Sunday, October 23, 2022

Today's read... Escape to Witch City by E. Latimer

Today's read

by E. Latimer
Tundra Books
Middle Grade Fantasy
304 pages 
ages 8 to 12

In a world ruled by fear of witches, some secrets are deadly. A thrilling new fantasy adventure set in historical London for fans of V.E. Schwab's City of Ghosts and Serafina and the Black Cloak.

Emmaline Black has a secret. She can hear the rhythm of heartbeats. Not just her own, but others' too. It's a rhythm she's learned to control, and that can only mean one thing... Emma's a witch.

In a world where a sentence of witchcraft comes with dire consequences and all children who have reached the age of thirteen are tested to ensure they have no witch blood, Emma must attempt to stamp out her power before her own test comes. But the more she researches, the more she begins to suspect that her radically anti-witch aunt and mother are hiding something. The truth about their sister, her Aunt Lenore, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances years ago.

The day of the test comes, and Emma's results not only pair her up with strange new friends, but set her on a course to challenge everything she's ever been taught about magic, and reveal long-buried family secrets. It seems witches may not have been so easy to banish after all. Secret cities, untapped powers, missing family members -- Emma is about to discover a whole new world.

GOODREADS   /   B&N    /   AMAZON 


A rich world reminiscent of kingdoms and magic embraces family secrets, a powerful queen, and friendship.

Emma is royalty, but that doesn't mean she wants anything to do with frilly dresses or the royal court. While hiding from all of it as long as she can in an abandoned wing of the castle, she hears the witch hunters discussing their latest target...and it happens to be her aunt, who disappeared years ago. But Emma has little time to dig into the mystery as Testing Day arrives. She's not a witch. She refuses to be. But the thumping in the back of her mind, when she gets upset, tells her otherwise. As her blood is tested, she has no idea of the secrets and adventures the results are about to expose.

This is a well written tale with tons of wonderful world-building. From the castle, where Emma's aunt rules as the Witch City and all the other places beyond, everything takes on a amazing vividness, which made it feel as if the scenes were coming alive. It was enjoyable to experience and visit. 

The plot is well woven with unexpected twists and turns, tension, secrets, and heart. The characters' actions were understandable, and each one had their own personalities and hopes. The whole story flows smoothly and is well done. And yet, I really didn't get pulled in. While the first scene is grabbing, and Emma, the political situation, and her family situation are laid out with care. There weren't description or information dumps, and yet, some areas moved slow. I found myself skipping paragraphs here and there. The entire thing does pick up by the end to bring a tense and exciting finish.

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