Witch Child and Sorceress by Celia Rees: Series review

As I don't have a massive amount of thoughts about either Witch Child or Sorceress, I decided to group them together and make one big post about the both of them.


Witch Child (Witch Child, #1)
Book title/ Author: Witch Child by Celia Rees
Publisher/ Year: 2009 Scholastic
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Series: Witch Child #1
Pages: 245
Source/ Format: Paperback | Bought with my own money
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

*This review may contain spoilers!*

Synopsis

When Mary sees her grandmother accused of witchcraft and hanged for the crime, she is silently hurried to safety by an unknown woman. The woman gives her tools to keep the record of her days - paper and ink. Mary is taken to a boat in Plymouth and from there sails to the New World where she hopes to make a new life among the pilgrims.

But old superstitions die hard and soon Mary finds that she, like her grandmother, is the victim of ignorance and stupidity, and once more she faces important choices to ensure her survival.

My review

I didn't really know what to expect when I started this book, but I turned out to quite like this book, fortunately. The writing style for me felt more like Middle Grade than Young Adult, but that could be because of when it was written. Witch Child is written as a diary, which helped to make it easy to follow. You were told things entirely from Mary's perspective, which I didn't mind.

I enjoyed reading about the different locations in which Mary is living; from England to travelling across the Pacific to the New World, and meeting all kinds of people everywhere she goes. It was particularly interesting to read about people's opinions towards both the threat of witches and the 'Red Indians', and how she seemed to be one of the only ones who had positive opinions about both.

Speaking of the 'Indians', part of me was disappointed that Mary and Jaybird's relationship never even started, let alone took off. I really think there could've been something there, but nothing fabricated. Overall I quite liked Mary and how she had a good head on her shoulders. She may have been a bit stubborn, and never listened to anyone when they told her to stop wandering around in the forest. She obviously had a good feel about her, because most people warmed to her and Martha even took her under her wing.

Mary had a good group of people who cared and looked out for her: Martha, Jonah, and Tobias. I liked how Celia Rees decided not to give with the obvious romantic partner of Tobias, and chose someone more interesting instead.

I don't really know what's going to happen in book 2, but I'm looking forward to finding out!


Sorceress (Witch Child, #2)
Book title/ Author: Sorceress by Celia Rees
Publisher/ Year: March 4th 2004 Bloomsbury

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Series: Witch Child #2

Pages: 302

Source/ Format: Paperback | Borrowed from library

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

*This review may contain spoilers!*

Synopsis

It came to Agnes unbidden: a vision of Mary Newbury, a young woman driven from her Puritan settlement, accused of being a witch. It is an image of a life about to change radically, as Mary defies all accepted norms - embracing independence, love, and loyalty to a Native American community that accepts her as one of their own. The two women's lives are separated by almost four hundred years, but they are linked by more than blood. For, like Mary, Agnes has special powers - powers that Mary seeks to ensure that the rest of her story is told.

My review

I had no idea what direction this book would take after the ending of Witch Child - whether it would be a sorry end for Mary, or if she would find someone, or if she ended up with Jaybird. The latter of which turned out to be the result and I really liked reading about her experience in a Native American tribe, finally being accepted into a group, and getting the chance to make a family with Jaybird. In Sorceress, we see Mary really grow up and become a woman, and because of that the tone of the book changed quite drastically. At times the book became quite heavy and the writing style didn't really fit it.

This sequel introduced us to two new main characters set in present day, with Agnes and Alison. I enjoyed the addition of Agnes, and how you got to see that most of the Native American traditions still remain and are used to this day. I liked Agnes, and I liked experiencing her discoveries with her. Alison on the other hand, I really couldn't warm to. I felt like her whole life was consumed by Mary Newbury, and she went after Agnes even though she clearly ditched her because she didn't want her to have these valuable items.

One of my favourite parts of the book were the historical notes at the end, as it really gave an insight into all the research Celia Rees had to spend time finding to ensure that these books were as historically accurate as possible.

On the whole, these books were entertaining and I enjoyed the Native American aspect as well as the whole magic and sorcery element to them. If you enjoy either, then these will be for you!

Izzy

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