Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Nature of Witches

Rate this book
For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.

In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It's wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.

In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she's the only one who can make a difference.

In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she's terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.

In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves... before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.

Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.

367 pages, Hardcover

First published June 1, 2021

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Rachel Griffin

3 books1,532 followers
Rachel Griffin writes young adult novels inspired by the magic of the world around her. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Nature of Witches, Wild is the Witch, and the forthcoming Bring Me Your Midnight, releasing from Sourcebooks Fire in summer 2023.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Rachel has a deep love of nature, from the mountains to the ocean and all the towering evergreens in between. She adores moody skies and thunderstorms, and hopes more vampires settle down in her beloved state of Washington.

On her path to writing novels, Rachel graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Science in diagnostic ultrasound. She worked in healthcare for five years and taught ultrasound at her alma mater before making the switch to a small startup. She now writes full-time from her home in the Seattle area.

When she isn’t writing, you can find her wandering the PNW, reading by the fire, or drinking copious amounts of coffee and tea. She lives with her husband, small dog, and growing collection of houseplants.

Rachel is represented by Pete Knapp of Park & Fine Literary and Media. You can find her on Instagram @TimesNewRachel.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4,672 (28%)
4 stars
6,194 (37%)
3 stars
4,223 (25%)
2 stars
1,159 (7%)
1 star
199 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,539 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,203 reviews40.8k followers
March 8, 2022
I loved the unique mechanism of Magic’s working around the witches!
I loved the air pollution, climate change messages of the story!
I loved the Hogwarts school of magic for witches premise meets Practical Magic books with sweet, romantic vibes and resemblances of Jan De Bont’s terrifying Twister movie scenes !

I loved Clara even though I found her too stubborn and I pissed off the way of her never stopping self pitying!

I loved badass, loyal friend Paige!

But I mostly loved the charming, sweetest botanist who melt our hearts with his genuineness! Yes, Sang was amazing. At some parts I thought Clara didn’t deserve him! Didn’t she act so paranoid around him when only thing he did was treating her so kindly! Anyway this Korean, romantic botanist who can whisper to the flowers stole my heart!!!

After seeing mesmerizing cover, I knew I would truly fall hard for this book!

I can hear you may ask me what this is about if you are too lazy to read the blurb. Don’t worry, I’d love to talk more about the story line. Here we go:
An ecological, thought provoking, unconventional fantasy with witches who have their unique abilities based on each season’s strengths and weaknesses and an Ever Witch who holds the powers of entire seasons who needs to learn controlling them without hurting her loved ones, not making the same mistakes again!

17 years old Clara is the Everwitch whose magic tied at every season. When the autumn’s equinox comes, she forgets her feelings about someone she truly cared before. She’s evolving, changing. And her past traumas which lasted the death of her family and her close friend Nikki forces her to put barriers between her and other people.

She’s still suffering with guilt feelings, pain to lose loved ones. She’s afraid of channeling her real power even though she is forced by her instructors, she keeps holding herself back!

But as an ecological disaster starts to raise and the witches’ population at the risk of extinction, she’s the last one who can solve the problem and brings the balance nature needs for healing!

She’s paired with botanist Sang who is spring witch, can soothe her fiery nature down and help her fulfill her potential. But as they practice more, Clara not only learns to put her guard down, using her magic with its full potential, she also lowers down her emotional barriers and not only their powers merge, but their hearts crush and fall for each other!

Now Clara faces her most excruciating dilemma: she can strip down her powers at eclipse to chase her HEA with Sang or she can leave him not to put his life in danger and resumes her plan to save the lives of witches!
But there must be other way! She can save lives and she can be with her love of her life. But how!? What if she kills Sang as like she’d done to her parents, her friend Nikki.

Overall: a quick, gripping, lovely fantasy with amazing hero and tolerable heroine and unique depictions which remind us of real power and beauty of each season earned my five equinox, witchy, conjuring, eclipse stars!

