A fascinating story, based on an old Wendish tale.
A dream leads Krabat, a young orphan, to an old mill which all the surrounding people are afraid of. There he begins his apprenticeship as a miller's man, but also, as the mill is actually a school for Black Magic, as a wizard. Time goes by and together with eleven other journeymen he acquires his first magic powers, but besides this, the wish arises in him to escape from the satanic mill, and he discovers the fact that he is held captive.
The actually goodhearted Krabat does at first not know how to distinguish between good and evil and, in being obedient, cheats people of the surrounding villages. But he discovers true values like friendship and love. In the end, he has to accept his master's death in order to save his and his journeymen's lives.
Magic plays an important role in the book, but is marked as a dark power whose origin is the devil and has bad consequences. Also, some events that open Krabat's eyes and lead him away from the Black Magic are close connected with Christian celebrations like Easter.
The master punishes disobedient journeymen bodily, and the journeymen have some harmless fights.
Drug and Alcohol Content
One time the master drinks too much wine and falls asleep. There is no other case of alcohol or drugs.
Krabat falls in love with a girl, but their relationship is not sexual.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
Whenever the journeymen quarrel, they use minor swearwords.
The book describes very well a boy's deep fascination by evil powers, only broken by friendship, love and his desire for freedom. The language is simple and clear, but very beautiful, and the story always offers surprises.
Because of the amount of dark magic (though it is portrayed as wrong), parents or teachers should probably read this book before they give it to younger kids. It does have a fair amount of dark content, as readers should be made aware of before picking up this book. But if you enjoy a creepy read, this is a good story to read.