A Thumbs-Up Review by Ryan Elliot
Welcome to Blackwood is a young adult fiction, written by Khaiah Thompson, that’s set in the fantasy town of Blackwood where over half the population has magical powers. This can cause some problems (I mean… imagine!).
Freya is a 17-year-old syphon, a ‘gifted’ person, who can absorb people’s life energy and soul. After accidentally using her power to almost kill a friend in high school she has to move to the magical town of Blackwood, where she’s caught up in political warfare, rouge scientists, and teenage romance.
Freya is excellently written. Being a moody teenager, Freya often acts rebelliously after being moved to Blackwood. However, throughout the novel, she matures into a young adult as she is faced with dangers drawn to her because of her power.
The author builds captivating character development that makes the reader feel that they are in Freya’s shoes, adapting to a new danger at every turn while meeting new and exciting characters that are surrounded by mystery.
These characters are varied and complex which helps to fill the magic town of Blackwood.
Welcome to Blackwood introduces settings, concepts, and ideas throughout the story without overwhelming the reader.
This allows the reader to be immersed in the perfect blend of fantasy and realism throughout the book. This is because Blackwood isn’t a medieval knights and witches type fantasy, it’s set in the modern world so think mobile phones and TVs.
This blend of fantasy and realism allows the reader to find the book more relatable and immersive as the characters they know and love go through the same scenarios they experience every day.
As someone that usually reads hard-core science fiction and shies away from any mention of teenage romance, this book broke serious norms for me, but I couldn’t put it down. It’s a true ‘page-turner’.
Welcome to Blackwood makes the reader feel like they are being whisked away to a magical land, while still having the relatability of teenage life.
*Ryan Elliot is a grade 9 student at Padua College who enjoyed a week-long work experience with Hawkeye Publishing as part of his winning prize for a competition with Hills Echo newspapers.