Great book, but there are some heavy themes for younger kids
I read this book yesterday because my 8 & 6 year olds want to read it. Both are very advanced readers so I like to read things first to make sure that the content is ok for a younger child.
The biggest iffy thing to me is the whole Protectorate civilization where the elders manipulate the villagers by taking the youngest born infant every year and leaving it in the woods as a sacrifice to the witch because they are told that is the only way to keep her from coming to kill them all...but really it’s just the elders trying to keep everyone scared enough to control. The witch is a good witch who takes the “sacrificed” babies & brings them to a better village/family every year, so nothing bad actually happens to them, but the parents of the children don't know that. They are suffering/going insane because they think their children are being sent off to die and the elders feed off of that. Some kind of dark & heavy themes for younger children in my opinion.
There really isn't much violence...the only real event that I can recall is when a man gets his face shredded by razor sharp magical paper cranes.
Most of the rest is implied violence: the elders talk about having to kill people who are a problem or question things, there are torture chambers and people talk about people screaming & crying in the night, the main character goes off with intentions of slitting the throat of the witch.
Overall the book has many positive messages: standing up for what you believe in, the importance of family, the power of hope/love/forgiveness.
I think we are going to put this one up on the shelf for a little while and wait until they ask about it again. I think there are better choices for my girls at this moment (because really they are still super young) but we will revisit it again in a year or so I'm sure.
This title contains:
Positive role models
Violence & scariness