Witches are the monsters that are forgotten about when we talk about evil. Everyone remembers vampires, werewolves, and the like, but witches? They’re not considered to be as frightening. Maybe it’s because a witch isn’t a demon, they’re a human. They can be reasoned with more readily and understood. They’re not the malevolent evil of a vampire, or the brutal violence of a werewolf.
This prompt was given by Kaleena from Reader Voracious for Blogoween. Please check out her blog.
So in no particular order, here we go!
Harry Potter and Sorceror’s Stone
Of course, Harry Potter has to be in here. Although my favourite in the series is the third book (Prizoner of Azkaban), there’s no denying that the first book is incredible. The world of wizardry is bright and vibrant, making it more child-friendly than it ever has been. It was less about pacts with demons and more about the coolest school you could ever go to. Hogwarts is iconic for a reason. We all wanted to go there and become witches and wizards. In fact, the only real downside is that most of the spells they were learning seemed to have any value.
Apparition is a pretty good one, but for every useful spell, there’s ten that you would never use. I’m honestly amazed that everyone could remember all the words for a spell in the first place.
A Roald Dahl classic, the Witches was this life changing book for me. It was the first time I read through a horror novel. Despite its light-hearted tone, it really is horrific. There are witches who live out in the real world and the most important job that they have is to kill children. That’s right, they’re coming for you and you’ll never know because they look like normal people.
The moral of this entire story is to not take presents from strangers or to trust them, but wow. The cruel ways they describe killing children is gruesome for any child. And why do they want to kill the children?
Because children smell like excrement to them. And the dirtier the child is, the safer they are from the witches.
So don’t be afraid to get dirty, kids. It might save your life.
A Nameless Witch
This is a book that I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. My friend picked it out for me on a whim from the library. I had no idea what I was getting into and now that I’ve read it, I can honestly say that I love it. It works to subvert the classic ideas of a witch while at the same time maintaining the facade of them. The main character, our nameless witch, is beautiful. But witches are meant to be ugly, so she does her best to hide her charms.
She’s meant to have a demon with her and that demon takes the form of a very foul-mouthed goose. And witches certainly aren’t supposed to go on a quest to try and save the world. But she has to do something. She lives in this world too.
The world is bitter, but all the characters we meet are charming. It’s the first time I can think of where I was actively rooting for a character who I’d never learned the name of.
A fantasy novel set in Nigeria, we meet Sunny. She’s ironically named considering that she’s albino and cannot stand being in the sun for too long. Sunny is a teenager when she realizes that she is a witch and has to learn about this new world. It’s a world where money appears from thin air to reward knowledge and it’s the smartest people in the world who run it. Basically, it’s a world where Hermione would feel right at home.
Comparisons to Harry Potter are inevitable, but aside from Sunny being someone who didn’t know the magical world existed, there isn’t much to go on.
Harry Potter is chaste and despite the dangers of its world, it’s a sanitized adventure. It’s kid friendly. Akata Witch is definitely for teens and set away from traditional European structures. Instead, it’s in a whole new world that we couldn’t even dream of. While there are some places where I stumbled, Akata Witch was one of the best reads of the year for me.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Honestly, this last spot was a toss up between the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Howl’s Moving Castle. I’m sure you can guess which one won out. Howl’s Moving Castle exists within a vibrant new world of magic and witchcraft. It’s a world where the witches and wizards are emotional, less careful with their powers. They have all the power in the world and still, they’re petty. Their humanity is amplified by their powers rather than reduced.
I loved this book on so many levels, but the best part of it was Sophie. She is our insight into the world and as awe-inspiring as Howl is, Sophie is the one who reminds us that he’s just a whiny brat. All that power and still, he whines.
It truly is a world where anything seems possible. While Harry Potter is densely populated enough to have strict rules and laws, that doesn’t exist here. Witches and Wizards are powerful beings, able to do what they wish.
The restrictions on them are slim and that helps make for a more fantastical world.
Is there a book about witches that I missed? Do you have one that you think I should read? Let me know in the comments below.