‘Wildwitch: Bloodling (4)’ by Lene Kaaberbøl (Review)

img_5584It’s always a bitter-sweet feeling when you come to the end of a series, and Emily has felt that a couple of times recently.  Today, we’re looking at the fourth and (so far) final installment of Lene Kaaberbøl’s Wildwitch series, with our witch experiencing a rite of passage.  I wonder if my little helper enjoyed this last piece of the story…

Before we start, a gentle warning – there may be spoilers ahead 😉

*****
What’s the name of the book, and who is it by?
The book is called Wildwitch: Bloodling, and it’s by Lene Kaaberbøl (and it’s translated by Charlotte Barslund, review copy from Pushkin Childrens’ Books).

What’s it about?
It’s about Clara (again!), and she’s turning thirteen.  Her thirteenth birthday will be her Tridecimal night, where she will have to help an animal to prove that she is a real Wildwitch.  But when she gets to Aunt Isa’s, her mum won’t let her have a Tridecimal night, and she’ll stay up all night if she has to.  That’s not going to stop Clara – at least, not if Cat can help it 🙂

Did you like it?  Why (not)?
I liked it because Clara was happy in the end, and everything was happy 🙂

What was your favourite part?
I think my favourite part was probably when Clara had all the animals come to her Tridecimal night because there were so many!

Would you recommend this book to other boys and girls?  Why (not)?
I would recommend this whole series to lots of boys and girls because it is about magic, and magic is the best thing ever!

Emily, thank you very much.

*****
Wildwitch: Bloodling is the fourth book in the series to be translated so far, but Emily felt that this might not be the final part of the story, and I suspect she’s right.  Now, my Danish isn’t great (to say the least…), but I did have a quick look at the writer’s Danish Wikipedia page, and there appear to be another couple of books after this one, not to mention several other of Kaaberbøl’s creations.  I wonder if Emily would be interested in any of these…

Returning to Bloodling, though, this fourth book begins in an ominous tone, with the challenge to Clara clear from the very start:

She had been waiting for four hundred years.  For four hundred years she had been staring through a transparent mass of solidified rock.  It had trapped her body, her mind and her being for four long centuries.  Her enemies considered this to be her grave, but she was still alive.  Even down here there was life to be had – from time to time living creatures would scurry by, and she would snatch and devour them without mercy; mercy and compassion were qualities she had left behind long ago.  Her anger had kept her alive.
p.7 (Pushkin Children’s Press, 2016)

Yes, a dangerous foe is about to return from the darkness, and in addition to making it through her initiation challenge, it looks like Clara will have to deal with an unknown attacker.  Still, even the titles of the first few books (Wildfire, Oblivion, Life Stealer) would make it clear to most readers that she’s a young witch who is quite used to dangerous situations.

The idea of a defeated source of evil returning to the land of the living is an old one (The Lord of the Rings is a prime literary example), but once again there’s a distinct Harry Potter connection in the main character’s annual progression.  Year by year, the main character faces bigger challenges, both magical and biological, and this series has given my little helper the confidence to read books she would have shied away from a few months ago.  (Update: In the previous Wildwitch post, I said that Emily was about to start Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, expecting it to take her a while.  In fact, two weeks later, despite having school every day and various after-school activities, she has just finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – that’s three extremely lengthy books in just two weeks…)

Obviously, Miss Emily is a sucker for series involving magic, so until more Wildwitch (or Harry Potter) books come out, we may have to start looking for a new one for her.  Funnily enough, though, I did notice that Pushkin have one that might be of interest – hold that thought…

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