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The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin #BookReview

For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.

In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.

In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.

In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.

In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.

Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

Title: The Nature of Witches | Author: Rachel Griffin | Publisher: Sourcebooks | Pub Date: 02/06/1971 | Pages: 384| ISBN13: 978-1728229423 | Genre: YA Fantasy | Language: English | Source: NetGalley | Starred Review

The Nature of Witches Review

In Rachel Griffin’s The Nature of Witches, Clara is an Everwitch. Other witches are born to a season, and their powers are strongest during their season. Everwitches can tap into the magic of every season, but they’re incredibly rare. For Clara, her gift comes with a cost because her magic seeks out those she’s closest to. It killed her parents and one of her best friends, forcing her to isolate herself from others at her school as the administrators pressure her to learn to wield her power.

Clara has a legitimate conflict, because she’s haunted by the cost of her magic. For others, all they see is the power. Former friends and instructors alike criticize her for holding back while she lives with the fear that her power will harm someone else. 

There’s a lot about this story that would be ideal for the big screen. I found myself thinking this suited an upper YA teen movie in the Harry Potter vein. The visuals would be stunning. Throughout the story, Clara battles tornadoes and blizzards. And then there’s Sang and his talent for botany and the colorful flowers he uses to decorate the school’s seasonal celebrations.

This story also touches on some real world issues. First, the weather systems witches manage are getting out of control, thanks to environmental damage from shaders (regular people without magic). This is causing a lot of witches to die. 

Second, Clara’s dealing with grief and guilt, which many people can relate to. She’s been traumatized by the cost of using her power.

Third, like Clara, many people can relate to the pressure to succeed and how some people are more interested in power than they are in people. 

I felt a lot of things reading this book, including a lot of anger. There was a real lack of concern for Clara’s emotional wellbeing, and the one adult ally she had died early on, causing a fresh wave of grief and guilt for our protagonist. None of the instructors or administrators at the school actually sat her down and asked her how she was or offered counseling. Instead, she was constantly bullied to do better and meet their expectations. 

Clara wrestles with whether she should give up her power, and it’s easy to think she’s weak because she considered it. However, when you consider how she has to stand up to all the adults in her life to protect herself and others, you realize just how strong and courageous she is.

I suppose many people think it would be wonderful to be born with some supernatural ability that gives them power. Clara’s story explores the disadvantages of being different, even if you are powerful and special. 

While some aspects of the story were anticipated, this was an engaging story with an interesting protagonist who gave me a lot to think about. I definitely found myself thinking it’s better to develop an ability rather than have one thrust upon you. 

I absolutely loved Sang and it was nice to see a story that centered around such a caring, supportive male figure. Sang was the only person who put Clara first throughout her last year of schooling, and it shows how even the most powerful people need others to help them achieve their potential.

I did feel like the story went on past its ideal end point. It reminded me of The Lord of the Rings movie because there were three points where I thought it was over. I won’t touch on what it was about the ending that I felt weakened the story overall here because it would be a spoiler (see the spoiler below if you really want to know), but it’s just my opinion, and the first 95 percent of the book is thoroughly engaging. 4/5.

You can purchase a copy of this book via your normal retailer, but please consider purchasing it from a local indie bookshop instead. It can be found here at Indiebound or at Bookshop. Please note the Bookshop link is an affiliate link and each purchase you make through it helps to support Sci-Fi & Scary and keep the site running.


bullying, trauma, death, injuries


One of the critical issues for Clara was her fear of being isolated from people she cared about, and the book ends with her moving thousands of miles away from Sang, which is why the ending weakened the overall story for me. 

Published inBook ReviewsStarred Reviews

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