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Hunger of Thorns (Lili Wilkinson, A&U Children’s)

Lili Wilkinson’s new YA novel is a dark and twisting tale that draws on a history of persecution and celebrates the power of women, even as it interrogates society’s fear of it. Maude is a storyteller from a family of witches, in a world where witches have been bridled by a society that fears them even as they exploit their abilities. A misfit loner without any real powers, she mourns her childhood friendship with the quixotic Odette. When Odette disappears, Maude sees her chance to redeem their relationship, but venturing into the forbidden Sicklehurst will cost Maude more than she can imagine. Wilkinson has built a fascinating world one step sideways of the one we inhabit. Maude and her associates are clear individuals, drawn with pathos and a deep understanding of the psyche of young people, as we have come to expect from Wilkinson’s experienced hand. The setting itself feels very contemporary yet is inextricably underpinned by the trappings of magic intertwined with the ‘real’. Hunger of Thorns is not only a story of women and their journey to power but also an allegorical exploration of the perils of industrialism and the destruction of the natural environment. The background of the world building is an intrinsic element of the book, contributing much to the tension and atmosphere of the story. Recommended for fans of Holly Black and Brigid Kemmerer, aged 14 and up.

Books+Publishing reviewer: Tehani Croft is a teacher librarian, academic, publisher and literary awards convenor. Books+Publishing is Australia’s number-one source of pre-publication book reviews.


Category: Junior Reviews Think Australian top reviews