Reviews

Review: The Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabriella Lepore

I first heard about The Witches of the Glass Castle from Benjamin Of Tomes (Benjamin Alderson) who is a booktuber who also has his own publishing company, Oftomes Publishing. The Witches of the Glass Castle is published by Oftomes, and was recently on promotion, which is one of the reasons that I took the plunge and downloaded it. I say took the plunge because the book is about teenage witches with romance intertwined, not usually elements I’m interested in… but let’s just say I am now.

The Witches of the Glass Castle follows the story of Mia and her older brother Dino, who have just discovered that they’re both witches. Their mother and aunt, who they learn are also witches, take them to stay with their old mentor Wendolyn, who helps young witches develop their powers and also control them, while also providing a safe atmosphere for the youngsters to mingle… well, relatively safe. There are two types of witches that the siblings learn about; Arcana, who are then further split into groups depending on their power, be they Seer, Reader, Conjurer, Tempestus (elemental control) or Sententia (reader of emotions), and Hunters, who have individual powers like the Arcana, but are also trained as warriors from a young age and pride themselves on being detached from human emotion.

While staying with Wendolyn in her home, the glass castle, Mia and Dino find out what their powers are. Dino can hear people’s emotions, and the sound causes him physical pain as his powers are so strong he struggles to control them. Mia, on the other hand, has the ability to control the elements, but no matter what she tries, she can’t seem to harness them. That is, until she has a run in with one of the castle’s Hunters, Colt, who tells her that the rainstorm drenching the castle grounds is entirely her doing and that she should stop it. When she protests that she can’t, he grudgingly helps her, and despite the divide between Arcana and Hunters, she starts to trust him – something that her friend, and Colt himself, think she’s crazy for.

As I said above, I’ve never been crazy about stories based on witchcraft or romance, and it was purely out of curiosity that I picked this book up. Yet I found the concepts of all the different magical abilities intriguing, and I liked the characters a lot – even if they weren’t likable in themselves, I enjoyed how they were written. Colt and the other Hunters caught my attention in particular, as they have no distinction between different types of passion – be it romantic passion, or passion for their next kill – it’s all one and the same to them, and I thought that played into the plot really well. There are some elements that are Harry Potter and Twilight-esque (I have never read Twilight, but I recognize the tropes in it) but I would say that they are only vague similarities at best. The glass castle isn’t really a school for magic, more of a place to study in one’s own time, with guidance if needed, and there are no structured lessons. That sort of thing.

Overall, I have to say that this book grabbed me so much that the moment I finished it, I bought the sequel and swallowed that up too, both in the space of about three days, and I had a serious book hangover once I’d finished. So maybe I do like romance and elemental control…

Kat out!

Poetry

The Eager and the Patient

When the door opens

Out bounds

The bumbling bundle of bouncing energy

Wagging its tail

With flaming, eager, sightless eyes.

Uncontrollable happy smiles

Brim from its jowls

Demanding cuddles.

 

Behind, the experienced one sits

Keen gaze fixed on the attention

The blind bundle receives.

Foolish. Untrained. Impulsive.

But sometimes worth indulging

In a game of tug o’ war.

Part of the family now,

After all.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Wyld Times- a story idea

Aelfire’s head rested on a small, moss covered mound, his body stretched out on the grass as the sun lit the hill. His long hair was splayed out around him, and so deep was his sleep that he didn’t even feel the gentle tug as the pond nymphs plaited it into the lengths of silver rope weed growing out of the pond’s spongy bank.

‘Ladies, please,’ Gwenti said, striding towards them from where she had stood watch over Aelfire from the shadows of the woods. ‘I think that’s enough playtime for now. Run along.’

The nymphs chittered angrily and dived back into the murky waters of the pond. Gwenti sighed. Those mischievous creatures were always up to something when Aelfire rested there. It was as if they couldn’t leave the boy alone. She knelt down beside him and carefully untangled his hair. He didn’t stir, but the day was well underway and she needed him awake. ‘Lord Aelfire,’ she said, putting a hand on his shoulder.

Nothing.

She shook him. ‘Lord Aelfire, it’s time to move.’

He yawned and rolled onto his side, blinking as the sunlight reflecting off the pond hit him full in the eyes. ‘Already? I thought you said we had til noon?’

‘It is noon, my Lord. The city beacon has already been lit, in a few moments the Gulls will be released. We need to be well away from here by then. If they catch us so close to the city gates, then it’s an automatic fail. Not only for you, but for me too. If you fail this trial, my role as your guardian will be over. They’ll choose someone else to train you in the Wylds, and believe me when I say you don’t want that, and nor do I. Your mother would never forgive me if I let you end up in the hands of one of them.’ 

‘You worry too much, Gwenti. We’ll win this trial,’ Aelfire said with a grin. ‘Just…where’s the first checkpoint again?’

Gwenti cast him a long, hard look.

‘Hey, I’m joking, I’m joking,’ he said, picking up his pack and slinging it over his shoulder. ‘I know it’s the Mergrave stone. Let’s go.’