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The Black Witch

(The Black Witch Chronicles #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  25,678 ratings  ·  3,505 reviews
A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magic
Hardcover, 601 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Harlequin Teen
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Hamel It honestly seemed to me that the entire book was critically engaging with this question.

I was often uncomfortable during the first half of the book, …more
It honestly seemed to me that the entire book was critically engaging with this question.

I was often uncomfortable during the first half of the book, because the xenophobic statements made by the main character are so much in line with what racist people in reality say (as opposed to what strawman racists in stories usually say). I think that's what makes the book so successful, though. When she starts to think more about the social forces in her world, it packs that much more of a punch. (less)
Diane The context of the book is that the society is pretty strictly religious, and there are a lot of prejudices that are supported by the religion. But th…moreThe context of the book is that the society is pretty strictly religious, and there are a lot of prejudices that are supported by the religion. But the whole point is that the main character begins to grapple with her doubts about that worldview. So, yeah, there are examples of prejudice which has people upset...but that's a little like complaining that The Handmaid's Tale is sexist because the society has subjugated women. That's the point. The author isn't condoning prejudice or homophobia but rather showing the evolution of someone breaking out of that kind of worldview. (less)

Community Reviews

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Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
May 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-star, year-2017
So, I read it.

Honestly, I'm pretty disappointed in those people who condemned this book before giving it a chance.

Yes, a defining motivation for almost everything that happens in this book is racial tension between a handful of fantasy races. No, I do not feel that the author condones racist, homophobic, ableist, etc. ideologies about races that exist in reality.

My opinion? This book was preemptively dragged through the mud for nothing.

Seriously though, since when is portraying characters with
Emily May
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
"People see what they expect to see," he says sharply. "Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice."

I don't really know where to start with this book. I recommend that everyone make themselves aware of the criticisms surrounding The Black Witch, if you are not already. And also be aware that this review is my opinion; I speak for no one but me. If you have a problem with that, don't read on.

The Black Witch is, in my opinion, a thoughtful consideration of the prejudices people hold, a
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
What is wrong with you people, now we are commanding artists what they can't and can write in FANTASY just so we wouldn't get triggered?? Don't read it if you can't deal with cruel, sad and dark themes. But you don't get to tell someone they are racist just because they choose to depict a world in which racism is very much alive!? What's the point of that? Are we going to ban history books next?? She writes her story, she created her flawed characters and her flawed world just as ours is, and th ...more
Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, cover-porn
See this review and more on www.bookbastion.net

Related review:

Wandfasted (The Black Witch 0.5):

I'd like to start off this review with a little warning to the naysayers for this book: if you're here to brigade me in the comments section and tell me how wrong I am for having an opinion that differs from your own, you can save it because your comment WILL be flagged and deleted. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and no amount of abuse from the people who think it's okay to squas
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
UPDATE: $1.99 Kindle US 10/16/20

This book was fan-freaking-tastic! Even though I wanted to beat about 1500 people 😄

I love about 15 people in this book! They were so damn awesome!

First off, Elloren, Rafe and Trystan were all brought up by their uncle Edwin. And good ole uncle brought them up to be good peeps. They were all still tarnished by untrue beliefs but it all comes out in good time ladies and gents!

They are all descendants of The Black Witch and uncle is keeping some things hidden from
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
“Elloren,” Aunt Vyvian breathes, “you have grown into the absolute image of your grandmother.”

It’s a huge compliment, and I want to believe it. My grandmother was not only one of my people’s most powerful Mages, she was also considered to be very beautiful.
This book has an overwhelmingly, unprecedentedly low rating. I suspect it's because of the controversies this book has generated. This is unfortunate, because I believe this book's low rating should be due to the fact that it is painfully
Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky)
I've completely re-written this review. If you read the earlier version, maybe take another look? It is really long… sorry about that lol.

Part 1 is the review. Part 2 is the discussion of the controversy around this book, re-written based on my thinking of, and discussion around this topic here on GR in the last few weeks.


“People see what they expect to see… Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice.”

3.5 stars

This is essentially an origin story. Poor stylistic c
Robin Hobb
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
College or University. A time when almost every student discovers that a) not everyone believes what you believe and b) some of what you know is wrong.

