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Curse of the Night Witch

(Emblem Island #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  114 reviews
"Worthy of every magical ounce." - Kirkus, starred review

On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it.

Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the ann
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 9th 2020 by Sourcebooks Young Readers (first published June 2nd 2020)
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Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
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Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

"There are many ways to be strong
that don't require a sword."

A warming story about friendship and learning life's lessons, The Curse of the Night Witch is chock-full of adventure from start to finish.

Throughout the length of the story, you get to encounter a lot of characters that help the three leads—Tor, Melda and Engle—progress further. These characters are a
Christi M
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
In The Curse of the Night Witch three kids go on an adventure to find the Night Witch and remove a curse.

On Emblem Island, every individual has a mark on their wrist denoting a specific unique skill. Some marks identify what role you will have in society while others are skills that have a bit of a magical touch to them. Tor was born with the leadership emblem, but he’d much rather be able to breathe underwater. In the hopes that the wish-god can change his emblem, he submits this as a wish on E
This is a stunning tale of adventure where characters and setting are as strong as the story. Tor, along with his friend Engle and his classmate Melda, discover that the worlds in the community handbook, "The Book of Cuentos" aren't merely fairy tales, they represent a dangerous reality that our 3 young protagonists must face. A short excerpt from the Cuentos (where a clue may be inferred) precedes each new challenge the kids deal with as they rush to defeat the curse placed upon them.

If “Curse
Angela Shores
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Holy adventure, Batman! My mouth is still hanging opening. A marvelous middle grade tale but Oh. My. Word. It’s just the beginning of a series and it hasn’t even released yet. I’m going to need an ARC for every book in the series. Tor, Engle, and Melda set off to rid themselves of a curse and find more than adventure along the way as friendships form and they learn more about themselves; “there are many ways to be strong that don’t require a sword.” Percy Jackson meets every dark and spooky mons ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: age-middle-grade
I loved this!! I don't read middle grade books that often, and the ones I do are usually ones I grew up with. I loved the sound of this book, and I'm so happy that I can honestly say it was a fantastic read! The pacing is just perfect, giving us a gradual buildup and then full steam ahead. Tor and his friends were extremely relatable, and I have no doubt that readers will fall in love with them. While Tor is our male MC, I can say that anyone will enjoy him as our protagonist. I adored this book ...more
Jennifer Duell
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An amazing adventure full of imagery. I could see everything; the beautiful colors, flora and fauna. Three friends embark on a quest and learn their strengths and weaknesses while learning to depend on each other.
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book that I received as an ACR at the ALA 2019 mid-winter conference. The story did take time for me to get into but once I did, I was eager to find out what would happen. The main character is Tor along with his friends Melda and Engle who go on a quest to find the Night Witch. I think my students will enjoy this mysterious world where everyone is born with an emblem. It was fun reading the short monster stories from the Book of Cuentos which gave us clues as to wh ...more
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, dropped-series
The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to enjoy this book more, it has some very cool world-building and mythology, the characters were diverse and had some coll banter from time to time. But the story just wasn't interesting to pull me in, I didn't feel the urge to continue reading it even at the major plot points. I still think this novel has its audience and it's in no way a bad story, I simply
Sean Alexander
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am very lucky to have read an early version of this, and it has only gotten better! I have no doubt children are going to fall in love with the stories, adventure, and magic in the world of Emblem Island.
Jessica (Spooky KidLit & We Who Walk Here, Walk Alone)
Emblem Island is an incredible place full of magic, color, and adventure. It can also be a dangerous, treacherous place…especially if you’ve been cursed by the Night Witch, like Tor and his friends have been. Most Emblemites are born with an emblem somewhere on their body, a birthmark that indicates an ability—like singing beautifully, cooking like a master chef, or even breathing underwater—that determines your course in life. Tor, son of his village’s chieftess, was born with a leadership embl ...more
I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Be careful what you wish for....

On the island of Emblem, if you are lucky enough to be born with an Emblem, then you know your fate, and with that fate comes a special ability. But Tor Luna would do anything to change his fate, and rid himself of his markings indicating that he is destined for leadership. A hard enough thing to live up to as-is, but even more so when your mother is the village chief. But Tor has a pl
Rosenda Rojas
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a masterpiece. It is magnificent to see fairytales based on some of the Hispanic stories I know and love represented in this children's book. I will be buying one for each of my grandchildren, as well as my family in Colombia. ...more
This was darker than I was expecting but I enjoyed the world-building a lot. Based on Latin American myths and stories, Curse of the Night Witch is a fast-paced adventure with mischievous children and a great heart. Looking forward to the sequel!
Feb 17, 2021 added it
Shelves: fantasy, 2021
Tor has always wanted a different life line then the one running across his palm. Why can't his be filled with adventure, instead of following a straight path? He's also wanted a different emblem, and defiantly not the boring leadership emblem he currently shares with his mother. In his heart he knows he's meant for something else and now that it is New Years Eve, he plans to change his fate by throwing his desire into the bonfire and making a wish. But Tor should've been careful what with what ...more
Ms. Yingling
Dec 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Ohio digital library copy

