Book Review: The Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabriella Lepore

by - 2:37:00 AM

Title: The Witches of the Glass Castle
Author: Gabriella Lepore
Pages: 326
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: 18 April 2017

From Goodreads: "Mia’s life is thrown through a loop when she discovers her family secret — that she and her brother Dino are witches. After they are sent away to study their craft, they begin down a path that will change their lives forever.

Suddenly thrust into a world where handsome warriors command the power of nature and people’s thoughts and actions can be manipulated at will, Mia and Dino struggle to navigate their own allegiances and do what they know to be right when everything around them seems beyond their control."

Thank you to OfTomes Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.

Stay tuned after my review for a special cover reveal for both The Witches of the Glass Castle and the sequel, The Witches of the Dark Power!

The Witches of the Glass Castle
starts off with a bang, sort of. I've recently been looking for a new YA fantasy to read and when the opportunity to read one about witches came up with OfTomes Publishing, I pounced. While this wasn't the uber fantastic story I was hoping for, it was definitely entertaining and got me interested enough to read the sequel.

Plot:
Mia and Dino have just discovered the family secret- they're witches. When they get sent away by their mother and aunt to study their powers, their lives begin to change forever. Dropped into a world where dangerous warriors can control the elements and the actions and thoughts of others can be manipulated, Mia and Dino struggle to find where their allegiances lie and to do what's right despite everything around them falling apart.

This book was...okay. It wasn't a super wonderful 5 star read, but it wasn't terrible. It begins with a fire that happens when Mia reads these random words on a wall in their basement that apparently "activate" the powers of both her and her brother, Dino. It's actually never explained where the words came from and that was definitely something that I was curious about, but never got an answer for. But instead of freaking out, their mother is basically like, "Yeah you're witches surprise also I'm sending you away for the summer to work on your powers okay bye." It all just feels very rushed for the beginning of a book. Once the siblings get to the Glass Castle, the book kind of plateaus from there. There's not a lot going on until maybe the last 25% of the book, which is where you get a somewhat predictable plot twist and a bit of action that has a lot of build up and not a lot of delivery, sadly. I didn't find this book hard to read, it just fell kind of flat for me. You get a pretty cool opening (albeit with a few questionable actions and unanswered questions) and there's potential for a cool story, but it never really feels like anything happens for a large chunk of the book. The siblings try to explore their powers (kinda) and they make friends and kind of futz around the castle, getting into things they really probably shouldn't. The whole time I just felt like I was waiting for something big to happen and it never really did. But like I said above, the last 25% of the book had some action, a teensy bit of magic, more about the confusing romance-that's-not-a-romance-but-kind-of-is-a-romance, and some family love. It wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't bad.

Characters:
I can't be the only one that wanted to absolutely shake some sense into Mia and Dino, right? They were both so stubborn and made some pretty questionable choices throughout and I just couldn't fathom why they did some of the things they did. It was almost like they weren't listening to anyone when they told them the rules of the Glass Castle and just kind of did what they wanted. Don't go into the woods! What does Mia do? Go into the woods. A lot. Don't talk to strangers. What does Dino do? Talks to a stranger. Don't mess with the hunters. What does Mia do? MESSES WITH THE HUNTERS. Also, I understand that Dino's power was probably difficult to deal with, but lordy lordy child please get it together. Dino was very rude and sullen throughout 99% of the book and he was such an off-putting character that I just got to the point where I would roll my eyes and tell him (mentally because I definitely don't talk to my Kindle...not at all) to suck it up and treat his sister better. Mia was slightly better, but I don't think I liked her very much. She just wouldn't listen and was very impulsive at times, which caused her to get in trouble...a lot. Also, her powers were described as being very strong, but we got very little evidence of that, unfortunately. I understand this is the first book and that her powers may not be very developed, (or that may be because their supposed teacher was NEVER AROUND TO HELP THEM LEARN but I'll get to that momentarily) but I was really looking forward to seeing what she could do. I think end of the book Mia and Dino were much better than beginning/middle of the book Mia and Dino, and I'd like to see where their story goes in the sequel. Hopefully they can magic themselves some ears so they can listen to the things that people tell them next time.