The Black Witch captures that time in the protagonist's life as Elloren leaves the shelter of her rustic uncle's home and goes off to school under the guidance of her politically power aunt. Elloren has been 'wand-tested' for magic and found lacking, despite the family lineage of powerful mages. She is still a potentially powerful pawn for her aun
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars, rounding up.* Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

In an ironic twist, The Black Witch (2017), a book expressly dedicated to exploring the problem of prejudice and promoting diversity and tolerance, has been accused by many voices of being the very thing it is most devoted to showing as wrong. Words like “offensive,” “racist,” “ableist,” and “homophobic” have been hurled at the author and this book. It’s understandable, because the society and most of the characters depicted in
This book is literally everything I wished Harry Potter would be !!! I LOVED this book so much, oh my god, LAURIE FORST GIVE ME THE NEXT BOOK NOW!

No, this book was NOT homophobic or racist in any way. And if you're gonna comment otherwise and start bullshit, I'm warning you now: fuck off because I am not in the mood for this bullshit today or tomorrow. Oh wait, more than half of you didn't even read the book so,,,, 😑 you can't even argue.

Anyways, I'm so glad I read this for myself. I'm so glad I
Mar 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
EDIT: If you have the stomach/spoons for it, here's an in depth review of all of the awful things in the book.

I can't believe we have to tell people that calling mixed race people "half-breeds" and advocating for the genocide of other races is not okay.
ETA: Also
1. "wow my family is a bunch of genocidal racists oops" is the worst plot twist ever.
2. POC do not need to go through 300 pages of a white-coded girl being racist toward POC-coded characters to know that racism toward us is wrong and awfu
Always Pouting
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
There's been a lot of discussion around this book and I wanted to indulge my self importance and read it and add my opinion which is what this is so if you disagree that's cool totally tell me but I just want to say that if you are just going to tell me that I don't know something or I'm ignorant I'm just going to get defensive and mean and I don't want to be mean I really do try to be nice and reasonable but I get riled up if I feel like I'm being attacked so lets just try to keep this pleasant ...more
Ben Alderson
I have removed my review.
The past two weeks discussion over this novel has taken place online and If have a moment please read this review -

I have read the entire review!
Having thought about this and read Shauna's points, quotes and direct references I can see I have been completely wrong.

I also want to add this quote from Shauna..
"I'm doing this not to tear down a single person, but to tear down a system that publishes books like #THEBLACKWITCH"
The publishing system ne
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Review to come

Buddy-read with these truth seekers:
The one who puts my reading to shame
That other guy

Holy crap this book is actually pretty awesome

For the majority it is definitely a slow build and a character driven story but I actually like slow build stories and character driven stories so ... this is not a negative for me. For others who might not like these things this could be a bit of a drag for you.




Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
To see this review and others please visit www.readrantrockandroll.com

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest is a coming of age story about a girl named Elloren Gardner. I saw this on Netgalley and the cover and blurb pulled me in.

The story begins with Elloren, the granddaughter of a Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner. After spending her life in a village, she's now being sent to the Verpax University to finish her education.

I think the author is good at writing and I enjoyed her writing style. The story h
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC for an honest review.

WARNING: Expect a major book hangover after living in this world.

I fell in love with the world building in this book...the beautiful setting, the depth and variety of characters, the complexity of the relationships, and how amazing it is to see the progression of Elloren's growth--and that was an important part to me. Their violent history and racial divides set up a complicated backdrop to this coming-of-age story. It was hard not to empathize and draw com
Mar 16, 2017 added it
july 2021 edit: as someone pointed out in the comments, i can leave the review up, but remove the rating, which i just did. For further explanation about things, read below.

I'm adding something to this review:

TBW was the first and only book I rated without having read it. I trusted the opinion of someone who had read it and chose to rate it negatively because I believed that person was right. Also, I felt like I had to perform as an ally and that was a way of doing it. I felt pressured, in a wa
Carrie (The Butterfly Reader)
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: may-2017
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars


So by now I'm sure everyone has heard of this book. You've been told this book is racist, sexist, homophobic, and lots of other horrible things. If you've been trying to talk about this book on Twitter in any positive form, then you have likely been called these things, I know I have. Well, I'm here to say that this book is none of the labels that have been stowed upon it by SJWs and neither are you for wanting to read it.

This book follows Elloren Gardner
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

I originally had no intention of reading this book. The furor surrounding THE BLACK WITCH was too extra, and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. However, I'm a woman with opinions, who doesn't like being told what to think, and when I saw people on both sides actively trying to shut one another down, using their thoughts on the book to leverage their various political platforms ("you're a racist!" "no, you're an SJW!"), I began to
Mar 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Update #3: Okay, so people have pointed out the author has children of colour who have read the book as sensitivity readers. Firstly, we shouldn't look to them for any blame for how terrible this book turned out to be. It is not their fault that the author wrote a garbage truck full of all the -isms & -phobics. Do not even think about blaming children for the authors mistakes. The fault lies with the author and the whole team behind the book. Editors should have caught it. Agents should have cau ...more
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, ya
"Real education doesn't make your life easy. It complicates things and makes everything messy and disturbing. But the alternative, Elloren Gardner, is to live your life based on injustice and lies."

