Monday, April 11, 2016

The Thickety: A Path Begins by J. A. White

Author: J.A.White
Publisher: Katherine Teagan Books
Date of publication: May 2014

Hand in hand, the witch's children walked down the empty road.

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr's Realm. But mostly it's called the Thickety.

The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her.

The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.

And that is just the beginning of the story.

I've had this book in my TBR for a while now.  I kind of wished that I had read it sooner.  The Thickety: A Path Begins is the first book in  this middle grade series.  In an unknown village, magic has been banned and deemed a crime.  To practice magic is to fall off the path.  Kara watched her mother hanged as a witch when she was almost 6.  She has spent the last 7 years taking care of her father and brother.  The town treats her as a pariah and is genuinely afraid that she will turn out to be like her mother.  

I did end up liking this book.  I thought it was dark and suspenseful and exactly what I would have loved when I was in 6th or 7th grade.  Kara is a great character.  She has grown up without a mother and has had the entire town bully her pretty much daily. Yet, she still pushes on and makes sure her father and brother are taken care of. The villains in the book are just evil enough without being too terrifying.  The story has some nice twists that kept it interesting. The only downside to the book is that it has a kind of cliffhanger ending.  Thankfully, I have the next book on hold so I can see how Kara and Taff fair in the Thickety.

I definitely recommend this one to lovers of darker middle grade books.  You won't be disappointed.

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