Book Review: Season of the Witch
Season of the Witch
(The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1)
Written by Sarah Rees Brennan
Published by Scholastic
Publication date: 9th July 2019
Summary (from Goodreads):
It’s the summer before her sixteenth birthday, and Sabrina Spellman knows her world is about to change. She’s always studied magic and spells with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda. But she’s also lived a normal mortal life — attending Baxter High, hanging out with her friends Susie and Roz, and going to the movies with her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle.
Now time is running out on her every day, normal world, and leaving behind Roz and Susie and Harvey is a lot harder than she thought it would be. Especially because Sabrina isn’t sure how Harvey feels about her. Her cousin Ambrose suggests performing a spell to discover Harvey’s true feelings. But when a mysterious wood spirit interferes, the spell backfires… in a big way.
Sabrina has always been attracted to the power of being a witch. But now she can’t help wondering if that power is leading her down the wrong path. Will she choose to forsake the path of light and follow the path of night?
Our exclusive prequel novel will reveal a side of Sabrina not seen on the new NETFLIX show. What choice will Sabrina make… and will it be the right one?
My whole life, I’ve known that when I turned sixteen I would go through my dark baptism, write my name in the book, and enter the Academy of Unseen Arts as a full-fledged witch. When I was a kid, I thought that day would never come.
I was so impatient to fulfill the destiny my parents had always wanted for me, to make my aunts proud, to be a true witch.
My birthday is Halloween, and summer is already coming to an end. I didn’t consider, back then, that embracing my destiny as a witch would mean turning my back on my mortal life.
First impressions: Seeing this and the announcement of the Netflix series really brought back memories! I sporadically watched the original series and really loved it, so I was excited by the idea of a remake and looking forward to reading this book. Although, a little disappointed that there seems to be no Salem the cat…
The story starts before Season 1 of the Netflix show, which I have yet to watch, and follows Sabrina as she ponders the decision she must make on her sixteenth birthday and how she is torn between her witch and human heritage.
She lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda, as well as a cousin names Ambrose who seems to be a new addition, but a very welcome one as he cares about Sabrina but pretends not to. He is often the one who makes sarcastic remarks and teases her a little. Together they seem like quite a dysfunctional but warm family, despite the fact that Zelda periodically kills Hilda and buries her in a special grave to be regenerated.
We meet Harvey and his older brother who have the sweetest relationship, united against their father who seems to see Harvey’s sensitivity and artistic tendencies as a problem. Sabrina’s friends at school are also mentioned and seem really interesting – all of them have back stories that are touched upon briefly, but I have a feeling that there is much more going on there!
The full witches who seem somewhat threatened, yet intrigued by Sabrina’s half-human/half-witch heritage are also touched upon but I feel like we will find out more about them in the next book and the series. There was one scene with Nick (a warlock) has a discussion with a slight spell-befuddled Sabrina and I felt that there were a lot of undertones that I was missing because I don’t know his character. To anyone who has seen the series I imagine that their exchange would be quite revealing!
Overall, this was a fun read which allows some more delving into character’s back stories than the TV series might permit, and it has definitely made me ant to watch the series now! Perfect if you’re already a fan and sure to drag in those who haven’t become fans yet!
Every day, I feel like the world I know is slipping a little further out of my grip.
Yet I still love magic. I love the feel of power building in my veins and the idea of having more. I love the click when a spell goes perfectly right as much as I hate the thought of disappointing my family.
It’s an impossible choice, and soon I have to make it. I never thought of that when I was a child daydreaming about magic, or when Harvey leaned in and kissed me by the gate.
I guess a part of me still believed that day would never come.
I spent so long thinking the future was forever away. I’m not ready for it to be now.
What I liked: Sabrina reads like an actual teenager, in that she does make stupid decisions sometimes. I liked how we are given an insight into the backstory of each character with the ‘night time’ pages, although some of the storylines will probably make more sense once I’ve seen the series.
Even better if: Some of the characters aren’t really given much of an introduction, so, despite this being a prequel, it is probably best read after watching Season 1 of the TV series so you know who everyone is.
How you could use it in your classroom: This would make a great addition to any library catering for young adult readers, especially if it might tempt those into reading who might not otherwise pick up a book, because it is a media tie-in. However, while I have not yet seen the series, some of the content in the trailer and from what I have seen online does suggest that it would not be suitable for younger teens though – think at least 15+ and watch it yourself first if unsure.
(Thank you to Hannah Love and Scholastic UK for my review copy!)
Watch the trailer for the new series here:
What did other people think?
Lena @LenaMayBooks said: “It’s the prequel, as I’ve said and just fills that missing gap before things start happening. Sabrina is trying to figure out where her and Harvey stand, Ambrose is instigating a love spell of sorts and there are lots of mysterious entities appearing. I particularly love the wishing well – read the book, you’ll see why! The alternating chapters were a lovely touch!”
Kirkus Reviews said: ” A creepy literary adaptation to please existing Sabrina fans and that may entice new ones. ”
While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of Perfectly Preventable Deaths, Nocturna, Spinning Silver, The Cruel Prince, The Gilded Wolves, To Kill a Kingdom, Stepsister, Romanov, The Twisted Tree or The Wise and the Wicked?
Thanks for reading!