“Witchlings” by Claribel A. Ortega
Source: Scholastic in exchange for honest review
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy
Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.
And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!
Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings—and will never be able to perform powerful magic.
Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.
But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…
You can never really have enough books about finding your place in this world. It’s one of those universal experiences that draws us all together. Witchlings sounds like many other beloved fantasy books: children come of age in a society that places them in groups that will shape their futures and of course, there’s trouble that comes along with the territory.
Even though that’s a trope and story arc that’s been explored time and again, Witchlings feels fresh and new. It’s a different take on the magic that we often see within Middle Grade fantasy.
Seven, Thorn, and Valley are a great group of characters. They feel fully developed and you just want to get to know them more. Some of the words & phrases in the world are a little too sweet and silly for my taste.
Heavy subjects are touched on through the story in an age appropriate way.
All in all, a charming new addition to the middle grade fantasy world.