I took a look at this twice, thinking it would be similar to the Rick Riordan presents books, with a lot of action and culturally based fantasy. Something about this struck me as the sort of fantasy my readers are not apt to pick up. Everyone else seems to really, really, really like it, but I struggled to connect with this title. If I could buy all the books in the world, I would, but I buy a limited amount of fantasy because so few of my readers pick it up. I tried!
Tanya Prax
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fast paced, middle grade fantasy! Couldn’t put this one down.
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Nicely done. I’d known absolutely nothing about this book when I started reading it cause I didn’t bother to read the description or look at the cover so my expectations where pretty much at zero but this short book blew me away. I had expected nothing and it gave me so much more. Definitely recommend it, there are lessons to be learned for all of you care enough to look.
Alexandra Alessandri
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky for the review copy of Emblem Island: Curse of the Night Witch.

Tor Luna does not want to be a leader like his mother, though that's exactly what his Emblem dictates is to be his fate. So on Eve, he makes a wish that will change his life--and his lifeline. While he is stripped of his Leadership Emblem, he is also cursed. To remove the curse, he embarks on a journey across Emblem Island with his friends, Engle and Melda, to find the fabled Nigh
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Emblem Island is such a neat setting with a unique origin story. Tor and his friends realize that all the scary childhood stories in the Book of Cuentos are actually a roadmap to the witch. That’s my favorite part–the truth of humanity that hides in every fairytale emerges fully formed in this novel. Some terrifying like the faceless vanor to the peaceful descendants of the Giantess of Nar, sent by the wish-gods to protect humans. What makes this novel stand out is that each tale that prefaces t ...more
Kate Thomas
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is so magical and unique...prepare to be amazed by this lush world
Rron Rexha
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read a draft of the book and immediately fell in love with the characters and the world. Cant wait to see it in stores and get my copy!
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing book! The story really pulls you in, i couldn't put it down! Highly recommended to any reader . ...more
Lisan (lovesbooks)
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review to come...

All I can say that this whole book was amazing!
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley, SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky, and Alex Aster for the opportunity to read Curse of the Night Witch in exchange for an honest review.

Curse of the Night Witch is the first book in the Emblem Island series. The story takes place on Emblem Island (of course). All people are born with an emblem, a mark on their wrist or arm that denotes a certain skill, such as strength or leadership.

Tor is the son of his village leader, and his emblem reflects this. He doesn't want to take up the l
Kristel (hungryandhappy)
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
*Netgalley arc*

Very interesting magic system, solid introduction to a series, likeable characters only a little whiny so it was perfect, and a lot of adventure!!

I love middle grade fantasy books because the characters are raw and genuine, they have just started to need independence and are ready for whatever life throws at them, even if it's a quest to go to the opposite side of the world to defeat a witch who cursed them.

Tor, Melda, and Engle each has flaws, weaknesses, and strength, bringing s
Barb Middleton
The author takes folk tales from Colombia and turns them into a creepy fantasy that is a page turner. Tor doesn't like the emblem or gift he has been born with that is leadership. He would much rather be a water-breather. When he loses his gift to a curse and has to go on a quest, he learns what it means to have true friends. At one point the quest of the three friends reminded me of the Wizard of Oz as each learns his and her weakness. Tor must learn what leadership really means and not fear it ...more
j o a n n a
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade

Well, I finally finished this and I am *conflicted*. On the one hand, I loved the worldbuilding and the characters, but on the other hand, I couldn't get past the choppy writing. It was very hard to read because the pacing was so off. The characters jumped from place to place so fast and I kept on wondering just how small this island was because their quest only took them about a week. I know it's a small thing, but it kept me from really enjoying the story.

I did, however, really enjoy the
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Aster's masterpiece describes Tor Luna's quest to understand the meaning of friendship, sacrifice, and leadership through an enchanted land filled with magic and color.

Is it odd to find a 21 year old bookstore employee/engineering student reading a book for middle schoolers? It shouldnt be. I loved this adventure/coming-of-age story, even though I'm definitely not the target audience. Aster's world is unlike any I've ever encountered, filled with incredibly original concepts of magic, myths, an
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this! Super fun and you know I love a good quest. The concept is fascinating - everyone is born with an emblem that describes their talent. I can only imagine how that could feel suffocating! So when a wish goes awry, our heroes end up on a quest to rid themselves of a curse.

The way the legends and stories of the island are woven into the book is very cleverly done, as is the way they lead
Sep 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Okay, listen.

It is not a terrible read. There were parts that I really like such as the imaginary and the fantastical wonder of the world.

What really made me stick with a 3 star review was that there were parts in beginning and the middle that seemed to drag on FOREVER. There were moments I seriously considered stopping because I did not think I could make it.

BUT, at the last 1/3 is where the pace really sped up in a great way. I might actually read the second book in this series because the e
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