I just read The Black Eyed Witch by Rowan Staeffler. This book is excellent! Immediately I could picture the town meeting with the people’s hysteria rising in fear and the stoic guard’s frustration with the fearmongering.
I would have preferred to read this in one weekend, but unfortunately I had to squeeze it in during the week in my spare moments of free time. It’s so good that I seriously considered staying up late just to read. Even when not reading, this book is in your mind, the foreshadowing teasing your thoughts.
Following this guard, Ronan, around is how the story continues. It is completely comfortable for the reader to read about his battle with the walker and to meet a black-eyed witch, Lithia. We don’t know it then, but she’ll become a major character. As Ronan travels she saves his life again after a kidnapping. Their conversation to get to know each other naturally lets the reader learn about the world. Dialog can be very tricky, but it flows naturally, in part because it has the hesitations and misunderstandings of a real conversation, as well as the little blips of humor and sarcasm.
I absolutely recommend this book to any public library or school classroom. I can think of several middle schoolers that would enjoy this, although it might be more popular with a high school aged reader. There is fighting with some description, but it is not heavily violent or grossly descriptive. The language is appropriate to all ages, and religion is fairly non-existent. In our world of racial inequalities making the daily news, it could be an interesting parallel to compare this world’s cultural views of black-eyed witches versus their reality.