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

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

The Thickety: A Path Begins by J. A

The Thickety: A Path Begins
by J. A. White           
Series: The Thickety
Sale Date: May 6, 2014           
Juvenile Fiction \ Fantasy & Magic
Katherine Tegen Books, 496 pages
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 4/5 Stars   

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.

Adventure, forbidden magic, strange creatures, and a strong, determined heroine fill the pages of J. A. White's middle-grade fantasy series opener, The Thickety: A Path Begins.

The Thickety completely took me by surprise with its darker atmosphere and a higher level of danger. Do you remember the first time you watched the dark forest scene in The Wizard of Oz where the flying monkeys abduct Dorothy and terrorize her friends before whisking her away to the Wicked Witch of the West's castle?  I was on the edge of my seat many times while reading this book and loved the whole good vs. bad themes running throughout. 

The world is richly imagined, its details feel a bit Puritanesque in vibe with a small, remote island village surrounded by an ever-growing thicket, one that is rumored to hold many dangers and evil within. There are battles between a good witch and a bad witch and strange, three-eyed birds full of mischief. Poisonous plants that threaten while dark, magical creatures roam the pages. From the moment Kara enters the dangerous realm of the Thickety, I knew I was in for a treat. Readers beware, although marketed for MG, the magic and danger here are dark and sinister and is recommended for mature MG readers and up.

Kara is a fierce and resourceful young heroine. One who fights to protect her family, and in this story, White challenges Kara with her greatest fear of all, the discovery of magic and a lost grimoire that holds the key to both her past and future. This plucky young protagonist is easy to root for as she simply does not know the meaning of giving up in the face of danger nor adversity. 

With gorgeously illustrated chapter openers and interior, The Thickety is pretty much breathtaking. The pace was a bit slumberous in parts and in others breath-catching which helped to make up for it. The conclusion seriously gave one great big twist that ensures readers wanting to grab up the next installment.

Recommended to fantasy readers, both adult and juvenile, as The Thickety has the depth and danger that makes escape readily available no matter the age reading it. A dark fantasy series that is now complete and one I'm excited to venture back into.

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