Toby and the Silver Blood Witches | By Sally Doherty
BBNYA 2022 Winner | TheWriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour | Middle Grade Fantasy | Book Review
A sinister plot. A secret city in the sky. A boy with an impossible choice.
Twelve year old Toby has little time for friends or football since his mum fell ill. All he wants is to stay at home and keep an eye on her.
But mysterious things are happening beyond his garden hedge. And who is the strange woman in his attic with her clumsy magic and bothersome bat?
Entangled in adventure, Toby must embark on a dangerous mission. A girl’s life is at stake and time is running out.
Narrative and Plot
Toby and the Silver Blood Witches was deeper than what I expected from a middle-grade book in terms of emotional quotient. The book definitely explores the struggles of a young caregiver. Now, coming from an entirely different culture where you are naturally expected to tend for family, it moved me, but it might not hit the same as it does for the target audience.
Yet, I empathize with Toby’s plight and the way it affects his life. The tone of melancholy and the mystery around the SMI was the highlight of the book. The pacing was on point right from the beginning.
The only thing I might nitpick is that it read more like a YA than a middle grade at times. Normally, I won’t mind this, but I am reading this after it won the BBNYA 2022. Naturally, my expectations are a bit higher at this point.
Characters and Conflicts
Toby and his interactions with the witches and their world were simply adorable. It had all the elements that you expect from a story like this. The denial, the anger and then the acceptance, and finally camaraderie. It was quite a journey with the characters.
Also, I loved reading about Toby’s friend group. Just wish that they got more screen time, which I am hopeful we will get more of in the upcoming books.
Other than that, it had a beautiful arc for Toby, where he learns to accept himself and embrace life once again. It goes a long way if you could just voice the need for help from those people who care about you. That is the core of this book and it definitely hit the mark.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. A well-deserved winner of BBNYA 2022 indeed. It left me with some questions, but I found most of the pressing issues resolved by the end of the book. It is always a plus if a book in the series can stand on its own.
That being said, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
I received a copy of the book from TheWriteReads in exchange for an honest review. This review is published in association with TheWriteReads Ultimate blog tour for the BBNYA title winner 2022.