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The Thickety: A Path Begins by J. A. White
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The Thickety: A Path Begins

by J. A. White

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Thickety (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Solid writing but very, very dark. Not enough light to balance the book, in my opinion. Hated the ending, but I imagine that's because this will be the first book in a series... if you're looking for something creepy and violent, this is it. ( )
  Jandrew74 | May 26, 2019 |
I'm still so very conflicted about this book. The truth of the matter is that no matter what I write, it's not going to be exactly what I want to say. I had to take a few days to mull over how I felt about The Thickety: A Path Begins before even trying to compose a review. It started out with all the markings of a book I would love. A Middle Grade book with a brave, young heroine, plenty of magic, and just enough action to keep things interesting. For the first few chapters I was completely immersed. This story doesn't have the happiest beginning, but it is one that sets our heroine on her path. Only time would tell where that path took her.

As I followed along with Kara, I soon noticed that this story has a definite dark undertone. I'm a firm believer that young readers can handle a lot more than people give them credit for. That reading about anger, violence, and death can be good for them if it's portrayed correctly. This book just felt off, in that respect. Everyone in Kara's village loathed her family. Even the people she referred to as kind would turn on her in a moment if need be. It took her story into a very dark place and, as I soon discovered, it got darker from there. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Especially because, as I'll get to soon, it just didn't seem to have a point.

See, Kara Westfall is a witch. After her mother was convicted, and murdered, for being a witch Kara still wants to pursue this. Okay, fine. I could get behind this because the magic that she was capable of was wonderous. Nothing dark, or scary. Yet. Enter Grace. The exact opposite of young Kara in every way. Once she was on the scene, all the magic in this story took a very sharp turn. There was death, and torture. That stark line between Kara's "good" magic and Grace's "bad" magic started to blur. Keep in mind that this society hinges on the belief that magic should be shunned. After reading this story? I'm apt to agree with them. No wonder they wanted to keep it out of their lives.

My biggest issue, over everything else, was just that this story didn't seem to have an ultimate point. The Thickety: A Path Begins starts with a Kara who just wants to be accepted. To not feel like an outcast in her own community. She never really accomplishes this. The concept of "good" and "bad" magic is never hashed out. There's no final lesson, or anything to take away from this other than the fact that poor Kara has led a life filled with pain and chances are it isn't going to get any better.

Looking at this from an adult perspective, I was unimpressed with everything except the writing. That, I can definitely say was well done. It draws you in and, obviously, kept me reading to the end. From a young reader's perspective, I'd have to say I might give this closer to a three star rating. I see them being quicker to forgive Kara, and maybe even understand her. They might have an easier time filling in the gaps that glared at me from the story. For this reader though? It wasn't what I was hoping for. ( )
  roses7184 | Feb 5, 2019 |
This book is fantasy to the core. The setting is an island with a village called De'Noran, which is separate from the world. I understand the world to be society as we know it and De'Noran is not a part of it. The island mostly consists of a dark forest called the Thickety, which is inhabited by strange creatures and a lead creature called Sordyr. All the villagers are afraid of the Thickety and avoid it.

The main character is Kara. In the prologue, her mother is accused of witchcraft and is hung just hours after she gives birth to a son, Taff. The book then moves to the present and Kara is 12. Taff is 7. Taff is a sickly boy and Kara is a protective sister. Their father has withdrawn since the death of her mother. She is an outcast and villagers are cruel to her, always calling her a witch. One of the most cruel is a classmate, Grace, who masterfully masks her cruelty with a fake kindness. Kara's biggest struggle is not knowing whether her mother was good or bad.

One day Kara ventures into the Thickety after she gives chase to a strange bird who steals her locket. She encounters other strange creatures and finally uncovers the grimoire, a spell book, that had belonged to her mother. She races out of the Thickety and hides it. To most people, the Grimoire appears as blank pages, but Kara learns that she can think a spell onto the page. Someone else has the same ability. Grace. Soon a struggle ensues between Grace, who happens to be the village leader's daughter, and Kara. Grace's father is the man who ordered her mother's death and views magic as an evil force. Ironically, his own daughter also has magical powers.

I enjoyed this book, but be forewarned. It's very dark. Kara's mother is hanged. The mayor is cruel. Grace is cruelty disguised. Villagers are cruel, always looking out for their own interests. Spells are cast that result in death. It's reminiscent of the Salem witch trials. The ending appears that it's going to resolve into lightness and then shifts to darkness again, leaving the reader hanging with no conflict resolution. Any reader who enjoyed the book will not be able to resist the sequel.

Great book to promote at Halloween since there is a festival in the book that has a costume/trick-or-treating tradition. ( )
  valorrmac | May 15, 2018 |
Witchcraft and magic are denounced as evil, feared and banned on this island colony that is surrounded by a strange forbidden forest with feared creatures known as the Dark Wood or Thickety. At only 5 years old Kara along with her newborn brother Taff witness the hanging death of their mother who was proclaimed a witch and their lives radically change. Since her deeply affected father is unable to function, Kara is forced to raise her sickly brother and try to keep her scorned family from harm. When a strange bird leads her into the Thickety and to a buried magical book which she later surmises may have been her mothers, she discovers magical powers that she didn’t know she had that change her life and the lives of those around her. This well-written, compelling tween novel will keep you turning pages well into the night.

Sharyn H. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.

( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
Kara is mistreated by many in the village who killed her mother for witchcraft. Kara works hard to care for her sickly brother, Taff, and her tormented father.
When she is lured into the Thickety, she is led to a magical book and begins to learn how to be a witch on her own. Much information has been kept from her by the adults in her life. There is excitement as she goes head to head with Grace, a golden girl in the town with a serious mean streak.
There were some world building problems I had with the book.
But Kara was a strong main character. ( )
  ewyatt | Jul 12, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. A. Whiteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Offermann, AndreaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062257242, Hardcover)

A dark, forbidden forest. Vicious beasts. Deadly plants. An evil spellbook. Secrets. Mysteries. Witches, both good and bad . . . Welcome to the world of the Thickety. Full of action, set in an intriguing and dangerous world, and illustrated with gorgeous and haunting line art, The Thickety: A Path Begins is a truly stunning book.

A Path Begins is the thrilling start of a new middle-grade fantasy series about a girl, a mysterious forest, and a book of untold magical powers. Kara and her brother, Taff, are shunned by their village because their mother was a witch. The villagers believe nothing is more evil than magic, except for what lurks in the nearby Thickety. But when Kara enters the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book, a grimoire that might have belonged to her mother. The events she then sets in motion are both awe-inspiring and terrifying. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:53 -0400)

"When twelve-year-old Kara discovers her mother's grimoire in the dangerous forest, she must decide if she'll use it, even though such magic is forbidden"--

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