S. Isabelle combines the favorite tropes of paranormal young adult fiction while also adding a unique spin in her debut The Witchery. With an interesting ensemble cast of characters and a school of witches, S. Isabelle crafts a beautifully written debut that keeps readers turning until the last page.
A group of powerful witches determined to break a century-old curse
Iris, Thalia, and Jailah form the Red Three—a powerful group of witches who attend Mesmortes Coven Academy in Haelsford, Florida. When Logan Wyatt arrives at the witchtown of Haelsford as a new Mesmortes student, she becomes invited into the exclusive Red Three. As a new witch, Logan struggles to navigate her newfound powers and live up to her family’s expectations as a student at Mesmortes. Iris Keaton-Foster is a powerful necromancer determined to break the town’s curse from the fearsome Wolves who terrorize its residents every autumn during The Haunting Season. Thalia Blackwood is a talented greenwitch on the run from her dark past while hiding some secrets of her own, and Jailah Simmons is a powerful witch with a dangerous thirst for glory.
The Haunting Season is upon Haelsford
During the Haunting Season, the Wolves awake and emerge from the swamp to feed on witches and mundanes (humans) alike. The four witches—Iris, Jailah, Thalia, and Logan—along with two mundane boys band together as they determine to make this the last Haunting Season Haelsford witnesses. But when their powers surprise even them, the witches must act quickly to save Haelsford and keep any more people from becoming the Wolves’ next victims.
The Witchery is told through six POVs—the four witches as well as Mathew and Trent, the two mundanes who become entangled in their plan. Even though I personally am not a huge fan of multiple POVs, Isabelle blended the story through the six perspectives so well that I didn’t even mind. All the characters were flawed, complex, and well-developed. The Witchery takes the best part of the paranormal young adult genre with its own spin, keeping readers invested from the first chapter until the last.
A wonderfully crafted debut
The Witchery brings a refreshing perspective to the paranormal YA genre through its particular worldbuilding, but also through the characters at its center. Witches of color, queer witches, witches we rarely got the chance to meet in these stories. And at its heart, The Witchery centers the difficulties of coming into one’s own that is so central to the young adult genre.
I enjoyed visiting the world that S. Isabelle built in The Witchery—balancing a diverse cast of characters in a newly imagined setting with wonderfully written descriptions. Even after finishing the book, I was reluctant to leave Haelsford. With so many questions left and potential for the story to develop, is it too soon to hope that this standalone develops a sequel?
The Witchery by S. Isabelle was released on July 26th, 2022.