Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Synopsis: 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 annual New Year's Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.
The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin...the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.
With only his village's terrifying, ancient stories as a guide, and his two friends Engle and Melda by his side, Tor must travel across unpredictable Emblem Island, filled with wicked creatures he only knows through myths, in a race against his dwindling lifeline. (Amazon)
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Genre: Fantasy / Middle Grade
Rating: 3 stars
***BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS***
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 always varied, as are the places that they come from, and though I wish that we'd spent a little more time getting to know then deeper than at surface level, it's not surprising for them to appear and then move along in this genre.
It was, however, intriguing that a lot of them come from the stories that these three children read in the featured dark tales tome of The Book of Cuentos. Not only do I love novels that have stories within stories—which is one of the biggest reasons I've grown fond of The Hazel Wood series—but I love it when they're incorporated into the main plot and come alive. And because this trio of friends have to move along a map that traces these stories so that they can reach the Night Witch at the end of their quest, they have to constantly encounter—and sometimes battle—these stories in their real world.
It's certainly entertaining.
The Curse of the Night Witch has a colorful setting, full of interesting beasts and folklore, and it was lovely to see little lessons sprinkled throughout for readers: “Be careful what you wish for,” one of the most prominent ones. The bond that grows among Melda, Tor and Engle is so sweet to behold, because at its core this is a story about friendship and familial bonds; and there's a gripping foreshadowing angle at the end of what's to come in the next phase of the story.
If you're a fan of quests like Engle, take a peek between these pages.
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