The Black Witch (Black Witch Chronicles Series #1)

The Black Witch (Black Witch Chronicles Series #1)

by Laurie Forest


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“Maximum suspense, unusual magic—a whole new, thrilling approach to fantasy!”

—Tamora Pierce
, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A refreshing, powerful young adult fantasy.”

—Robin Hobb
, New York Times bestselling author

Powerful magic. A deadly legacy. A world at the edge of war.

Prepare to be spellbound by
The Black Witch.

Evil looms on the horizon, and for Elloren Gardner, granddaughter of the last Black Witch, pressure to live up to her magical heritage is building. Elloren’s people, the Gardnerians, believe she will follow in her grandmother’s footsteps. But Elloren is utterly devoid of power—in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

Granted the opportunity to study at the prestigious Verpax University, Elloren sets out to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But the university may be the most treacherous place of all for the granddaughter of the Black Witch, and Elloren soon realizes that the world she knows is not what it seems. If she is to survive the coming danger, she’ll have to free her mind from the assumptions she was raised with, and learn to trust the very people she’s been taught to hate and fear.

Critics are raving about Laurie Forest’s incredible debut,
The Black Witch:

“We fell under the spell of this rich, diverse, Potter-worthy university world!”

Justine magazine

“A captivating and stimulating fantasy novel with a whole world of excitement and danger. I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in this world of magic and intrigue.”


“Forest uses a richly imagined magical world to offer an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice.”

Booklist, starred review

“Exquisite character work, an elaborate mythology, and a spectacularly rendered universe make this a noteworthy debut, which argues passionately against fascism and xenophobia.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Briskly paced, tightly plotted…set in a rich alternative universe with a complicated history that can help us better understand our own.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373212316
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 05/02/2017
Series: Black Witch Chronicles Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 95,260
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont, where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. She is the author of The Black Witch Chronicles, including The Black Witch, The Iron Flower and the prequel e-novella Wandfasted. Enter her realm online at

