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Download The Witch’s Boy Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Witch’s Boy, by Kelly Barnhill Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kelly Barnhill Narrator: Ralph Lister Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“A lightning bolt erupted from the cloud and aimed directly at Ned’s heart. He couldn’t cry out. He couldn’t even move. He could just feel the magic sink into his skin and spread itself over every inch of him, bubbling and slithering and cutting deep, until he didn’t know where the magic stopped and he began.”

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of his family’s cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

In the meantime, in another kingdom across the forest that borders Ned’s village lives Áine, the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” But when Áine and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over?

With a deft hand, acclaimed author Kelly Barnhill takes classic fairy tale elements—speaking stones, a friendly wolf, and a spoiled young king–and weaves them into a richly detailed narrative that explores good and evil, love and hate, magic, and the power of friendship.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Barnhill…creates an absorbing world of kingdoms and prophecies in which transformation comes through language and through courage and self-awareness as well…Áine, with her sharp survival skills and fearless navigation of the forest, is a cunning and strong figure unlike any typical damsel in distress. She is sure to make young girls aspire to more than the dainty and pretty female image of older fairy tales. The Witch’s Boy may be yet another children’s novel about magic, but it should open young readers’ eyes to something that is all around them in the very world we live in: the magic of words.”

    New York Times

  • “[Barnhill] is an eloquent writer who spins beautiful lines…This spellbinding fantasy begs for a cozy chair, a stash of Halloween candy, and several hours of uninterrupted reading time.”

    Washington Post

  • “In [this] gorgeously written and fast-paced adventure through forest and flood, bandits and courtiers, wolves and queens and witches, the boy and the girl must stop a war, restore magic to its rightful place, and find their own places in a world they’ve helped to make bigger. Barnhill is a fantasist on the order of Neil Gaiman, and this story feels fully inhabited.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Kelly Barnhill is deft at crafting strong characters, and this classic fairy tale is filled with otherworldly beasties and plenty of magic.”

    San Antonio Express-News

  • “In a story of an unexpected hero, a thief’s daughter, and some very tricky magic, Barnhill weaves a powerful narrative about the small tragedies that happen when parents fail their children, even with the best intentions…Barnhill makes bold character choices: Ned is soft, but never weak, while Áine is tough, prickly, yet sympathetic. Peripheral adults are well fleshed out, from Ned’s father, devastated by the loss of one child and afraid to show his love for the other, to a sensible queen who knows the value of a good witch. Barnhill elegantly joins the story’s diverse threads in a complex tale whose poignancy never turns sentimental.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The boy’s growing confidence and ability to wield and protect his mother’s magic adds elements of a classic origin-quest tale to a story that’s already brimming with a well-drawn, colorful supporting cast, a strong sense of place, and an enchanted forest with a personality to rival some of the best depictions of magical woods.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Barnhill skillfully interweaves the stories of Ned, Áine, Sister Witch, and the stones, along with an intriguing group of secondary characters. The third-person narration switches perspective smoothly, and it’s all related in a precise, flowing prose that easily places readers into the fantastic setting and catches them up in the story. The classic fantasy elements are all there, richly reimagined, with a vivid setting, a page-turning adventure of a plot, and compelling, timeless themes.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “The characters are vivid and well developed, despite their basis in fairytale archetypes. The writing is beautiful and lyrical but keeps pace with an action-packed story. Powerful themes of grief, redemption, forgiveness, sacrifice, and generosity are all present. Recommend this title to those who like retellings and strong, narrative fantasy.”

    VOYA

  • “While the story moves slowly at times, Ned and Áine’s adventures will appeal to fans of middle-grade fantasy, and Lister’s narration adds to the magical feel of the story.”

    AudioFile

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, September 2014
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About the Author
Author Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill writes novels for children and short stories for adults and poetry that she whispers in the dark when no one is listening. She has received grants and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, and the Loft. She lives in Minnesota with three very smart kids, one very smart husband, and a dog who she believes might be one thousand years old. No one can say for sure. (The dog, incidentally, is very smart too.)