It's the day of the testing. Arianwyn waits in line with everyone in her class and slowly makes her way to toward the evaluation gauge. Rain is pouring down around her, her teeth are chattering and every so often, her perfect classmate Gimma gives her a disgusted sneer. The other apprentice witches are passing their testing with flying colors and getting their assignments. It has just been announced that this class of witches "will play a vital role as the Civil Witchcraft Authority embarks on our first ever mission to catalog the various types of spirit creatures present in the Four Kingdoms." This class of apprentices will be stationed far and wide to support the mission.
When it's Arianwyn's turn to be tested, she steps up to the gauge under Miss Newam's hostile gaze and does her best to focus on the scroll that holds the images of the four glyphs. Focus....focus..... but it's happening again just as it happened before. Arianwyn's mind is being held by the image and the pull of a fifth glyph. Not now. She needs the glyph to stop but instead its power is building and suddenly she is hit with a powerful jolt. The lights around her start to flicker but the worst news of all is that the evaluation gauge is sending up a wisp of smoke. When Miss Newam looks for Arianwyn's score, there is a gasp. Where everyone else has passed, Arianwyn will receive a mark of ungraded. Such disgrace.
With her powerful grandmother interceding on her behalf, Arianwyn receives a moon brooch and an assignment in a backwater neck of the woods where she will serve as the witch for the small community of Lull.
Magical creatures and dark forces are coming out of the Forest near Lull as they never have before. It will be Arianwyn's responsibility to use her magical spells to keep the townspeople safe. Various families send runners to request her services as their homes are invaded and their lives disturbed by unusual beasts.
Arianwyn is a stumbler and a bit of a klutz. Her aim isn't so great either. But she has a good heart and she wants to help. It is discouraging to feel she has failed her grandmother. But she will not suffer from a lack of opportunities to wield her magic and prove herself to the doubting mayor and to Gimma, her nemesis, who shows up in the same town. Of all the gin joints in the world..... yep....there she is with her selfish, self-centered attitude.
Can Arianwyn prove herself to be a competent witch? Can she regain her place in the world of witches? Will the dark forces of the Forest mount such an attack that Arianwyn will not be powerful enough to hold them back? What is the fifth glyph and why is it haunting her?
Rich storytelling, lovable magical creatures, royally entertaining and a main character with enough determination and pluck to make you want to walk into the Forest alongside her. Warm friendship balances the dark forces at work and the world of Arianwyn comes alive for you with its enchanting beasts, foes and the magical sprinkles of determination and wit.
978-1338118582 336 pages Ages 8-12
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com