🌿 Hi, friends! How are you? I hope you’re doing great! ❤️ Today, I bring you a new double review of a couple of quite shocking and unique books I’ve read recently. 👓 I don’t usually put the books I review for similarities by far but this time I think both books coincide in that they’re quite whimsical, fantastical and very atmospheric, so if any of those characteristics sound good, these reads might be for you. 👏🏻
On the one hand, we have a read full of super unique magic that focuses on nature and caring for the planet, and on the other hand we have an intricate and somewhat sinister plot involving two sisters and a mystery revolving around their missing-famous mother.
Both are good plot ideas, but I confess that one of them stood out for me, so without further ado, I’m dying to tell you more about them, so I hope you enjoy the reviews & let’s get started! 🌿
After their world-famous actor mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, Manon and Thaïs left their remote Mediterranean island home—sent away by their pharma-tech tycoon father. Opposites in every way, the sisters drifted apart in their grief. Yet their mother’s unfinished story still haunts them both, and they can’t put to rest the possibility that she is still alive.
Lured home a decade later, Manon and Thaïs discover their mother’s legendary last work, long thought lost: White Fox, a screenplay filled with enigmatic metaphors. The clues in this dark fairytale draw them deep into the island’s surreal society, into the twisted secrets hidden by their glittering family, to reveal the truth about their mother—and themselves.
| Goodreads |
“I guess grief is like that: the banshee patiently waiting in the many-halled house of your mind, so quiet in certain moments, until you turn a corner and see how it takes up rooms and rooms, cracking their floors and windows with its volume, its weight.”
This book had me trying to figure out what was going on for a large part of the book, which I appreciate, I like when the book makes me work a bit, still it’s that kind of book where you have to focus enough to not miss any important details, which doesn’t exactly make it a smooth read. The atmosphere is beautiful, it’s one of my favorite things about this read, on the other hand, the characters seemed a bit flat, the construction of the plot itself wasn’t my cup of tea and finally, I had some conflicts with the writing style. Still, on the bright side, I like that it has a dark tone and focuses on the mystery as such.
The plot follows two very different sisters, Manon and Thaïs, who have always been best known for their mother, a world-famous actress who has disappeared under strange circumstances. Now, both return to the Meditarranean island where they grew up and spent most of their childhood with their family, where the sisters will find the mysterious and incomplete work of their mother: White Fox, which was thought to be long lost. The words they find there, twisted into a dark fairy tale, will lead them to delve into the island’s society, uncovering twisted secrets, hopefully leading them to discover the truth behind their mother’s disappearance and even more about themselves.
You know, I love plots that focus on sisters and their relationship, so that’s a big factor that made me want to read it in the first place. This factor, in general, was one of the ones I enjoyed the most, even though the girls’ personalities need more work in my opinion, I managed to get involved in their stories and especially the conflicts in between their relationship. They had a really complicated relationship not only because of their very different personalities but also because of how their parents have raised them and obviously how things have been going after their mother’s disappearance and the depression and death of their father. Obviously, all this emotional baggage falls on their relationship making it more and more distant. This was very interesting to explore and I also like how the author handled it, in general, it’s very unusual to see this type of polarized personality in this type of character, but in this case, I think they’re both flawed and have somewhat right in their conflicts.
Still, both Manon and Thaïs could have had stronger personalities, especially because I felt their voices were very similar at times and that makes it difficult to differentiate, obviously we have chapters for each one which it’s great, but I’d have needed something more to end up falling in love with these characters, it doesn’t always have to happen, but sometimes I like to have strong feelings for the characters I’m reading and when their personalities are a bit flat it doesn’t usually happen. This is just my perception obviously. I actually ended up enjoying the secondary characters much more, as I think they’re the ones that really bring this story to life, especially those mysterious characters that inhabit the Island.
The idea of the plot as such is very good, I really like the fact that it’s a mystery book, and that it focuses on solving a disappearance, but also that along the way we explore this beautiful island and get to know a little more about the girls and their powerful family. I think it has a lot of ingredients to be a great book, and even though I didn’t totally like the execution, I would still recommend it if you want to read something different, atmospheric, and with a plot focused on a rather dysfunctional family; also if you like mysteries and slow-paced plots.
