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The Thickety Review

    The Thickety is a book with a fantastical and terrifying world. It’s the story of an otherworldly forest home to blighted creatures and demons, and monsters of all kinds. Amidst all the horror and wonder, a small village named De’Noran sits in the middle of it. The people of the village follow a series of rules called the Path. They are opposed to all types of witchcraft and magic, unfortunately for the main character, Kara Westfall. When she was only five years old, her mother was executed for being a witch. That's how the story begins.

    Honestly, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s dark and creepy, the characters are great, the world is stunning. The character’s pain and grief, and even the brief happy moments in time, feel incredibly real. The love Kara has for her younger brother Taff, always wanting to protect him and keep him safe no matter what—you can feel exactly how much he means to her. The mechanics of the world are pretty solid, as much as magic can be anyways. The twist at the end really leaves you on a cliffhanger. Luckily, the second, third, and the last instalment of the series are worthy continuations of the first. Personally, my favorite is the third, The Well of Witches, for its inventive world mechanics, epic scenes, and an exciting adventure. The second, The Whispering Trees, and the fourth, The Last Spell, have so much wonderous character development, and introduce heaps of creepy wonder into the world. But back to the first book, The Path Begins.

    First off: the setting. As previously stated, almost the entire book takes place in the village of De’Noran, and once or twice in the deadly black forest surrounding the village, The Thickety, or the infectious field of blighted plants at the edge of the forest that must be routinely cut and burned, the Fringe. While reading the book, De’Noran felt alive, no place or building was only used as a plot device. The Thickety isn’t as menacing or scary in the first book, but it still provided some more creepy wonder. In the next book especially, it’s a genuinely creepy and torturous place. The Fringe was an interesting place that really didn’t do anything to drive the plot forwards, but the characters and poisonous plants are fascinating. But the Fringe isn't the only place that holds interesting characters.

    The characters in the story are by far the most interesting thing about the book. The main character, Kara Westfall, saw her mother hanged for murdering two innocents and being a witch when she was five years old. Since, nearly the entire town has had extreme contempt for all the Westfalls. She is constantly bullied especially by her classmate named Grace Stone, who we’ll come back to in a minute. She is shunned for being thought to be a witch herself, after her mother's death her father sank into a deep depression so she has to do all the work around her house. And to top of it all, she finds a grimoire she thinks belonged to her mother, and finds she can use it. She’s a witch. Of course she’s tortured by not wanting to use magic after being told never to even say “I wish” and seeing her mother die for using it, and by the book constantly whispering in her ear, trying to use the magic inside its pages. That’s all I’m going to say for now about Kara to avoid further spoilers.

    So, backing up a bit, back to Grace Stone. Oh boy, there's a lot to unpack here. In my opinion, Grace is the most interesting character in the entire book series. She was born around the same time as Kara, and she’s the only daughter Fen’De Stone, the leader of the village. Ok, I can’t say much else about her without spoiling any more of the story, but I really want to talk about her. So skip to the end of the paragraph now if you don't want to experience spoilers. Anyway, the entire village loves Grace, she seems to be a sweet girl on the outside. While she’s alone or around Kara though, she’s a horribly cruel person. It’s mostly because of her father, who pretty much outright hates Grace, because she was born with white hair and a crippled leg, signs of being a witch. Now, for the real spoiler. Grace ends up actually being the witch her father feared her to be. But unlike Kara, who tries to suppress her magical talents, Grace full-heartedly embraces them. After accidentally using a grimoire once, she goes mad for another taste of the power she was lacking all her life. She would do anything and everything to return the grimoire to her power. Eventually, she does, and because of the spiteful person she really is, she nearly destroys the entire village, converting the most operative magic haters into fused monsters to do her bidding. By the end of the book, she is literally sucked up by the book, she used too much of the book and cast the spell on the last page. I’d love to go on and on about Grace because there’s so much more to say, and there's another character I would love to have an in-depth rant about, but I think I should wrap this up here. (If anyone has read the books and wants to have a discussion about them, then please email here. mailto:debbie@novafolios.com )As I’ve already said, this is my absolute favorite book series, with its profound characters and vast world. There’s so much to love about it, it’s a wonderful story I highly recommend, the next books in the series are phenomenal as well. It’s a great read, I’m sure you’ll love it.
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