Review: The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

My Review – ★★★★

It was refreshing to take a step back and have the chance to read a quick and spunky middle grade fantasy, and I’m so glad it was this one! I’m going to include some details here about the story, they’re not spoilers but if you prefer discovering the feel of the world and the characters on your own – do not continue reading past the book info provided below! Just a fair warning.

But for the record, this is a feel-good novel about a young girl (she’s pretty bad a** if you ask me) whose courage, strength, and determination is a much needed fresh take on heroines in today’s fantasy novels.

theapprenticewitchTitle – The Apprentice Witch
Author – James Nicol
Length – 336 pages (HC)
Genre – Children’s Books, Middle Grade, Fantasy & Magic
Pub. Date –
July 25, 2017
Summary – 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.


My Review – ★★★★ Con’t.

Arianwyn is such a doll, I just need to get that out of the way now. Her character is slightly timid and as with any middle grade fiction novel she deals with raw emotion and things like bullying, finding herself, etc. However, I feel like I can’t just write this one off that easy. Without giving away too much of what happens and which direction the book takes, I can say that she matures quite a bit throughout and left me wanting to know what comes next for the little witch. Her struggle with darkness makes her an even more interesting character because there’s an obvious struggle between good and bad going on inside of her in ways that she can’t quite seem to control. That’s unique and I enjoyed the twists and turns her secrets take.

The time period here was a bit vague to me because both the clothing/trends and the towns/places described almost had a “village vibe” to them, like it was from 18-19th century Europe. But then there’s the kicker that vehicles are a thing. Modern vehicles. So, yeah. This is still a bit unclear to me. Especially since it is a fantasy novel…which I guess gives it the leisure to be whenever and wherever the author pleases. It just left me wishing for a bit more certainty in this regard, however it’s very possible that I could have missed some extremely obvious sentence or hint(s) that made it much clearer. I’m only human.

My absolute favorite parts about this book [next to the fact that the leading lady is a feisty little thing who doesn’t give up no matter how many times she’s knocked down] are the creatures and the ✨magic✨. Magic in this realm isn’t free-flowing and “magic-y” like we are used to. If you thought Harry Potter as you read that, that was what I was thinking too but it’s nothing like that. There are levels of magic and people can or can’t control it. Witches are needed to help townsfolk with salves and charms and to ward off evil beasts. The gap between darkness and light is very obvious throughout, or good and evil as some would say. I think it leaves the story open to go in any direction, but the darkness always seems to have a stronger pull…

And so I leave you with that.

It’s a great read and I really enjoyed all aspects of the world and character building as well as the advancement of the plot and story line. If you enjoy middle grade fiction and are looking for a fresh spin on magic and fantasy culture, I definitely suggest it. Also, isn’t that cover just gorgeous 😍 Thus, I give it an overall 4/5 star rating.


A copy of this book was provided by the Chicken House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.


Tell Us Below…?!

What is your favorite witchcraft themed fiction/fantasy novel?

Do you plan to/have you already read The Apprentice Witch? What did you think?

Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this review today! I’m working hard to catch up on everything that I’ve become so far behind on, one piece at a time! If you have any questions about the book please feel free to ask in the comments below, or for general questions/comments about what I am doing here you can reach out via my Contact page. Thanks again! <3

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