The Black Witch, by Laurie Forest
In case you hadn’t heard, there was a ton of controversy surrounding this book when it was released. Several book bloggers and reviewers gave it a one star rating on Goodreads claiming that the book was “Racist,” “Homophobic,” and “Abelist,” which I honestly don’t understand but it’s all bs in my opinion anyway. Here is a screenshot that I took of the first few “reviews” on goodreads….
Pretty intense right. It turns out that some blogger posted the review and then basically campaigned for people to give the book a one-star rating on Goodreads before they had even read it.
I am telling you all of this in order to give context for my review.
First, here is the synopsis…
(Summary/Photo Credit: Goodreads.com)
I gave this a 5 star rating because it was really good and so that it can cancel out some of the one star ratings given by people who didn’t even bother to read it but relied on someone else’s hyperbolic “review” instead of forming their own opinion.
There is “racism” as a subject in the book. The establishment is “homophobic” and xenophobic. There are stereotypes and prejudgments based on the “race” of certain characters. IT IS CALLED WORLDBUILDING!!!!!!
These ideas are explored throughout the novel. I think it is extremely realistic because THESE SENTIMENTS AND BELIEFS EXIST IN THE REAL WORLD!
I understand that fantasy is often used as an escape but it can also be used to teach. It enables people to see the stupidity of their ideas through a different perspective.
Obviously some people want fantasy to be pure fantasy and have everyone holding hands and singing Kumbaya; which is ridiculous then because what story would there be to tell?
The main character, Elloren, is raised by an uncle in the country and believes the things she has been taught and adheres to the tenets of her religion; as many people do.
When she begins university she is forced to interact with others in a new way. At first her beliefs color her perception of others, but as she grows into the world and her self, she realizes that a lot of what she has been taught is wrong.
She follows her heart and defies her “caste” by basing her judgements of her peers on the merits of their actions. She is intelligent and open minded.
She is confused and scared because she knows she could lose everything including her life as a result of her defiance.
This novel is not a stand-alone, but the first of a series; and to anyone who reads fantasy or with half a brain can realize that all of the negative aspects of the culture are necessary for the purpose of context.
This is a good book. I look forward to reading the next installment. If you are one of the people who gave this a one-star rating and haven’t read it please do. I’m sure you will be surprised.
And to the person who wrote the review that completely trashed this book, I would love to know what world you live in where these beliefs either don’t exist or shouldn’t be explored.