Member Reviews

You can still enjoy this book as a stand alone story without having read the first two instalments.
This book picks up from the story in Woodwitch. Cassie is now looking for a book and she is getting ready to take a test. Cassie is a trainee witch and had a familiar cat. Cassie comes across several challenges, conflicts and adventures and needs to solve problems arising near their home.
The intrigue and attention are sustained throughout.
5/5 for the plot, 4.5 for the characterisation and the prose, 4.75 for the setting and the mood.
Overall, a 5-star adventure for older (KS2 and up) children.

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With many readers looking either for something similar to read after they picked up the ever-popular Harry Potter series, or a more up-to-date and more inclusive/less problematic alternative to enjoy, Skye McKenna’s Hedgewitch series is one that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Now onto its third title, these are wonderful fantasies crammed full of friendship, magic and mystery – stories that are meant for reading under the covers and that leave you begging for more as we again join heroine trainee witch Cassie as she finds herself on another incredible adventure and edges closer and closer to finding out the secret of her mother’s disappearance beyond the Hedge into the land of Faerie.

After her exploits in Woodwitch, we meet Cassie scanning the shelves of Widdershin’s Bookshop in the hopes of tracking down the book she is hunting, watched by her familiar, cat Montague, who is proving to be no help whatsoever. Finally spotting it, as she moves to catch it in her net, the pile of books on which she is standing gives way and she finds herself in a heap on the floor in front of a customer – a stranger who asks her about the book. Telling them that she is trying to use it to find out about the contents of a book called The Wanderers, they discuss the poem within which appears to describe a group of seven ancient faery treasures before the visitor leaves.

Back at home, Cassie talks to her aunt Miranda, the Hedgewitch, and tells her that she feels ready for the Sapling test that will allow her to move to the next stage of her witch training and is told that rather than it being an exam, she will need to train a new witch – something that Cassie is unsure she will be able to do as there are no girls about to join her coven. All thoughts of this are put to one side though when they are visited by the Beldame of the Witches’ Assembly, who brings grave news of the wicked Erl King’s latest activities and Cassie suggests that he is trying to acquire the faery treasures for his own nefarious schemes.

At the final Coven meeting before the summer break, Cassie and the other girls are introduced to their newest member – someone to whom many of the trainee witches take an instant dislike – but spotting the opportunity to pass their Sapling tests, Cassie and Tabitha agree to let them join their Patrol. When a letter comes from Cassie’s cousin Sebastian asking her to join him for the summer at his home in coastal Porthmorven to help solve a mystery, she and the other members of Oak Patrol head to the seaside town in the hopes of a few weeks of fun and sunshine. But very quickly, Cassie and the others learn that something is going on in their new surroundings. With the Seawitch, the Hedgewitch’s counterpart, locked away in her home and refusing to carry out her responsibilities, Cassie and the others soon find that things are not as they should be. Discovering that Porthmorven is the only other place that borders on Faerie, can Cassie work out just what is going on and put it right or will those on the other side of the boundary take full advantage of the Seawitch’s absence to wreak havoc in the human world…

This is a series that just gets better and better with each instalment. Here, Cassie is gaining in confidence as she learns the skills and knowledge necessary to follow in her mother’s footsteps and is starting to show an increased maturity as she not only takes on the responsibility of training up Oak Patrol’s newest member but also faces the very real possibility that the truths she is uncovering about her mother’s disappearance are going to be painful ones.

Where our first two titles were set close to the Hedge, here we move away from the area monitored and cared for by its Hedgewitch guardian to the only other place where Faerie can be accessed, which brings with it a wealth of magical creatures, folklore and history for us to be hooked by. As the author uses this shift to introduce us to new characters, some of whom I suspect will have increasingly important roles to play later on in the series, we are swept away by a narrative that is rich and exciting and one that ends with lots of unanswered questions for both Cassie and the reader.

There is so much more that I want to say about this title but won’t because of spoilers but what I will say is that it includes an idea so brilliantly obvious that when you read it you will, quite possibly, wonder why it has not been used before. Let me just dangle a metaphorical carrot in front of you and tell you that it is a big part of what is a wonderful story and one that many children will really relate to.

Perfect for confident readers n Year 4 upwards, while this does include enough of the backstory from Cassie’s first two adventures to work as a standalone read, I would recommend that you read the series in order to get the most from it – it is utterly brilliant and you will be so very glad that you did.

My enormous thanks go to publisher Hachette and to Net Galley for my advance virtual read. Seawitch publishes in hardback on 26th September and paperback on February 27th 2025 and is most definitely one to preorder.

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