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Witch Born

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,471 ratings  ·  317 reviews
Alyce's mother has just been burnt at the stake for practicing witchcraft. With only a thin set of instructions and a witch's mommet for guidance, Alyce must face the world that she's been sealed off from -- a world of fear and superstition. With a witch hunter fast on her trail, she'll need the help of an innkeeper and a boy looking to discover the truth behind his own mo ...more
Hardcover, 313 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Chicken House (first published September 7th 2017)
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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,471 ratings  ·  317 reviews

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Dannii Elle
I like my books to match my mood and my surroundings. And my autumnal aesthetic is darker-themed fiction, with hints of the fantastical, and full of atmospheric settings. So, it felt like the gods were answering my prayers when 'Witchborn' by Nicholas Bowling arrived on my doorstep.

This historical fantasy is set in London 1577. Britain is divided under two queens, segregated by two warring religions and the females of the country are being outed as witches and slain in fear. But the
This beauty arrived in the mail today and yes, the cover is even more beautiful than it probably looks *__*

Witchborn was a really fun historical fantasy with a realistic setting and plenty of added mystery and magic. Set in 1577 with Queen Elizabeth I on the throne and Mary Queen of Scots locked in the Tower of London for treason this is a story about an ongoing, bitter rivalry between the two queens and a young girl who gets caught in the crossfire.

Alyce's life is turned upside down when her mother is burned at the stake for witchcraft. Alyce manages to escape and heads to London, determ
Jan 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An alternative history YA, the only thing Witchborn gets right is its cover. The collection of words that lies behind artist Erica Williams' work doesn’t speak of any real understanding of women - much less teenage girls - nor of any affinity with plot structure and tension building whatsoever.

Set in England, 1577, all this book seems to be about is the fact that witches exist. That's it. Sure, there's a main character - bland, unoriginal and red-headed - and there's a love-interest
Jennie Damron
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book so much. I wasn't expecting the historical aspects surrounding the book which was a nice surprise. The characters were good but I wasn't fully engaged with them. There wasn't any I loved or wanted to know more about. I liked the story and the mystery surrounding everything. And the twist was particularly good. I have to admit I didn't see it coming. All in all a good read.
Kath Elizabeth
This book had a really interesting premise and setting, but it fell a little bit flat for me.

Witchborn is about a young girl called Alyce who is being kept in an asylum called Bedlam. Her mother was murdered for witchcraft and Alyce was taken away. However, after months of being kept there she gets the opportunity to escape, and runs away into the middle of London to find the man her mother told her to go to. This book is set in 1577, so its a very different London to the one we reco
Jade Ratley
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This particular book, Witchborn by Nicholas Bowling, had been sat on my shelf for approximately a year, and I thought it was about time I picked it up. I was particularly drawn to it due to the season, the cover of this book just screams Autumn to me, and that season is upon us. Then of course, ‘Witchborn’ would suggest witches, and Halloween is on its way too. Then there’s the bird on the over, and we all know I have a weakness for that - so I finally read it.

Witchborn follows a young lady by
Firstly this book for me was a cover buy - as the cover is absolutely gorgeous! The book itself was okay but in parts I found it a bit underwhelming, and I feel that Bowling could have made more out of certain events! Although the book had a couple of plot twists, neither of these were completely unexpected and I found the added historical drama between Queen Elizabeth and Mary Stuart unrealistic and a bit repetitive.

I would have liked their to have been much more to Alyce and her ma
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i picked witchborn up thinking that it might be a book somewhere in conversation with sally gardner's i, coriander or frances hardinge's skinful of shadows, using magic as a way of thinking through gendered power and the differing ways in which young women come to know themselves and are identified; i thought that it might place pressure on the ways in which elizabeth i and mary stuart were perceived, and the ways in which 'unnatural' identity always seems to manifest when women gain, or aspire to, social power. the book ...more
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the setting and the atmosphere of this book so much omg
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. Review here (live 10/19/18).
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, owned
2.5 stars.

I will freely admit that this was a cover buy because come on look at it... it's stunning. The plot also excited me as it had some of my favourite elements witches, historical fiction and an asylum setting. However this was just a bit of a let down it was just meh, i feel like it had the potential to be great but something was of that i can't put my finger on. It might have been the pacing or the predictable plot twist but it just didn't capture me like i hoped.
The Bookish Austin
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought this was a pretty enjoyable read! I was kind of hoping for more witchcraft from the protagonist, but it was an interesting take on some historical fiction. :)
I loved the first half of this book; it had witches, it was set in Tudor times and the main character was intriguing. However, soon for me in descended into rambling chaos. We had Mary Queen of Scots appearing as a ghost thing and bringing people back from the dead. Queen Elizabeth was also a witch who had a secret witch room. It was just a bit weird. I love a bit of history twisting in the historical fiction genre, but to me this just felt silly. Especially as the setting of the book seemed so ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the silliest book I have ever read! That said it is very readable. Whether that is because I couldn't believe what I was reading is debatable. And how I kept a straight face while I was reading it was another matter. The thing is I don't think it's supposed to be a comedy. That is the worry. Oh dear! All that said it is presented as a wonderful book to hold in your hands, so well done the Art Dept.
Celia McMahon
This was a case of pretty cover, subpar book.