Customer Reviews

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The Black Witch (Black Witch Chronicles Series #1) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story, these characters... just wow. Seriously got me right in the feels. There's quite a bit of controversy surrounding this book and i think it's for the wrong reasons. This book isn't racist or any of the other things it's been called, not in and of itself. Does it contain racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia? in spades! Religious zealots, oppression, and just plain ignorant prejudice and discrimination? Oh, absolutely! At times heartbreaking and difficult to read? Definitely! But at its core this is a book about hope. It's about moving past preconceived notions of others based on any of the labels used to divide and coming together. It's about looking beyond outward appearance and seeing the person inside. There are obvious parallels between the book and reality because the author was trying to make a point, not that she or her story are racist or condone these behaviors but the exact opposite, that it is wrong and that we could do amazing things if we quit using labels that divide us, whether it's race, religion, gender, sexuality, occupation, ability, class, country of origin, political affiliation, etc. Those are only labels, they don't define any of us nor should they. This book is beautifully written, with very well developed characters that u come to love and plenty u despise, in a world very similar to our own in different ways. It's emotional. It's wonderful. It has an important message. I am so glad that I read it for myself instead of just going on the negative reviews and jumping on the hate bandwagon. Thinking for yourself instead of believing what you're told about something is a pretty strong message in the story as well. I absolutely loved it and was disappointed when I got to the end. I implore everyone to please take the time to read it yourself and see how it makes you feel instead of avoiding it on some misguided principle after reading a bad review written by someone who either didn't get the obvious messages within The Black Witch or was already prejudiced against it themselves. Seriously, it's worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow!!!! Forest has created an incredibly lush world and a haunting story. Not only is it full of magic, but the complexity of the fantasy world is all too real, and reflects many of our own issues we are dealing with today, by shining a light on all forms of prejudice. I don't even know how to talk about it without giving spoilers, but I will say that it is a powerful mirror to all of us to work everyday to undo the prejudices and stereotypes we’ve all been taught, and it shows what UNITY can accomplish even amid the darkest of times.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I was so engrossed in this marvelous world that I read the whole book in one day. I can't wait for the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story for our times, and beautifully written! Buy it, you'll love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An epic tale of people, who's cultures are severely at odds, being able to find that their common ground far outnumbers their differences, enabling them to come together to fight for a greater good. And all the while being a romping good story that races through its 601 pages!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Forest's world building is incredible. The Black Witch will leave you breathless and wanting more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved getting to enter the fantasy world Laurie Forest created in The Black Witch. Her world building is beautifully detailed. She created so many fully developed characters; I really got to know and care about them. People's behaviors, as well as the challenges they faced and how they dealt with them, seemed totally realistic and believable, while the fantastic elements were in many ways original and new. I can't wait until the next installment next year. Luckily there's an e-book prequel coming in July!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is tremendous effort by any author, much less a debut one like Laurie Forest. Her writing is smart, insightful, and thought provoking, yet exciting and entertaining. She hooks you in right away and holds you for a surprisingly fast 600 pages!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Couldn’t put it down! The riveting plot as well as the ever-changing emotions of the characters were easy to get swallowed up in! The first half of the book was difficult to read at times, due to the high levels of prejudice and segregation described, but that only further proves how powerful the imagery of this novel was. Can’t wait to dive into the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very vividly and precisely written book, with many likeable characters and strong opinions about the antagonists and protagonists alike. As I was about half-way through the book, I read many reviews about the book, and found out that it is considered quite controversial because of the inconspicuous problems with the society in this book. I find it very smart to incorporate real-world problems into a fictional book and discuss it in an indirect way, as this author did. This book contains elements of fascism (totalitarian government), racism, and xenophobia (fear of foreigners). The area that the main character comes from is basically a fascist government, and other races as well as theirs do not enjoy associating themselves with different races other than their own, even calling them racist names and jokes. Obviously, there is lots of world-building, especially because the author is making a whole new world altogether. The different races and their traits are hard to remember at first, but after a while it sticks to you pretty firmly because of how many times they're mentioned. Although this book can get slow in several areas, I thoroughly enjoyed how everything started to add up for the main character after a while, and I like that there are elements of LGBTQ sprinkled around. The romances are ok, but I just DO NOT like Lukas Grey (I can't tell you why because of a spoiler). Although it seems kinda strange that all the couples are being paired off with each other, the author gives it a lot of thought and details and I enjoy that. In terms of action, it's pretty much just planning and talking until about the last 200 pages, where they actually set out and put their plan into motion. The action is nicely written, with strong vocabulary choice and very vivid imagrey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had me hooked from word one and that's not easy to do. An enthralling story of struggle .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall a very engaging book. I had my reservations about it at first but just as I was about to put it down it started to redeem itself. I was very hopeful that this story would have more in the way of LGBT positivity but perhaps that's just me. I like how Ren grows in the story over time and she definitely backslides and gets caught up in the wrong guy and her own prejudices. I was on tenterhooks waiting for her to get her self together and asked soon as I finished this book I immediately purchased the second.
JillJemmett More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story! It may just be me, but I found a lot of similarities between this book and Harry Potter. There weren’t direct references, but there were a few things that reminded me of the series. For example, Elloren doesn’t know much about the rest of the magical world that she enters when she goes to university, just like Harry didn’t know about the magical world before he went to Hogwarts. They even have a teacher who is a Snake Elf, who teaches their science class. He reminded me so much of Snape. I loved the similarities between this book and Harry Potter, since that is one of my favourite series! Elloren developed as a character throughout the story, as she learned more about the world around her. At the beginning, she was very naive because she was inexperienced. She had never been around different races or species, so she didn’t know what they were like. She took it on herself to try to learn the truth, rather than just follow everyone else’s beliefs. I thought I figured out the ending, but it turns out I was wrong! I’m curious to see how the story continues in the next book.