Special thanks to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.6k followers
March 14, 2021
im definitely going to be in the minority of readers with my opinions on this book. so if you are anticipating this, you may want to ignore this review.

but for what its worth, i did try to enjoy this. magical witches connected to a season and weather is a really interesting concept. but urban fantasy is not my genre, so i cant help but feel that this story could have improved had it been true fantasy. setting this in modern day america threw me off and gave the story a vibe i thought was odd. i understand that this serves as a message regarding climate change, which is applicable to today, but i think that message could have been just as effective without it being urban fantasy.

also, the MC really started to get on my nerves. there are a couple of characters who call her out on her bratty behaviour, so i appreciated that, but man. i wanted to strangle her throughout most of the book and homicidal thoughts are never a good sign.

so maybe i just wasnt invested in this from the beginning. i think the idea and message is actually really cool, but i unfortunately just didnt quite like the execution of it.

thanks sourcebooks fire for the ARC - sorry i didnt enjoy it more. :/

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction).
453 reviews6,969 followers
September 1, 2021
This one was really fun and I absolutely FLEW through it! I adore elemental magic, and I feel like this is one of the best instances I’ve seen of it. I had no trouble believing everyone relies on the world and it’s seasons or their magic, and their struggles made complete sense to me. But it was also a cute story of someone allowing themselves to be loved, to have confidence in your own ability without it coming naturally to you, and I really appreciated seeing the process of our main character working through her own mental blockages.

I do think this had moments of becoming a bit repetitive (especially in the first 70 pages) - it seemed as if the author really wanted to get three points across, but didn’t quite trust the audience to understand the severity of them. But we did eventually move on and that alleviated, sinking into a story I crashed my way through no problem.

Overall a really enjoyable read, and one I’m glad I picked up on a whim!
Profile Image for Debra .
2,293 reviews35k followers
May 29, 2021
"When the only thing left is your magic when that's all you have to rely on, you'll learn to respect it."

Clara is a unique witch. Most witches’ powers are tied to one season, and they use their powers to maintain the climate. But Clara is an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season. With every season, Clara changes.... Read to find out how (or read the blurb!)

There are many things addressed in this book which make it so much more enjoyable. I loved the unique take on witches and their abilities. I also loved how Clara, struggles with her power, with harnessing it, with using it, and the fearing the consequences of it. she has lost those who matter to her, and she worries about what will happen if she loses control. She is attending a school in Pennsylvania with other witches learning about their power, their magic and themselves. She has support, but she also has doubt.

I am not a big fan of fantasy but this one won me over. I enjoy books on witches, and this was a fresh and unique take on magic.

This book also looks at climate change, friendship, romance, and acceptance.

This is a magical and unique YA read!

Plus, that cover!

Thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com
Profile Image for ♥Milica♥.
894 reviews258 followers
June 16, 2021
DNF @ 30%

I don't dnf books. I push through no matter what, but for this one I don't have the patience (or the time) to waste on something I dislike so much.

The cover is beautiful and the blurb interesting so I was excited to read it. And there was something "eh" right from the start. It's partially the worldbuilding, partially the storyline and partially the characters. The writing style isn't helping much either.

It's set in Pennsylvania, but the way it was done didn't really work for me. It's a magical academy and I didn't get any magical vibes from it.

There's a chosen one trope and said chosen one is annoying. Clara's best friend was killed by her haywire magic which we learn immediately at the beginning and it keeps getting repeated over and over again. I tried to like her and the other characters, but the only one worth anything is Nox aka the cat.

The writing style is very monotone. Big storm? Might as well have been a summer breeze for all I felt (or rather didn't feel) while reading. It failed to keep me interested in the story.

There is one good thing though, and that's the lore and the magic. It's different from things seen before. For example witches are born on the Solstice or the Equinox, but Clara is an Everwitch (despite her autumn birth) and she's affected by all four season changes.

I may not like the changes, but they bring something new to the witch book table.

And there's also lgbt rep, Clara is bisexual I believe? We see her liking both genders and she's been in a relationship with a girl before.

