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The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  6,911 Ratings  ·  1,371 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
Kindle Edition, 608 pages
Published May 1st 2017 by Harlequin Teen
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☆♥☆Kotyonok꧁꧂ First of all, you need to take in the context of the book when it was mentioned (if you had read the book you'd know, but since you didn't, I suspect,…moreFirst of all, you need to take in the context of the book when it was mentioned (if you had read the book you'd know, but since you didn't, I suspect, you stated the question to virtue signal):

Elloren doesn't say this with any sort of contempt or snobbish high-handed regard her aunt or Fallon would. She says it as an observation. It's a fact for this world, or as much as the reader and Elloren know, it is fact that the Kelts are not a pure race. Why are they not a pure race? Because "they're more accepting of intermarriage", another fact. The last part, where Elloren says "they're hopelessly mixed" is a result of her culture, her upbringing where she was taught that her race is pure and to maintain being pure they must not mix with other races.

So we have fact, fact and then the resulting impact on culture for how those facts have been implemented (i.e. separating races).

The next part right after this, which you, of course, failed to mention, probably because you've never read this book and are spouting things from another review, says, "I notice the Kelts clothing is varied as well...These are work clothes, homespun garb best suited for farm chores-the type I wear at home for comfort."

Here we can see Elloren finds herself relating to the Kelts based on their clothing. While she originally describes them as "hopelessly mixed" she finds herself relating to the clothes of the hopelessly mixed, feeling "weighed down [...] by [her] expensive layers of silk. I miss Uncle Edwin and the comfort of my home." This implies she's not very comfortable with certain things her race prizes, she's not used to it, and she may even doubt it, as she says "I resolve to find out the truth for myself" . She has more in common with Kelt dressing than the dressing of her own prized race, implying, perhaps, a sense of home and comfort may be found outside what one has originally known.

Now we've taken this even further and see the Kelt's mixed clothing, representative of their mixed line and blood, has oddly brought Elloren a sense of comfort and nostalgia- not exactly the line of thinking you'd expect from a die-hard racist that says things like "pure race" and "hopelessly mixed" right?

My point in all this is Elloren, and this book as a whole, is a lot more complex than you, and other reviewers, give credit for. She's observing things based on the facts she was raised with, but also trying to reconcile these facts with how she is feeling now, how she is growing now. THAT is why the text is included- it's a part of her growth from observation of facts she knows and her own experiences; it's a complex look at racist purity mythology, which you'd know if you read the book.

Things like this don't just fade away in a few weeks or months. Especially with someone like Elloren who has been locked away from the world for some time, and now she's been thrust into the midst of all this. These things take TIME, so don't just go yelling buzzwords (racist purity mythology) before we look at the context, at the character, and how all this plays into the story.

This is very subtle of Forest, and to understand this you have to be a critical reader. NOT the type of reader that is looking for any statement on race as an excuse to jam out the racist-stamp, but the type of reader that actually tries to read between the lines, with proper context. (less)
Leenie Smith One person hates it so the sheep have to jump on board and hate it too. I can't wait to read it to make my own opinion. GR should delete the fake…moreOne person hates it so the sheep have to jump on board and hate it too. I can't wait to read it to make my own opinion. GR should delete the fake reviews, which are skewing the whole point of GR. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Cait • A Page with a View
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily May
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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, and
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
So, I read it.

Honestly, I'm pretty disappointed in those people who condemned this book before giving it a chance because the truth is, it's really not racist.

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 tho
Bentley ★
See this review and more on

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
Here is MY 30 THOUSAND WORD review on The Black Witch by Laurie Forest. I, a person of color, found this book to not be racist, sexist, homophobic, whatever-else-phobic/ist (the ableist claims were unsubstantiated, no evidence for this claim that I could see at all). The MC absolutely does learn in the end and undergoes change. I quoted the book extensively and provided several pictures. i have receipts everywhere in my review.

700 reviewers DID NOT read this book, so if you are consi
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 cho
Robin Hobb
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
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 ba
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
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 Elloren

Then ole evil auntie com
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
Jul 23, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-need

i love seeing people jump on the hate any new book gets...without.…ever....actually....reading the book themselves…lmao that’s an A+ opinion kiddo, let me know when you grow up please

like no offense but why would you rely on another person's opinion instead of forming your own?? perhaps the economy’s been tough on everyone especially the people who apparently now do all the critical thinking by proxy??

because i honest to god don't know what the fuck is wrong with some of y'all navigating the re
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
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
Pouting Always
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Frankie Lovely
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.




 ⚔ Sh3lly - Cranky Crone of Rabid Hedgehogs and Fire Breathing Kittens ⚔
Review also found here at the blog (it's different than the one here): The Black Witch

FANTASTIC DEBUT NOVEL that handled themes of bigotry and prejudice quite well, in my view.

All in all, this is not so different than your typical Young Adult fantasy. A powerful, tyrannical group threatens the freedom and free will of other oppressed groups. The group in charge is made up of mages and the other groups are fae, wolf shifters, selkies, etc. We have a heroine who is originally ignorant and thinks t
To see this review and others please visit

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
Candace Robinson
I think it's really crappy that people are throwing out 1 stars for no reason without reading, so to counteract one of those people that is why I am changing mine to a 5 because it's messed up. If you read the book and totally hated it that's fine, but cmon now to those that threw out a 1 for no reason.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 way, and acted out accordingly. Everyone was doing it, so I thought I had to do it too. This being said, I no longer stand by this review - but I choose to leave it there as a
Mar 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Look no I haven't read it, but I am done with bullshit weirdly racist white savior books. Fantasy as a genre needs to fucking step up, and not use white as their go to race. Apparently the author made the MC refer to a group of people as "half-breeds". I'm like really not ok w racially offensive language in fantasy books under the guise that it is a "made up race" and "the MC doesn't know better". If you want to write a racist MC make it blatant to the reader that they are a bad person, that the ...more
Mar 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Austine (NovelKnight)
I don't normally do live updates while reading a book. Honestly, I tend to read so fast that it's just not worth it to me and most of the time I don't have so much to say that I feel like it's necessary. It can wait until the review. But this particular title stirred up a lot of....thoughts....that I felt important to share with y'all, my fellow readers.

Before anything else I want to say that first, I am not the best judge of good rep because I know that I am privileged and still learning, and w
Carrie (The Butterfly Reader)
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars but I round up.


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
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy, favorites
"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
Jodie Humphrey
Mar 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just can't with this book.
I can't.

I had to stop at 45%. I just couldn't force myself to carry on any further.
Even getting this far was a struggle.

This book is sooo problematic.

I'm aware the author is probably setting it up so that our oh-so-special MC can grow and change and become a better person and probably change the whole bloody world along the way.
But no.

It was racist and sexist and just awful.

Was the author trying to make Lukas Grey seem attractive to the reader?
Because he reall
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 😊


“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 disa
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
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Social Justice Warriors Ruin Everything 1 178 Aug 21, 2017 04:13AM  
who's the racist? 1 121 Aug 01, 2017 11:08AM  
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The Black Witch Chronicles (3 books)
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“People see what they expect to see,” he says sharply. “Through a filter of their own hatred and prejudice.” 57 likes
“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.” 19 likes
More quotes…