After what seems like an absolute eternity James Nicol is back with the follow up to his enchanting debut, ‘The Apprentice Witch.’ The great news is that ‘A Witch Alone’ is definitely worth the wait as James has crafted another truly unforgettable story filled with magic and mystery that will once again capture your heart. Arianwyn, no longer an apprentice now a fully fledged witch, is thrown into the deep end with people knocking at her door desperate for her help. The hex has driven supernatural creatures from the Great Wood into Lull testing Arianwyn to her very limits and just to make matters worse, the High Elder has set her a dangerous secret mission. Oh and if this is not challenging enough, Arianwyn’s arch-enemy Gimma has been sent to work with her in Lull and is behaving very oddly. With trials seemingly at every path, can she survive the toughest spell of her witching career all alone?
It’s such a joy to return to Lull and become totally engrossed in Arianwyn’s world again. I think it’s remarkable that James can create stories that are wonderfully comforting like a hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day but that are still deliciously dark with a real dangerous edge. An irresistible combination of glorious characterisation and completely believable world building makes these stories utterly compelling. Arianwyn despite being an actual qualified witch still struggles with her belief in herself and her ability to control the magic within her. But her flaws are wonderfully endearing and this is why she is such a likeable and appealing character. Surrounding her with such a brilliant cast of characters brings this story to life allowing the reader to become totally absorbed in this marvellous adventure.
As well as being a tale of bravery and friendship, James has cleverly shown how easy distrust and barriers can be formed between people who are different in challenging times. Arianwyn’s trust of the feylings is in stark contrast to the majority of Lull who are instantly suspicious of their presence using them as a scapegoat for their misfortune and assuming they will bring the hex to infect them. Yet she must have faith and hope that they can help defeat the dark forces that are threatening their very existence. I devoured this book in one sitting as I simply couldn’t put it down, it’s an absolute delight from start to finish. James has such a talent for storytelling that I simply cannot wait to join Arianwyn for more magical adventures.
Thank you to Chicken House for sending me a copy of this marvellous book. ‘A Witch Alone’ is released on the 1st March and is available to pre-order online or from any good bookshop.