3 4 Friday - Watch out for Witches in Abingdon

Passing on a prediction from our trade magazine The Bookseller this week – that witches are the new vampires!

We’ll see as the year goes on whether they are right or not, but strangely, our first event of the year is about . . .  witches. Ruth Warburton visits John Mason School on Thursday January 23 to talk to students about ‘Witch Finder’, after her successful series ‘A Witch in Winter’ came to an end last year.

Luke’s parents were killed by witches, and to avenge their death he has become a witch hunter. His final test is to track and kill a witch he picks at random, Rosa, a witch-girl living in rapidly fading grandeur on the west side of town. She's the last bargaining chip in her family's struggle to avoid bankruptcy and is about to be married off to the handsome, cruel, grotesquely rich Sebastian Knyvet but things become complicated when he falls for Rosa...

This book is to be recommended if you love historical fiction mixed with danger and magic (and some powerfully-written romance). Engaging, Warburton takes great care to describe Victorian London and shows the importance of strength and perseverance, plus the need for your own independence when making your own choices in life.

(eBook download here - Click and Collect in store)

Our second pick of great witch stories at the moment is ‘Student Bodies’ by Sean Cummings. Student Bodies takes over from where Poltergeeks left off. Julie Richardson is a witch, and her mother is still trying to teach her everything that goes with her special powers.  After witnessing the death of a popular kid at school she knows her job as a shadowcull is only beginning because there’s someone lurking the halls of Crescent Ridge High School with enough malice to unleash an epidemic of Soul Worms – supernatural larvae that feed on the very fabric of a victim’s humanity.

Even faster in pace than its predecessor, with a ending to leave you breathless, it tackles difficult teenage issues, and themes such as bullying and responsibility in an effective yet respectful way. An all-round, more mature book cloaked in urban fantasy. And as it's published by Angry Robot, don't forget to ask for your free e-book as part of its CloneFiles initiative.

(eBook download here - Click and Collect in store)

Finally, we're all looking forward to one of the biggest YA debuts of this year in ‘Half Bad’ by Sally Green. It's a story of a boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches. It’s set in modern-day England where witches live among humans. Although it is fantasy, it has a powerful real-world quality about it - and film rights have already been sold.

(eBook download here - Click and Collect in store)

And we have to say there has been an upsurge in interest in Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch series after Jill brought out a brand new story - 'The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star' - just before Christmas. We appreciate that these appeal to a slightly younger audience...

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