I’d have to read another of the author’s works to be sure how I feel about her writing style because, on one hand, I really like her dark and atmospheric style, but on the other hand, I’m not sure about the way she structures this story, so I would like to see if this is something she usually does or maybe it’s just this time if so, I think I could easily enjoy another of her books. The way this one is structured I found it a bit hard to follow at times, as I said before the voices of the characters are similar for me so that combined with her super descriptive style and some moments when there are internal monologues and then we jump to memories of the past and then to notes of her mother’s work, it’s a bit much at times, you know? I still want to point out that the parts that I ended up enjoying the most were the ones where we read a little bit of White Fox (the girls’ mother’s work), I think it was pretty creepy but atmospheric and a little bit magical, I liked that.
This isn’t a fast-paced book, it took me quite a while to read it because again, I repeat, it requires a lot of attention and it has a lot of descriptions, which is fine because I know most of you might like this detail, but I always like to mention it in case you’re like me and prefer fewer descriptions in your reading. I mostly enjoyed the first part and the ending, but there’s a lot that happens in between that I don’t think is indispensable to the plot movement as such, still .it’s not a bad book and I think there’s a lot of magic about it and it has a dark vibe to it that feels super intriguing
Although I’d heard the ending isn’t very popular within the community, I personally enjoyed it a lot, I didn’t see it coming, maybe because I’m always thinking of the craziest possibilities lol, and I liked that. Also, I think it’s not only very realistic in a way, but it also has sci-fi aspects which are a very good surprise for me in this read, it gives something unexpected but very necessary to keep the reader expectant and it really worked. The ending as such gave a good closure to the story in general, but especially to the sisters, I think what happened was something that no one but them needed in some way. It was a very appropriate solid ending for me.
To conclude, I can say that it was a good read, it wasn’t everything I expected and it may have influenced a little that my expectations were very high, in fact, I thought it was going to be 5 stars for me which obviously didn’t happen. But still, a read that I would recommend, above all for the atmosphere, the idea of the plot and if you like descriptions and dark but beautiful settings. It’s a read that I know will have very polarized opinions, because that’s what it provokes just by reading it, I was like “omg, I love it” and then I was like “omg, I’m bored” you know? So I know it will take you through a particular journey. I wished for stronger and more defined characters, but I’m left mostly with the secondary characters that are even better elaborated. But all in all, a very positive reading at the end with a closure that left me satisfied and wanting to give the author another chance.
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.
Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.
| Goodreads |
“There are as many kinds of love as there are stars in the sky.”
I’ve been debating quite a bit how I feel about this book for the past few days and yes, I liked it a lot, but there are still some things I’m not sure about, so I’ll discuss them below in the review. Still, and even though I have a few points that I wasn’t convinced to discuss today, this is a great read that I think is very worthwhile in the end. But yeah, I changed my mind about my rating a few times lol. I really liked how atmospheric it is, even though we don’t see many settings, the ones that are presented are beautiful and I especially loved the plot idea and the handling of magic in the book, it’s very unique, and I definitely appreciated that.
In this book we follow Clara, she’s one of many witches who dedicate their lives to control the weather by getting their powers from the sun, from winter witches to summer witches and depending on what season it is some of them are more powerful than others, but Clara is not just any kind of witch, she’s an Everwitch, which means she possesses a rare power that can control all the seasons. But, she wants nothing to do with her power because in the past she has hurt those she loves. But when things start to change regarding the weather and everything starts to get much more volatile and dangerous Clara will have to choose between embracing her magic and doing her duty, or giving up her power forever.
What I like a lot about this reading that I didn’t mention until now and I think it’s one of the main factors, is the discussion behind all this plot, I think it has several very good discussions, so I’ll mention some of them. The one that stands out the most is the discussion of climate change in the world, the lack of awareness of people about the issue, and the responsibility to do something to change it. I found this wonderful because it’s not something I usually come across, I actually knew a lot about it when I went to school because it’s something that’s talked about, you know? but because of life itself, one doesn’t pay enough attention to it and I think discussing the importance of taking care of our planet and the importance of being aware of the changes that are progressively taking place in it is extremely important and I really appreciate that this book has it as a central point. On the other hand, I would also like to highlight how the feelings of the main character are portrayed in the book in a brilliant way, what do I mean by this? I think that the internal monologues and the weight of responsibility that falls on her, as well as the pain of so many losses, the guilt, and the loneliness, are portrayed in a very real way, so much so that you get to connect with what happens to Clara, and I could really put myself in her place and understand some of her decisions. Not many authors can create this kind of feeling in the readers, you know? that feeling of “OMG, I’m feeling everything the character is feeling” and I love that, I think it’s worth noting.
