The Apprentice Witch
by James Nicol
Recommended Ages: 12+
Arianwyn has a tough time, starting out as an independent young woman. She has to be nice to her worst enemy. She has to be firm with her best friend. She has to face people after they have seen her making terrible mistakes. She has to protect a community that has been neglected for too many years, and whose charms are all but worn out. And she has to learn to believe in herself. Fortunately, she is under the supervision of a tough-but-fair senior witch who views her with a sympathetic eye. She has found favor, if not with the administrator of the Civil Witchcraft Authority, at least with her cheerful young assistant. Most importantly of all, she has a kind heart, which wins her strange but important friends.
This book is slated to have a sequel, A Witch Alone, released March 1, 2018. Meantime, it is a highly entertaining, emotionally gripping story, featuring a main character who is at least as interesting as the original fantasy world in which she lives. I picture her kingdom of Hylund as a sort of sideways version of England during the era of World War I. It has telephones and motor-cars and a shiny bus whose owner calls her Beryl. It also has spirit creatures of light, dark, and something in between. It will be fascinating to explore further, especially with an inspiring heroine like Arianwyn to provide the point of view.