Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Reluctant Witch

Meet Brie McAddams, a 16-year-old girl on her way to a new school in a new town. She’d rather go to a regular high school, but she promised her moms that she’d at least try this new place as long as she gets to pick the location. Brie’s real dream? Art school. She doesn’t need magic for art school, but here she is on her way to becoming…a reluctant witch. Her first semester is going to be real interesting.

The Reluctant Witch is the first book in Kristen Walker’s new spin-off series that follows Brie as she makes her way through Santa Cruz Witch Academy. While this book is a spin-off of the Fae of Calaveras Trilogy, it is not necessary that you have read that series in order to understand what is going on with this new series. The author quickly establishes a general sketch of an outline of what has happened for the changes that have occurred in the magic community and why. So readers are able to understand why Brie is going to want to keep a low profile as much as she can at her new school. Her family name is a little too well known in the magic community.

Brie appeals to me in the beginning, because of her introvert personality, but I think that it’s this same thing that ends up dragging the book down a bit. As we all know introverts aren’t the type to be engaging so the storyline is a bit dull and slow in the beginning. After a few chapters things do pick up and get interesting so just hang in there. Brie is hoping to make her own path at this new school, but it seems that even there she can’t really do her own thing. I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow when the element that she is assigned is not the one that she was going for, but is one that seems like the choice was influenced by her mama Rosa. For me, it raises the question of…why? Did Brie ever express to her that she enjoyed that particular element and working with it? Or would this be viewed more as “parental influence” where it’s not wanted?

The side characters really help to bring this story to life since Brie isn’t the most animated of main characters. I love her best friend Damian. He is so much fun and I love that he’s not over the top flamboyant, which I was concerned about briefly. But he is perfectly balanced in my opinion and I love it. Gabriella brings the intrigue and the romance for Brie, but the twists at the end…talk about a gut punch. I did not see that coming at all.

Aside from Brie being not the most engaging main character I become disappointed in her when she allows her emotions to drag her down. I understand that this relationship/romance is her first and that there will be some distraction for her, but for things to go as far as they do. Her grades slide and she begins to struggle with her classes and even lashes out at her best friend and a girl who simply wants to be her friend. I was honestly floored by her behavior. She has a lot of emotional build-up, but I’m disappointed in the fact that she lashes out at those who simply want to help her.

All in all, this book has its good moments and its bad moments. It struggles a bit in the beginning, but once it gets going it really is an enjoyable story. This book is more of an upper YA novel so it might not be deemed appropriate for all readers. If a younger teen were to read this book I would just recommend that they take Brie’s behavior in certain moments with a grain of salt. I am rating this book 4 out of 5 stars. Brie has a long way to go at Santa Cruz Witch Academy, but I’m curious to see where her path will take her along with her Fae patron.

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