The climate is in crisis and witches who have seasonal magic are tasked with correcting extreme weather events. As the situation worsens Clara, the first Everwitch in a century, becomes the last hope for the planet. However, Clara fears the volatility of her magic and struggles to gain control. As a total eclipse approaches, an event which can strip witches of their magic, Clara must decide if she will choose to lose her magic, or if she will finally step into her role as a savior.
I think the concept for this book is incredibly compelling, especially as we experience extreme weather situations ourselves. I read this book as Seattle hit a temperature of 108 for the first time in decades and it felt incredibly timely and thought provoking. However, it’s a debut novel and I felt like it could have done with a little more of an editing eye and more dynamic characters.
First the good: the magic system was wonderfully realized and very interesting. Each witch is born with the magic of a certain season, and Griffin beautifully describes each type of magic. Clara, an Everwitch, has magic for every season and it is really fun to see her magic and personality change as the seasons change. I listened to Griffin talk in a webinar and she is a total weather nerd, which really shines in this book. The descriptions of nature and the weather are captivating.
Now to what I did not love: I thought the book became incredibly repetitive. We go through cycles of Clara working on her magic, succeeding, then something goes horribly wrong, then she refuses to use her magic and contemplates getting in the path of the eclipse in order to be stripped of her magic. Likewise, we cycle back through memories of her magic killing her parents and her best friend, and each of those scenes includes basically the same text. I found myself skipping large passages of text because they were so similar to text I’d already read.
I also found the book to rely heavily on tropes without any fresh twists. We have the villainous man who wants to use Clara’s magic and puts her into dangerous situations. We have the romance that cannot be because if Clara gets to close to someone they might die. We have the ex-best friend who is a bit of a nemesis until she learns to forgive. We have the ultimate sacrifice in order to save the world. It felt very played out to me, and I think at least one of the tropes could have been removed from the book without sacrificing plot.
This book wasn’t for me, but I have read some very positive reviews that disagree with me! I think it might be a good fit for readers on the young side of YA. If you’ve read this one, let me know what you thought!