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Pub Date 01 Sep 2022 | Archive Date Not set

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A second novel from the bestselling author of Branford Boase-shortlisted and Carnegie-nominated Witch. An engrossing story of fathers and sons, death and grief, and unexpected bonds, new and old, forged by dark and benign magic.

When Sam, grieving the death of his father, finds a silver-flecked stone, ice-cold to the touch, strange and eerie things begin to happen. Myth, legend, magic and witchcraft mingle on the ancient hillside where the chalk white horse has galloped for centuries. Ravens wheel. Wolves prowl. As Halloween draws close, witches dance. Odin gathers brave, fallen warriors to his side.

Only the mysterious new girl, Oona, can heal Sam's heart, revealing tarot secrets with her bewitching ways.

Reviews for Witch:

'A book filled with enchantment, in every sense. Dark, exciting and pacy, Witch brilliantly balances magic and realism' Anthony McGowan, author of Carnegie-winning Lark

'There is real magic here... Perfect reading for a dark, stormy night' Irish Times Weekend

A second novel from the bestselling author of Branford Boase-shortlisted and Carnegie-nominated Witch. An engrossing story of fathers and sons, death and grief, and unexpected bonds, new and old...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781838935665
PRICE £7.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed this book, the writing was smoothly done, and you could feel the emotions through the writing, which is rare for a book like this. You do empathise with the character, the things he is going through, and then all along his journey.

A good little read.

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Having enjoyed Witch by Finbar Hawkins, I was prepared to like Stone. What I hadn't been prepared for was quite how moving I found it.

Sam's Dad did not come back from his final tour of Afghanistan. As a trio, Sam, Beth and their Mum are left reeling and Sam particularly feels immense guilt about his father's death. A special place for Sam and his Dad was the ancient white horse carved into the hillside above their village and Sam's dad also passed on his love of myth and legend. On a walk on the day of his dad's funeral on the hillside, Sam finds a curious white rounded stone that feels cold to touch and seems to produce strange visions of wolves, ravens and a one-eyed man with a staff

It was lovely to see a nod to Lancashire again in this book through the character of Bill (a favourite of mine). rather like Witch what the author does so well is keep our feet firmly in the complexities of the real world and yet allows our imaginations to fly in this case through a scrying stone and a curious girl who links the seen and the unseen. Another triumph of a middle grade novel from this talented writer

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Maybe I'm the wrong reader, but I found this book interesting in some parts and lacking slightly in others. The idea was good, as was the research, and the writing. Unfortunately, I found the main character to be so self absorbed that I found him hard to like, so it was difficult to empathise as much with him as I felt I should be.
Obviously he is a character with whom we should be feeling great sympathy, but rather than deep sorrow he seemed to be too obsessed with 'the new girl' and this jarred; I know he is a teenage boy but his willingness to dump his best friend was a shame.
I liked the sister and the old man - both good characters, and wasn't so keen on Oona. I thought that a lot of the trouble could have been avoided, but there again, it is a story. I am sure that certain readers would be much happier with the book than I was.

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Finbar Hawkins impressed me greatly with his debut Witch, a supernatural tale set in Scotland several hundred years ago, in a period where innocent women were frequently persecuted for being witches. Although Stone has supernatural overtones it is not as pronounced as Witch and being set in modern times is a fascinating second novel which truly marks Hawkins as an author to watch. Grief lies at the heart of this very moving story and is soaked through every page as teenager Sam tries to get over the recent death of his father, who was killed by a landmine in Afghanistan, but what lies at the heart of the story is the final online conversation with his father and words he never had the chance to take back. Some teens may well find the subject matter of death and loss to be too morbid, but is built around a convincing rural setting, friendships, young love and a strange supernatural element, which is connected to the rural landscapes and mythology of the local area.

Sam was realistically portrayed and was not the most likable of characters, being very self-absorbed and frequently finding himself in trouble and distances himself from his mother and slightly younger sister Beth who handles the loss of their father better than Sam. The novel opens around the time of the funeral and Sam spotting a new girl, Oona, at a party and whilst Sam reflects on the good times with his father the pair become close. After Sam finds a scrying stone, begins to have visions and blackouts whilst his personal life becomes complex the magical story becomes more pronounced and the stories that his father told him as a child become very real. Even though Sam brings a lot of the trouble upon himself, it was hard not to sympathise with him, but he is backup up great support characters, including his sister and best friend. The story also takes in bullying and makes the most of the local landscape and the power which comes from a chalk white horse drawn into the side of a hill. It was also nice to read a supernatural novel with a boy as a central character as they are truly an endangered species! AGE RANGE 12+

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Didn’t disappoint another, wonderfully written story, an easy, atmospheric read. I recommend witch to many and will do the same with Stone.

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This some what dark tale, which deals with the intensity of grief, is superbly written. The raw emotion at the loss of a loved one and the associated guilt that we have is so strong, it almost oozes from the pages. Stone is a powerful and immersive read. Sam, the main protagonist, is reeling from the death of his father, a serving soldier in the British Army, who is killed whilst on deployment to Afghanistan. On the day of the funeral, he finds a silver-flecked stone, ice-cold to the touch, and strange and eerie things begin to happen. Adlibbing the publisher's own words, Sam experiences remnants of the past- myths, legends, magic and witchcraft and as Halloween draws close, Odin gathers brave, fallen warriors to his side. Only the new girl Oona can heal Sam's heart.
The raw emotion of Sam as he deals with his grief is deeply profound. He is a character that needs empathy, love and understanding and Finbar's words capture Sam's grief, despair and guilt beautifully making this a truly memorable read.
Thank you to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for this early read.

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So I can't remember why I requested this book, I am not sure if it's because I reviewed witch or not. But again this author has a way with words. I loved the magic in the way he writes and the story that it told. Thank you for researching the topics as well as it shows great respect

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