The Black Witch
by Laurie Forest
Elloren Gardner has been raised in seclusion with her brothers by her uncle after her parents died in the last major war. She believes that she has no magic and that her only future lies in apothecary medicines. When she is old enough, her uncle sends her off to university to study in the hopes that she will one day be able to run her own apothecary.
But best laid plans and all... Elloren's aunt steps in and tries to get Elloren to wandfast to an eligible soldier, who is also the man most sought after by Elloren's worst nightmare and most dangerous enemy. Things are worsened further when Elloren's aunt also refuses to pay Elloren's fees, forcing Elloren to work in the kitchens, and also live in the worst of the rooms with the most dangerous of students.
The prophecy is coming. Elloren may be the one named. And time is running out.
Final thoughts: Ugh. Let's just RAM ideas into the reader over and over and over again. Racism! BAM! Prejudice! BAM! Religious intolerance! BAM!!! It's relentless and unending. No one understands anyone else. No one listens to anyone else. When one person does listen, suddenly everyone becomes friends. It's basically the Christian Right (the Mages/Gardnerians) vs. the world with Fae, Kents, Urisks, Lupines, Icarals being every other race and religions on this earth. We vilify and lie about what we don't know or understand just like the Mages make up stories and deliberately misinterpret things to put the worst spin possible on the other people.
The world was pretty decently created and I liked most of the characters, but that message was just too strongly shoved up my nose again and again.
ARC courtesy of NetGalley