REVIEW: Witch Born

by Nicholas Bowling

Pages: 368
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: November 2nd 2017
Received From: Chicken House

It's 1577. Queen Elizabeth I has imprisoned scheming Mary Queen of Scots, and Alyce's mother is burned at the stake for witchcraft. Alyce kills the witchfinder and flees to London - but the chase isn't over yet. As she discovers her own dark magic, powerful political forces are on her trail. She can't help but wonder: why is she so important? Soon she finds herself deep in a secret battle between rival queens, the fate of England resting on her shoulders...

Witch Born is the story of Alyce, a 16th Century girl forced out of her family home when her mother is brutally murdered in front of her by the witchfinder. Fleeing the only home she has ever known Alyce runs to London in hopes of finding help but instead is greeted by the cold harsh gates of Bedlam. As the story unfolds Alyce is forced to find her way in an unknown and scary London with what feels like an army of witchfinders, ghosts and myths chasing her. But with the help of a young aspiring actor, Solomon, Alyce starts to discover secrets she ever knew existed and a royal plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

This is one of those books that had me hooked from the opening chapter. Personally, I have a fascination with this period in history and Nicholas Bowling's take on Elizabethan London is something not to be missed. He mixes the fantasy of witches and magic with the hardships of a Monarchy under constant threat, creating a London filled with treachery and possibility - just waiting for our young protagonist to take centre stage.

Even though Witch Born is set in a VERY different time to a lot of YA fiction Alyce's journey is the epitome of the coming of age story. Forced to leave everything she has ever know, learning to live on her own, discovering who she really is... what more could you ask for? Alyce as a courage that I really admired, and even when terrified she finds a way to do what she has to do. She grows through out the story and by the very last page I was dying to know what she was going to do next.

Overall, Witch Born was one of those books I just didn't want to put down. It is also one of those books that I can't say ANYTHING about without giving away too much. However, I can say that Nicholas Bowling's magical story telling brings to life a tale of family, friendship and betrayals that will have your jaw hitting the floor. So if you haven't read this one yet I highly recommend it.

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