The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Summary from Goodreads:
For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.
In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.
In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.
In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.
In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.
“Just remember: the choices you make today will be felt by who you have yet to become.”
While I ended up not loving this book as much as I wanted to, I did really like it. I thought the whole magical system was interesting and I loved the themes of friendship and acceptance, especially of oneself was an important one. The climate change story line was there as well, but it often felt like an after thought rather than something important to the story. It was also a nice mixture of contemporary and fantasy, with a light romance thrown into the mix.
Clara was an interesting young lady, who was definitely shaped by her circumstances and her past. As an Everwitch, something that hasn’t happened for a hundred years, her importance to the witches and to the world is often daunting. She has a lot of responsibility resting on her shoulders, almost too much. I think this is why she has trouble controlling her magic, that and the loss of her parents and best friend which her magic ends up killing. Still, there were times that I didn’t like her very much, she was a bit whiny and self pitying and made me want to shake her. But I got it and also felt sorry for her most of the time.
There are lots of other characters in this story that were well rounded and fleshed out, but the most important one and the one that I liked the best was Sang. He is a Spring and a botanist. He was just amazing and I loved how he talked about plants and how he saw the beauty in even the ugliest of them. He becomes the love interest for Clara, and I did eventually like them together although there were times I thought he was too kind and good for her.
The magical system was very interesting, although a little bit loose in the details. I really liked how each witch was strongest during their season and how they were able to control the weather and other things. The school they all went to, was interesting as well, but could have also used a more rounding out of the characters that populated it.
The story was very interesting, although the pacing could have been a bit better. There were some very slow sections and only a few action scenes to spice things up. Clara’s need to control her magic made for some engaging scenes between her and Sang and the other witches, but ultimately we were always stuck in Clara’s head, which got a bit tedious at times. I really liked the ending though, and the way Clara was ultimately able to triumph. That almost makes up for some of the sections that were slow and hard to get through.
In rereading this review, I think I am sounding a bit too negative. I really did like the story. The writing was good and I think this was a solid debut by an author that I will certainly be keeping my eye on.