I received this book for free from IReadYA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Witchery by S. Isabelle
Published by Scholastic Inc. on July 26, 2022
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic, Juvenile Fiction / Horror
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“The Witchery is a dark, delicious delight. S. Isabelle is a debut to watch.” --Justina Ireland, New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation
The Haunting Season is here and the Wolves are awake.
Haelsford, Florida, is a hellmouth. Or at least, that’s what Logan, a new witch struggling to control her powers, thinks when she arrives at Mesmortes Coven Academy. She is immediately taken under the wing of the infamous Red Three: Iris, a deathwitch, who wants nothing more than to break the town’s curse; Thalia, the talented greenwitch, on the run from her religious family and a past that still haunts her; and Jailah, one of the most extraordinary witches at the academy whose thirst for power may lead her down a dark path.
With the Haunting Season approaching, Wolves will soon rise from the swamp to kill, and the humans and witches must work together to survive the yearly onslaught. However, the history between humans and witches is long and bloodied, with the current truce hard-won and hanging in the balance. And this year, the stakes couldn’t be higher as two boys from Hammersmitt School prepare to make their first sacrifices to the witches in exchange for protection. But when students start turning up dead, Iris, Thalia, Jailah, and Logan realize they’ll have to harness their powers and stop the Wolves themselves. Yet old dangers lie in wait, and the cost to break the curse may be greater than any witch or human could ever know...
First things first, can I get a WB show or whatever that network calls itself now? Because The Witchery by S. Isabelle would be perfect for one. It’s giving The Craft setup, but with better friendship vibes alá Girlfriends and witchy sisterhood via the new Charmed show.
If you love multiple POV, which I usually do, then you will have fun with how this story is narrated. It has a total of six narrators. If you aren’t into that, you will need a pen to take notes to keep track of everyone. Six was a lot for me and it felt crowded, but I made good use of the character cards to help me remember who was who.
My favorite characters were Ivy and Matthew, because duh, budding romance. (I love romance!) Jailah would be my next fave and Thalia, I thought had a very interesting backstory. I thought Ivy was super determined and extremely sharp. The chick sees dead people and doesn’t take any shenanigans from them either. Matthew was more appealing because of his desire to not have anything to do with witchy stuff. So yeah, opposites attract.
Smart Witches of Color
I loved the depiction of Black and Brown girls as being the smartest and baddest witches in their school. They are even known as the Red Three at the Mesmortes school.
Whatever AP classes are available at a witch’s academy, you can bet that these girls are passing them with flying colors. On top of their academic success, they also want to save their town and classmates from more fatalities brought on by The Haunting Season. They even recruit Logan, a Canadian baby witch with barely any control of her powers to join them because they can see her specialness even when she can not.
A Magic World
The world that Isabelle builds is both contemporary and magical. It has witch towns and normal/Mundane towns where non-witches are the majority. Sometimes witches are hunted and other times they do the hunting. The entire setup for “The Haunting Season” was filled with tension and story building that sets the background for the mystery the witches are trying to solve in order to rid their school’s town of the curse. Plus you can add a bit of the Southern gothic to the mix since it is set in Florida.
Per the author, there are depictions of self-harm (pricking of thumbs for spells), blood, violence, gore, death of a parent, and body horror
Check out more of my commentary on The Witchery from my currently reading feature, Friday Night Highlights: Friday Night Highlights: Spooky Season Prep & A Mama Memoir