Book Review: The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

“There is no freedom without wholeness, no hope unless the thing that has been broken is restored.”

― Kelly Barnhill, The Witch's Boy

Speaking stones, a friendly wolf, and a spoilt young king are among the traditional aspects of fairy tales that noted author Kelly Barnhill skillfully incorporates into a beautifully drawn story that examines good and evil, love and hatred, magic, and the strength of friendship.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

When Ned and his identical twin brother Tam tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of his family’s cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it's Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

In the meantime, in another kingdom across the forest that borders Ned’s village lives Áine, the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” But when Áine and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over?

My reaction to this novel...

This was an absolutely fantastic book to read. It’s about a kid who has been separated from his twin. Kelly weaves the story of the child, his mother, and his father’s love, tragedy, and complicity. The story also involves a young woman who had a wonderful mother and father till the mother passed away and her father changed. By inference, the magic links the child and the young lady. The whole plot revolves on the enchantment, its origins, and the impact it has had on their lives. Overall, the story flowed nicely; the characters were engaging and distinct, and the perspectives of the two main characters seemed fitting for their ages. I also realized that while the book was meant for a young demographic, it was also a pleasant experience for an older reader like me. There was magic and danger, as well as love and misery. Because of their experiences, the characters and the notion of their links altered. There were few unexpected happenings here, which may have been the creator’s intention, but it still astounded me.

This is also a lovely fantasy tale with enthralling characters, in my opinion. I felt like I was transported back to my childhood while reading stories like these. I also had the impression that there were aspects of this universe, its geology and history, that I didn’t always understand because they were relevant to the plot. Their secrets, on the other hand, added to the overall expressiveness of the piece. This might lean younger or older, since I can picture Ned and Aine as children as well as adults. Regardless, the novel does not simplify its main ideas about power, debasement, love, and disaster for young readers of all ages. I was really pleased with the characters as a whole, and I enjoyed witnessing their passionate development as the tale progressed.

With regard to the author, she is well knowledgeable in her works. The story is well written. The piece itself is worth reading. She  uses words to convey a setting, an emotion, develop characters, and so on. It was breathtaking. There are countless instances throughout this story. What’s really going on here is about love and sacrifice. This book for me is highly recommended…

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5)

“Not every story is true. And sometimes the things that were wicked become the things that save us, and the things that were good doom us to misery and pain.”

This idea does not accord with me. I think that what the term describes as being wicked actually is wicked. There is no other explanation or justification why it will be beneficial to someone save the fact that it is wicked. And, if something is excellent, how can it cause us to be unhappy? I firmly disagree with this assertion. Despite the majority of the time, individuals opted to do evil things in order to gain what they believed was good, the feeling of happiness they had was only fleeting since it originated from someone who was horrible and wicked. I vehemently disagree with the author's assertion.

Where to buy this book...


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