Wild is the witch by Rachel Griffin

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Lovers of books about witches and wildlife will be immediately drawn to this story about 18-year-old Iris who accidentally casts a spell that could have dire consequences not only on Pike Alder, the annoying intern at the wildlife refuge, but on the surrounding countryside. Iris has been hiding her ability as a witch after her best friend’s magic was taken away from her by the Witches’ Council, and her father refused to move away with her and her mother. Now settled happily working with animals and birds, the only thing that upsets her is Pike’s attitude. She is used to getting rid of her frustrations by writing curses and sending them into the earth but when writing one about Pike, an owl swoops down and flies away with it. She knows that she must recover it by following the owl’s flight path, and her mother insists that she takes Pike along as a companion on her journey.

The story follows the familiar trope of enemies into friends as Iris and Pike find out about each other’s fears and strengths as they hike through mountainous country. Readers who enjoy romance in their reading are sure to like the growing feelings and understanding between the pair.

The author has cleverly joined the fantasy aspect of witchcraft, spells, and magic with the reality of working in an animal refuge, while creating a world that feels real to the reader. The owl and Iris’ wolf, Winter, are appealing characters, too, while Iris’ relationship with her mother is strong.

This is an easy-to-read fantasy. Older readers might enjoy Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher and The lost witch by Melvin Burgess.

Themes: Witches, Spells, Owls, Magic, Environment.

Pat Pledger