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Parents' Guide to

Curse of the Night Witch: Emblem Island, Book 1

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Promising fantasy world, but hasty storytelling.

Book Alex Aster Fantasy 2020
Curse of the Night Witch: Emblem Island, Book 1 Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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This magical island quest tale with Latin American flare has the makings for a good series start but suffers from rushed storytelling. Young first-time author Alex Aster is bursting with great ideas -- not a bad problem to have unless you try to cram them all into one quest and don't pace yourself. It's hard to believe how fast the story veers from one locale to the next -- from encounters with a troll in the mountains to a vain monarch in a castle to a snow beast in a frozen village to a giant snake in a jungle ... and there's a desert in there somewhere, and an abandoned town, and many more places on a single island. And somehow with all these terrains and adventures it takes them only a week to get to the other, shadowy cursed side of the island, all on foot minus a brief balloon ride over the mountains and a zip line through the forest. It doesn't seem plausible, and some fantastic opportunities for world building and for getting to know the characters get lost in this huge rush to the next monster and next location.

Yet the ending of Curse of the Night Witch bodes well for the series: The main character, Tor, has a huge task ahead of him and a whole island to save from evil. Plus, he may get shunned by his own people for who he's become. Let's hope Aster takes her time with the sequel to breathe real life into all her great ideas.

Book Details

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