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The Thickety: A Path Begins

Review

The Thickety: A Path Begins

“A child who touches magic is lost forever.” So says “The Path,” the scripture which guides the people of De'Noran, a community who live on small island, isolating themselves from the rest of the world for fear of magic. But, magic is in their midst nonetheless, as young Kara Westfall learns upon discovering a powerful and dangerous book hidden for many years. J.A. White's inventive middle grade horror novel, THE THICKETY: A PATH BEGINS, follows Kara as she realizes her own magical potential and confronts the events that nearly destroyed her family when she was six years old.
 
It was when Kara was six, and just after the birth of her brother Taff, that her mother, Helena Westfall, was publicly executed as a witch in front of all of De'Noran. Kara, Taff and their father lived in shame from then on. Kara herself, as a small girl, stood trial for witchcraft, but was found innocent. 
 
THE THICKETY is a fast-paced and compelling novel; scary and strange and full of menace and well-built tension.
 
But when Kara is 12 and finds the grimoire --- or magical book --- deep in the magical forest called the Thickety, where her mother hid it, her life changes drastically. The grimoire appears blank at first, but Kara soon learns to wield this magical tool. But, the more she uses it, the more she wants to use it, and the closer it brings her to trouble. Before she knows it, Kara is conjuring animals and controlling their actions. Things get even more perilous when she enters into a contest of will and magical strength with her long-time nemesis, Grace, the daughter of the most powerful man in De'Noran.
 
As the health of both Taff and her father decline and as her confrontations with Grace become more and more treacherous, Kara starts to learn the truth about her mother and the terrible events that led to her execution. Still, the sheltered and conservative community Kara is part of fears magic so much that even the truth about the past may not be enough to save Kara and her family from serious harm. And, when Grace takes control of the grimoire, the story takes an even darker and creepier turn.
 
THE THICKETY is a fast-paced and compelling novel; scary and strange and full of menace and well-built tension. White's prose is a tad clumsy at times, as are his explanations of how the magic of this world works, but both are easy to overlook as the story itself is exciting and the characters fresh and dynamic. The last quarter of the book is full of wildly exciting twists and turns and it all ends with a breathless chase and cliffhanger that is sure to leave readers full of anticipation for the next installment of this spine-tingling new series.  

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on May 13, 2014

The Thickety: A Path Begins
(The Thickety #1)
by J. A. White

  • Publication Date: May 6, 2014
  • Genres: Children's, Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • ISBN-10: 0062257242
  • ISBN-13: 9780062257246