One thing that I was concerned about was Wendolyn. The siblings were supposedly sent to this woman (who had previously taught their mother and aunt) to have her teach them more about their new and growing powers and how to use them properly, but she's almost never around. She'll call the occasional meeting and pop in for .5 seconds to tell the kids to go to sleep, but that's about it. How are the kids expected to learn about these powers that they have absolutely no idea about if the person who is supposed to be their teacher is basically non-existent? She does make an appearance at the end very briefly, but even then, her presence is very underwhelming and I guess I was just expecting more from someone who is supposed to be an elder witch.

Colt. Just...Colt. He was your very typical dark, sassy, mysterious YA male character who eventually to no one's surprise falls for Mia. They do spend quite a large portion of the book just making sassy comments back and forth to one another, and that was pretty entertaining, I must admit. But one thing that drove me bonkers about him was how he constantly harped about the fact that he was basically emotionless. Being a Hunter means he doesn't (supposedly) have any feelings or emotions, and while I did think the concept was cool, I think he hyper fixated on it too hard. Although at the end when he does (and this is just obvious, not a spoiler) admit he has feelings for Mia, he claims he's sick and has caught feelings and oh woe is him. I won't lie, that had me cracking up. I'm a sucker for the dark and sassy characters, so I did enjoy him at least a small bit. The romance between him and Mia did progress slowly (thank goodness for no love triangle or insta-love!!!!!!!) which I definitely appreciated, but I'm not entirely sure how I feel about them as a couple. It's an odd feeling, because obviously they end up together, but it just doesn't feel...right? I hope to see more of this in the sequel and maybe then my feelings about their relationship will change, but for now, it's something I'm really on the fence about.

Blue was probably my favorite character but he was around so infrequently that I never really got the full experience I was hoping for. He was precious and the kind of dopey side character that you can't help but love, and love him I did! His stutter just made me like him more, and I just really wish he had a much bigger part in the book. I did really like that Dino kind of took him under his wing and became his friend even after he was a jerk to him at the beginning. Also, I am dying to see his powers develop but I also adore the fact that he can only conjure buttons. For some reason, it's just really cute to me!

All of the characters together were pretty much the same as the plot for me- not fantastic, but not absolutely terrible either. Except Blue. He was amazing.

Writing:
I felt like the writing of The Witches of the Glass Castle was very easy to read. Like I talked about above, the plot kind of flat lined after the opening, so there wasn't a lot going on until the last 1/4th of the book, in my opinion. It wasn't overloaded with descriptions or action, so it made it pretty easy to just fly through, but I really wanted more from the writing. I wanted more magic and more fighting and more development of Mia and Dino's powers and maybe a bit less focus on the up and down romance between Mia and Colt. This book had a lot of potential to be really good, but I just didn't get as much out of it as I wanted. I liked that the writing made it very effortless to get through and I think the sequel has the possibility of taking the story of Mia and Dino (and I guess Colt) even further with their developing powers, so I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes, but my expectations are certainly not through the roof as they were with this one. I did enjoy the writing and I feel like I'd probably pick up future books by Gabriella Lepore, especially the sequel, The Witches of the Dark Power, if only for pure entertainment purposes. And more Blue, because I really want to read more about Blue.

While I had a pretty 'meh' feeling about the book overall, it was enjoyable and I will plan on reading the sequel somewhere down the line. I definitely think this book would be great for readers looking for an easy, uncomplicated fantasy book that's a fairly solid start to a YA series!


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Check out the reveal for the beautiful covers for The Witches of the Glass Castle and the sequel, The Witches of the Dark Power. These books definitely have some very beautiful covers, am I right? 


Click on the covers of both books to pick up a copy for yourself!

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