Book Review: “Witchlings” by Claribel A. Ortega

Cover of "Witchlings" by Claribel A. Ortega
Cover of “Witchlings” by Claribel A. Ortega

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Witchlings” by Claribel A. Ortega! I’ve read witch-related books before, but it’s been a while and I thought it would be fun to read and review another one.

“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…”

Plot Development: 3 out of 5 stars

The plot for this book was okay. There weren’t really any sideplots save for a few abuse-related plots that didn’t tie that much into the main story. The writing style for this book felt like it was aiming for a middle-grade audience, but the content involved (murder, domestic abuse and abuse in the workplace are discussed and shown in the story) felt aimed for a YA audience. Since the writing style and content clashed so much, it made it harder for me to enjoy reading this story.

Character Development: 3 out of 5 stars

I initially didn’t like Seven all that much when reading this book, though I did think she developed for the better later on. I also enjoyed reading how all the main characters interacted with each other and learned to work together.

However, many of the minor/supporting characters felt underdeveloped or one-note. Gran barely got to do anything as a mentor figure for the main trio, and all the obviously-evil villains were way too obviously evil to take seriously. I also found it difficult to believe that Valley could just immediately explain all her past bullying to Seven as being a result of her being abused by her father. Seven just almost-immediately forgives Valley in that same chapter, which didn’t help. I think Seven forgiving Valley could have taken a bit more time to develop rather than rushing it in two chapters of the whole story.

Wordlbuilding Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The worldbuilding helped me stay engaged in the story, especially as it discussed the flaws in the current coven system, the rituals that assign witches to their respective covens, and so on. This was the best part of the book, since I enjoyed reading the book more for this than the actual characters themselves. However, the overall worldbuilding could use a bit more development.

Overall, I’m rating this book 3 out of 5 stars!

I would reccomend this more for those interested in the worldbuilding than the actual characters.

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