To be completely honest, I was intrigued by the first chapter. I thought, this is going to be Witch-filled goodness. Yea. No. It was, how do I say....boring. The potential was there, but the protagonist was stale (I had to back and read the synopsis because I forgot her name 🤭). Everyone else was one dimensional save for Solomon who was cool. I wanted more magic, more intrigue. The ending felt rushed and weird. There’s not much else to say about it.
🌟Head in the Stars🌟
DNF at page 70. It’s got a good premise but it’s not sucking me in yet. I’ll put it on the backburner and come back to it later.
Andreea Zelenyak
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Kate Ormand
Set in 1577 London, Alyce’s mother is accused of being a witch and killed. Alyce escapes but she’s important in a war between queens and the witch finders are closing in on her. This dark and dangerous story is perfect for autumn. I read it for Halloween this year and it was the best choice! I flew through it and absolutely loved the atmosphere, mystery and magic. A captivating read with one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve ever seen! I’d recommend to fans of Virginia Boecker’s Witch Hunter and ...more
Anya Leana
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the beginning it was slow but at the moment when alice was on the run, the action and plot twists didn't stop. I sat always at the end of my seat. I loved how the witch craft was described in this book. I think it's a standalone of how the book ended but if not, I need the second book when it comes out!
Emma (Miss Print)
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: from-publisher
England, 1577: Alyce can't trust anyone after her mother is burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft. With only the barest instructions and a mommet doll to guide her, Alyce heads to London. She hopes it will be easy to follow her mother's instructions to find the hangman.

Along the way Alyce has to dodge dangerous witch hunters and learn how to trust new friends and allies. But Alyce isn't the only one in London with a mission. Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots are both
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story about a young and feisty witch set in the time of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots?! Those are three of my favourite things, and here they are all smushed together in a beautifully written, dark and intriguing adventure.

My favourite historical/fantasy books are the ones that manage to make you feel like you’re right there with the characters, seeing, smelling, hearing and experiencing everything that they are. Nicholas Bowling does a bloody wonderful job of that and I can
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I'm not normally one to go for books about witches but this is dark and historical (which I love) with some fantasy thrown in. The author describes really well what life in London would have been like in the sixteenth century - the grime, the sights, sounds and smells, the horrific conditions in places like Bedlam, the fear of magic etc. It's a great read with a beautiful cover.
Leonie Byrne
I'm trying out returning to my old format of reviewing so I'm going to start including some info about the book at the beginning of my reviews again!

Title: Witchborn
Author: Nicholas Bowling
Format read: paperback
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Chicken House
Genre: historical fiction / fantasy
Star rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟

Synopsis: Set in 1577 Alyce's mother has just been burnt at the stake for witchcraft. Elizabeth the Queen has imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots and England is in turmoil. Alyce escapes after k
Apollo Moony
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a lot more fun to read than I thought it would be. I haven't read a book that combined history and fantasy so clearly before. It wasn't so fantastical that it made me cringe, but it also was action packed and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I found myself attached to every single character, good or bad. While reading this book, I found it amazing that Bowling managed to give every last character their own unique personality. Even if the character was small, even if ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Witch born has such an interesting premise behind it but it just fell flat for me which was so frustrating as I really wanted to love this book (mainly because I have this obsession with all things witchy at the moment??)
The setting was amazing and very absorbing and I loved that the fact that every time I opened the book I felt like I was right in the midst of medieval England, in a tavern with fiddles in the background. Yet the plot just didn't match up to the world building. Also I feel
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book wins most beautiful cover of the year, book number 108 (!! omg how on EARTH did I manage to get so far?!) Witch Born was a great little novel, set in Elizabethan times, during the height of the Queen War between Elizabeth and Mary.
Alyce is the daughter of an accused witch being hunted by witch hunters, where she is quickly found and burned. This is just the start of the horrible ordeal Alyce has to go through to find out what she truly is, and where she’s meant to be.

With men
My husbands new favourite hobby is picking up random books and presenting them to me as a present. This is the fourth in that series, and actually this is probably the best one so far! Witch Born is set in Tudor England, and it did an excellent job of transporting me back in time. The descriptive passages were wonderful, and I particularly enjoyed all references to various potions, ingredients and witchy things. This one did however fall into a trap a lot of YA novels seem to fall into these day ...more
Sophie Brindley
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some people say that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but with this one it was kinda hard. I absolutely love the design of the book cover and so, decided to read it on a whim. I wasn't disappointed. It has a steady pace, although some aspects of the book were a bit obvious I found that once I'd gotten Into this book I couldn't put it down.
Chloe (QuothTheBookLover)
I loved the atmosphere of this book and the time period it was set in is one of my favourites. I love the Tudors and this take on their story was so interesting.
I liked the main character although I did find her a little boring at times and I was glad that Solomon was there to add more character depth.
The atmosphere was amazing and I really felt pulled into the setting.
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Nicholas Bowling is an author, stand-up comic, musician, and Latin teacher from London. He graduated from Oxford University in 2007 with a BA in Classics and English, and again in 2010 with a Masters in Greek and Latin Language and Literature, before moving to his first teaching job at Trinity School, Croydon. While writing Witchborn, he also performed a solo show at the Edinburgh festival, and ha ...more
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