Hardcover, 224 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Clarion Books
Source: Raincoast Books
Grayling is what could perhaps be termed a witch-in-training. She lives with her rather oppressive mother some distance outside a village. The village all come to Grayling’s mama for their ailments whether they be heartaches or backaches. One day while Grayling is out gathering herbs for her mother, calamity befalls them. Their house is destroyed, her mother’s grimoire is stolen and her mother is turned into a tree. A talking tree but a tree nonetheless. At her mother’s urging, Grayling, in spite of her own worries and insecurities, sets off to find help, her mother’s grimoire, and a way to turn things back to normal.
She meets a witch, a witch’s apprentice, a wizard, and an enchantress on her travels. Soon, they are all traveling together in an attempt to unravel the dark spell that has turned other witches and wise women into trees and stolen their grimoires as well. Grayling has adventures and her patience is sorely tried by some of her traveling companions.
I rather think Janet will enjoy this slow perambulation about the countryside with wicked landlords and lazy wizards brightening up the scenery. I found the book a bit too sparse for my tastes but I am a seasoned fantasy reader. The book is perfect for a introduction to the fantasy genre for younger readers who will find the hero’s journey Grayling goes on to be very satisfying. The book is a rather quirky coming of age story that tells of Grayling moving out of her mother’s shadow and becoming her own person. The mystery is not very complicated and the plot rather simple but as I said, younger readers will appreciate the relatively straight-forward story while glorying in the magic systems introduced.
Perfect for those who like The Hobbit.