Book Review

Wild Is The Witch

Wild is the Witch 

  • Author: Rachel Griffin
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: August 2, 2022
  • Publisher: Sourcefire Books

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcefire Books for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: blood, off-page unintentional harm to a wild animal, bullying, divorce, violence, anxiety, death

When eighteen-year-old witch Iris Gray accidentally enacts a curse that could have dire consequences, she must team up with a boy who hates witches to make sure her magic isn’t unleashed on the world.

Iris Gray knows witches aren’t welcome in most towns. When she was forced to leave her last home, she left behind a father who was no longer willing to start over. And while the Witches’ Council was lenient in their punishment, Iris knows they’re keeping tabs on her. Now settled in Washington, Iris never lets anyone see who she really is; instead, she vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. Otherwise, she spends her days at the wildlife refuge which would be the perfect job if not for Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.

Iris concocts the perfect curse for Pike: one that will turn him into a witch. But just as she’s about to dispel it, a bird swoops down and steals the curse before flying away. If the bird dies, the curse will be unleashed―and the bird is a powerful amplifier, and unleashing the curse would turn not just Pike, but everyone in the region, into a witch.

New witches have no idea how to control their magic and the consequences would be dire. And the Witches’ Council does not look kindly on multiple offenses; if they found out, Iris could be stripped of her magic for good. Iris begs Pike to help her track the bird, and they set out on a trek through the Pacific Northwest looking for a single bird that could destroy everything.

I was really looking forward to reading this, especially after how much I enjoyed Griffin’s last book. And while this one was somewhat reminiscent, there were enough differences to keep it fresh and unique. 

Iris is a witch who is dealing with trauma from her past—she left behind everything she knew and started her life over with her mom in the Pacific Northwest. And although she’s settled into a routine, her past keeps her stuck, always tucking away a part of herself and keeping her apart from others and preventing her from making meaningful connections with the people around her. Her mother runs an animal sanctuary, which she loves to work at, since it allows her to use her magic to the best of her ability, and for the best possible reasons. But she still feels like it is a secret that she needs to hide, especially from Pike, her coworker.

Pike is an aspiring ornithologist who interns at her mom’s sanctuary, but he comes across as super obnoxious for the first part of the book. I couldn’t help but dislike him at first, but once I got to know him, he definitely grew on me. Like Iris, he puts on a front to hide his vulnerability and hurt, and there’s so much more to him beneath the surface. 

I loved the magic system in this story, and the way it explores how magic and nature coexist. It also talks about how magic and witches could exist in today’s society, and could be both regulated and misused, and how prejudices and fear could occur. It did a great job of talking about this from both sides of the situation, looking at it from the perspective of witches and people without magic. And I loved the fact that Iris struggled with both anxiety and asthma, both of which were represented in the story. 

The story itself is fast-paced and interested, if not a tiny bit predictable as to what was going to happen between Iris and Pike, but it wasn’t any less enjoyable. I wasn’t as sure what was going to happen with the owl, and the consequences of that, and the story was a very fast read. I quickly became emotionally invested in the characters, although I was definitely more sensitive to Iris, but as I said, Pike’s character grew on me over the course of the story and I absolutely was tearing up by the end. 

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 6

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