Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster
Series: Emblem Island #1
Format: ARC provided by Raincoast Books
Top 3 Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
My rating: Set it on fire/ If you have nothing else to read/ you need to read it/Run and buy it.
To buy the book: CA • US • FR• Bookdep
Add to: Goodreads
Hey guys! Summer is here (well not for all of us but for this hemisphere!), and if you are like me, you are looking for Summer reads, for you or your kids maybe! If so, I have a new one for you to check out: Curse of the night witch by Alex Aster
On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it.
Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year’s Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.
The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin…the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.
With only his village’s terrifying, ancient stories as a guide, and his two friends Engle and Melda by his side, Tor must travel across unpredictable Emblem Island, filled with wicked creatures he only knows through myths, in a race against his dwindling lifeline.
Welcome to Ember Island
Ember Island is a magical place, where legends and myths can be met if you step off the road. Often they are dangerous, but they can also be beautiful! On Ember Island, long long ago, all was grey and sad, until Estrelle, a young girl, brought colors there and changed it all. Now, people living there are surrounded by bright colors, plants that are blue or purple are common, animals can wear any color too and it just sounded so magical and exactly the kind of place where I would spend my holidays!
In addition to this magic, people also have their own: emblems. A marking on their skin, like a tattoo, giving them a power: a fish for underwater breathing, a red heart for a singer, two bands for leadership… and many more! There are teleports, shapeshifters, really everything you can think of!
I loved too that we could read the legends in between chapters (I live for tales and myths and legends you know it!), and that this universe was inspired by the authors’ Columbian grandma who told her about Latin American myths!
There, you are all set up, let’s talk about our heroes now!
Meet our young adventurers
Tor is the chief of the cheftain of his village, and he is NOT happy with his emblem. This year, during the wish celebration, he will make a wish that is going to change it all: to have a different emblem. Except… things don’t go as plan and he wakes up with the mark of the cursed! Unwillingly, he will pass it on to two friends: Engle and Melda, and together, they won’t have any choice but to embark on a journey to break the curse. Their goal: find the mysterious and murderous Night Witch before the curse spread in their body and destroy them fully.
And so the adventure begins
To find the Night Witch, our trio has a map, and a book of tales. Yup, a book of tales! Because these old stories that all children know are actually a guide to find the Night Witch’s lair! One tale leading them after the other, one monster defeated after the other, the trio will move forward, rediscover their island with a new eye, and who they are themselves as well! Will they find the Night witch? What will happen then? That is for you to discover when you read this book:P
In a few words
I loved the world-building here and all the magic and legends (we even have pauses in the story to read these!), and if the writing was a bit light to my taste, I really think this one will be a wonderful adventure for young readers!
See you for a cup,