Ever since the disastrous raft ride when Ned’s twin brother died, the villagers have whispered that the wrong boy live. They claim his brother was the smart one, the funny one, the hardworking one; Ned, on the other hand, has a stutter and keeps silent whenever possible. But he can’t stay fully out of sight. His mother, Sister Witch, is the keeper of a powerful, unpredictable cloud of magic. And when she’s away and a group of bandits arrive to steal it, it falls to Ned to protect it.
Áine has a different reason to want to keep the magic away from thieves. Her father, the Bandit King, is searching for it, and she knows if he finds it, the consequences will be disastrous. Ever resourceful, when her path collides with Ned’s, she helps him keep the magic safe. But her top priority is keeping her father. And she’ll do anything it takes to keep him away from the magic.
Ned and Áine’s journey leads them through a dangerous forest, down a rapidious river, and into the presence of the ancient Speaking Stones. But many forces are gathering to steal the magic. And if Ned and Áine are to have any hope of holding onto it, they will have to enlist the help of another power…
Many years ago, I read The Girl who Drank the Moon, by the same author, and loved it. Somehow, it has taken me all these years to finally read the novel The Witch’s Boy. I’m glad I did. It has the same quirky narrative, interesting characters, and unusual magic which I loved so much in The Girl who Drank the Moon. While not making the story overly complex, Kelly Barnhill weaves the stories of many characters and then brings them all together. I love her world and the cantankerous nature of her magic. The characters are also excellent, especially Ned and Áine. I recommend The Witch’s Boy to fans of fantasy and well-drawn characters ages nine and up.