellbinding story, lashings of suspense and stalwart heroine will draw in fantasy fans and keep them reading until the bitter ending. (Fantasy. 11-14)

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Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Thickety Series, #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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