Okay, so here's the deal. There are a plethora of long reviews (both bad & good) going over this book. So, I have decided to make this as to the point as possible. Before I start, let me just say one thing. I am incredibly glad that I read the book instead of heeding the reviews imploring people t
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: 2017-reads, 5-stars
Edit 7/18/17 : The Iron Flower is the title for book two in The Black Witch Chronicles, coming June 2018 ❗️ Srsly, I'm so excited 😊

5 STARS ❗️

“Real education doesn't make your life easy. It complicates things and makes everything messy and disturbing. But the alternative, Elloren Gardner, is to live your life based on injustice and lies.”

I'm going to start this review off by saying that The Black Witch by Laurie Forest was absolutely brilliant. Now, this is merely my own opinion and you can
Nick Borrelli
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm absolutely convinced that 99% of the people who gave this book a 1-star rating didn't actually read it. And by reading it I mean not just looking at all of the bad words with your eyes and then being immediately offended, but truly absorbing them into your brain and processing them in the context of the overall plot. Because had they actually done that and not just knee-jerk reacted to all of the vile beliefs/thoughts that the main character espoused, they would have understood what the auth ...more
I want this in book form ASAP! It was soooooooo good! Four Stars!

I don't want to start this review in a negative way at all, but I really do need to say something about the rating of this book from people who haven't even read it and based their opinions from other peoples reviews. Normally I'm not one to say something, but this really did go too far with the cries of Racism etc. That is 100% not the case. This is about Elloren the main character seeing through these prejudices. It's honestly li
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
Cool so my original long ass review just disappeared. Thanks! Much appreciated! Didn't put work into that at all. Anyway, the community seems to have finally gotten off the "burn the book! It's acknowledges racism" horse and read it. Congrats to Laurie for jumping up to over 4 stars! ...more
Attack Salmon
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Update 8/8/2017
Its insane seeing this book went from 1.1 rating to now 3.16 rating and the number of 5 stars are catching up to the 1 star

And with the publish of this article, there will be more people picking up TBW

I need the next book :(

3 stars for overall enjoyment, 1 more stars for how well racism is addressed in this book

This book is not what I expected. The cover doesn't appeal to me and so does the blurb. I expected it to be really dark and disturbing. Racist sentences after one
nemo the emo ☠️ (pagesandprozac)
honestly the thing i was most offended by in this book was (view spoiler) ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I would give this 0 stars if I could. And nope, I won't be reading this book. Don't @ me about giving it 1 star, or judging it before I read.

I am not going to stand by and let racist, homophobic, ableist, and hurtful books be promoted and do well. Not again.

here is an in depth review (8.7k words) complete with quotes and pictures of the text that shows exactly what's wrong with it. There is a lot.

Don't support it. Don't defend it. Don't read it. Don't buy it.

It's easy. Just don't.
Ahanika  Alexander
After reading all the malicious reviews, I picked up this book to see what the fuss was all about and was extremely surprised by it. It was nothing like what I'd heard about it and turned out to be one of the best books I've read this year. I found it to be real and thought provoking.

I'm honestly disappointed by the goodreads community for the unfair treatment this book has been subjected to. we as readers are supposed to be more accepting instead of finding things to be offended by. Don't we al
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Excited to finish The Black Witch - and can't wait to find out what the cover design will be! ...more
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Laurie Forest is a New York Times, USA Today & Internationally Bestselling Author who 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 has penned THE BLACK WITCH, THE REBEL MAGES (a compilation of the prequel novels WANDFASTED & LIGHT MAGE), THE SHADOW WAND, THE DEMON TIDE & is currently ...more

Other books in the series

The Black Witch Chronicles (5 books)
  • The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles, #2)
  • The Shadow Wand (The Black Witch Chronicles, #3)
  • The Demon Tide (The Black Witch Chronicles #4)
  • The Dryad Storm (The Black Witch Chronicles, #5)

Articles featuring this book

A lord's daughter who pursues her passion for forensic science. A young girl who takes a stand after a heartbreaking tragedy. A...
119 likes · 43 comments
“People see what they expect to see,” he says sharply. “Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice.” 91 likes
“Real education doesn't make your life easy. It complicates things and makes everything messy and disturbing. But the alternative...is to live your life based on injustice and lies.” 56 likes
More quotes…