Besides all this, I want to mention right now how much I liked the romance in this book, which is always a plus for me and you know that lol. Clara and Sag’s relationship was adorable, I love Sag with my life, I feel like he would be a wonderful friend in real life, I loved and appreciated the respect in this love story, and the support they show for each other, the caring and noble intentions behind their relationship make it very meaningful and very beautiful. These two own the most incredible aesthetic scenes in the book, so fasten your seatbelt to read this because it’s TOO ADORABLE.
I also want to highlight how there are also other types of love and meaningful connections in this book that are super rich and wonderful, first the relationship that Clara has with Professor Hart and how this bond progresses to be so important and have such an impact on her life, is amazing, I was extremely touched by this relationship, and I love Professor Hart so much! On the other hand, there’s also a strange dynamic with Clara and her ex-girlfriend that’s interesting to read, at the beginning, I didn’t really like it, I wasn’t sure about the feelings of these two, but towards the end, you can see the love that still exists between them and it’s great.
The plot itself is great, I like the idea a lot I think this concept of elemental witches that control the weather and also that are classified into seasons is super fun and something that I hadn’t read before, I do have read about witches that control water or fire or that kind of thing, but not complete seasons and I love that. On the other hand, we follow the chosen one, right? she’s this girl who’s super special and can control everything, she has great power but she doesn’t want to accept it and she’s a bit stubborn at times, all this is probably something we have already read, so maybe it loses a bit of that unique touch as you read it, but I still think it’s great to read and without a doubt, if like me you like witches, as well as magic schools and all that, then you’ll love this book. Anyway, I feel the plot is good the idea is solid, but the execution as such is quite rushed, and no doubt I like it to be a quick and easy book to read, but this time I felt that everything happened so fast that I couldn’t end up feeling inside the story, but more like an expectant reader from afar, and I hope for you my reader friends, this makes sense because I don’t know how else to explain it lol, I would have liked this time a slower-paced plot, more exploration of the world, more explanation in general of how the schools work, how everything originated and how humans feel about witches in greater proportion. In the end I feel like I liked the book a lot but something was missing.
Another thing that didn’t convince me was the main character as such, I know I already mentioned that I understood many of her attitudes towards the world in general, due to everything she has had to live through, but on the other hand, she’s quite intense and stubborn at times, and yes, she can be quite annoying. I think Clara sees most people as a challenge, an obstacle, or an enemy at times and that makes it very difficult to communicate with her or work with her, so my respects to the teachers she has met along the way. Obviously, I don’t have to love a character to totally enjoy the story and this is a good example of that, but I did want to mention it because I totally understand that she can be incredibly annoying at times. On the other hand, we have Sag and he’s the light of this book, you need to get to know him and love him!
I liked the ending, it was pretty good, I don’t think there’s much to say about it, though. I think it’s pretty predictable and not very shocking but it’s not bad either, so I’d say it’s a good ending and that’s it. I also don’t think there are any surprises or incredible plot twists, the only one that really surprised me was one of the deaths at the beginning of the book, but then it was pretty flat in that sense. Obviously it doesn’t need plot twists to be a good book, but as a fan of that aspect, I had to mention it. But it does have a very beautiful touch towards the end that makes you understand those little annotations at the beginning of each chapter and I think it’s a nice thing.
In conclusion, I can say that it’s a great book, a super entertaining read that takes you on an intense journey where you’ll see the weather change in crazy ways in front of your eyes and you’ll see these incredibly strong witches trying to give everything of themselves to stop any disaster and that’s great, there are many sacrifices during the book and you can really see the commitment there is here to keep everyone safe and at the same time take care of the planet. I would definitely recommend it if you like witch plots, wizarding schools, and training scenes. It also has very deep discussions about climate change and the responsibilities that are imposed on us. It’s a very entertaining book that I’m sure will hook you and you’ll want to know what happens at the end, it’s not hard to read so that’s another plus. I really enjoyed it and I’m excited to know what the author will do in the future!
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