Kelly Barnhill’s The Witch’s Boy drew me in with it’s dark cover and intriguing title. I also knew this title was a newer addition to the library, but I never saw it leave it’s prime spot on our new shelf, which made me even more curious to read it.
This tale is about two twin brothers, Ned and Tam, who attempt to build a raft together and sail into the dangerous river beside their village. When the raft breaks down and the two boys are near drowning, their father only manages to save one, the wrong boy. The boy who is too slow, and too weak to do anything. Their mother guards an ancient magic that must not (or should not) be used for evil, and she uses it to sew the soul from the twin who drowned into the twin that lived, so that she does not lose either of her children.
This tale is about a strong and resourceful girl named Aine, who dreams of living on the sea as her mother did. After her mother passes on due to illness, she watches her father slowly regress into who he was before he met her mother. A bandit.
This tale is about loss, unlikely friendships, and that words are what truly have power in this fairy-tale world.
I would recommend this story to more middle-aged children because the story is very in-depth, but also because the word “damn” was used a few times and I know some parents would be uncomfortable with younger children reading that kind of language. I personally felt the author’s use of the word damn was used in a clever way, to further emphasize how malicious one of the side characters were. This story was enjoyable to read, and I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves fairy-tales.