Saturday, 6 September 2014

Children's Book Review: The Watching Wood by Erika McGann

The Watching Wood by Erika McGann is a fun-filled, exciting and engaging adventure story for young girls. 

The book blurb reads: 
When Grace and her five best friends are sucked into a world of witches and faeries, it seems like a nightmare. Forced to take part in the Witch Trials, they risk life and limb to compete against other trainee witches in magical, death-defying stunts. But when they are discovered to be mere humans, this supernatural world turns against them, and the real nightmare begins.

The story focuses on six young girls who are one day unexpectedly and frighteningly transported from their magical school to an unknown location. The girls, Grace, Jenny, Adie, Rachel. Una and Delilah quickly discover that they have been entered, without choice, into a dangerous witch trials tournament from which they are unable to escape. 

From the get-go the girls struggle to fit in to life within the witch tournament castle set in the midst of a dangerous island full of vicious faeries. Things only get harder when one of them is selected as 'gifted' and chosen to train with 'The Hunters' who kill faeries in order to keep the faerie population in check. 

We really enjoyed this book, the pace is brilliant, especially when the story splits into two narratives and the author moves back and forth between them in fast succession. The plots continue to develop throughout the story in unexpected ways and it's amazing how many great characters are packed in to the 262 pages. 

The theme of friendship in the story is fantastic (the girls squabble and fall out as friends do!) but their ultimate loyalty is to one another. In the midst of action their conversations are brilliantly written, quick witted, sharp and natural. Another thing we loved about the girls was their succinct 'irishness', they occasionally threw in a phrase which really made us smile such as; "let's not look a gift horse in the mouth"! 

This is the third book in this series from Erika McGann, it's not necessary to read the predecessors, The Demon Notebook and The Broken Spell to enjoy The Watching Wood but if the quality of this installment is anything to go by, buy all three. 

The Watching Wood is best suited for girls aged 10-14 and will be available for purchase from the 15th September 2014. It is published by The O'Brien Press and you can read more about the full series on their website here. 

Thank you to the O'Brien Press for sending us this book to review :-)

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