Parents' Guide to

The Demon Tide: The Black Witch Chronicles, Book 4

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Thoughtful, magic tale tackles immigration and prejudice.

The Demon Tide: The Black Witch Chronicles, Book 4

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Though this fourth long installment has far too many storylines and narrators, the depth and thoughtfulness of this fantasy series continues to evolve in wonderful ways. In The Demon Tide, the focus is heavily on immigration and division. Immigrants cross from the Western to Eastern Realm and have all the same challenges immigrants on Earth do: dangerous journeys, predatory coyotes, disease and squalor in camps… and they are met with social campaigns in the East that discriminate against them. The hate and division carry through to the Mages who have defected and want to train with soldiers in the East, teach them how to fight Mage power. The racism they face despite how clearly they've shown their allegiance may remind readers of real discrimination minorities can face in armed forces everywhere. The story of Trystan, the Black Witch Elloren's brother, is particularly poignant because he's arrived in the East where he can finally be open about being a gay man and now he's persecuted for his Gardnerian/Mage ancestry. His relationship with Voth, his Vu Trin guard, is the most memorable of the many relationships featured because of the layers of prejudice they must both navigate.

Yes, there are many relationships featured. And so many points of view that are mined, so many that it feels like The Demon Tide stops and starts and threads are left hanging for far too long. It's clear with the countdown to the night of the romantic, purple Xishlon moon festival that sparks will fly for all of them, and it's a lovely payoff for romance fans, after all the work put in to keep all the characters straight. But when the dragons hit the skies and the battle begins, it's chaos and many of these threads are left hanging yet again for the next installment. Also, Elloren's coveted Black Witch powers change abruptly very late in the game, in mysterious ways, maybe too mysterious. It's hard to see where Book 5 is headed, but based on past experience with the Black Witch Chronicles, it will pull readers in a number of thought-provoking directions.

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