So those two reasons mentioned above, plus the fact that I didn't finish the book (for all I know it might get better in the second or final third) is why I gave it two stars instead of one.
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews169k followers
December 31, 2022
I put this one off for so long and I'm so mad that I did, because it was wonderful! I loved the authors style of writing and the structure of the story was so nice. It takes place over varying seasons and our main character is heavily influenced by the change that comes with each season. It was an interesting take on climate change and I loved seeing it be explored with magic involved. I definitely want to check out more books by this author!
Profile Image for Steph ✨.
217 reviews1,046 followers
August 30, 2021
A new favourite book.
I'm unsure if it's my favourite book of the year just yet but definitely my second if not.
I adored everything about this, the characters, the writing style, the atmosphere, the intrigue. Just everything about it was phenomenal.
I loved the message of global warming weaved through as well as the magical and fantastical elements. This book did so much for me. I laughed, I cried, I wrote all over the pages, and bought a second copy so I have a none annotated copy.
Just obsessed. Highly recommend 😍
Profile Image for RP.
174 reviews16 followers
May 13, 2021
Execution: 2/5
Enjoyment: 1/5
Final rating: 1.5/5 (rounded up)

I'm sorry but this was probably one of the most boring books I've ever read. Even the moments of conflict were dull. This was partly due to the pacing; the book opens up with a conflict and then nothing happens for the next 40% of the book. In the meantime, you get lots of mundane descriptions and Clara's wordy and extensive inner musings. The writing style is dry and very wordy. While the magic system and overall premise of the story is really interesting (seasonal magic and climate change! I was so excited to pick up this book!), the worldbuilding really falls flat. More time is spent on descriptions and explanations than on intertwining the concepts with the story. The overarching issue of climate change is skimmed over in favor of Clara's internal struggles. Unfortunately, this is a character driven story with an incredibly unlikable and annoying protagonist. Clara is frustratingly stubborn and antagonistic, and while her reluctance is understandable, much of the book is dedicated to it and it prevents the story from moving along. If the first 40% of the book had been condensed into a few short chapters, perhaps this would've made the entire experience more enjoyable but I just found myself rolling my eyes and desperately wanting to DNF instead. Every time Clara takes a step forward in her training, something happens immediately after that causes her to take another step back, and we end up moving at a snail's pace until the final resolution at the ~85% mark which is passed over in half a chapter. Nothing there is ever explained. Suddenly, everything is ok, and the book wraps up with a cheesy finale that feels like the end of a Hallmark movie. Additionally, Clara's relationship with the other characters is very shallow. I was the most intrigued by her relationship with Paige, which is muddy and messy, but the main romance between Clara and Sang felt very cheesy and there was no chemistry between the two of them other than forced proximity.

Overall, interesting concept and description but slow pacing and unlikable characters make it a hard pass for me.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Christina Loeffler.
135 reviews17.3k followers
December 15, 2021
5, Griffin proves you don't need big twists or gasping moments to create a captivating, compelling and spell-binding story stars!!

Maybe this will be the end of a book slump that seems never ending...maybe not. Either way The Nature of Witches was an absolute delight to read. I don't know about other readers but it just tickles me to no end when an author's debut novel is an absolute knock-out and that is definitely the case for Rachel Griffin.

Clara Densmore is an Everwitch. In a world where witches are born to perform atmospheric saving magic tied a specific season, Clara can wield her magic in spring, summer, autumn and winter. The first Everwitch born in many generations, the weight of the world quite literally is resting on her shoulders. As the climate and earth descend further into chaos due to human (called shaders) maltreatment of the world both shader and witch share, Clara is heralded as the last line of defense.

Being an Ever feels like my body is made of heavy gears instead of organs. Each change in season makes the gears grind and move, winding my insides tighter and tighter. By the time the gears settle in their new positions and relief floods me, the season changes again, and I change with it. I ache for consistency and routine. Normalcy and quiet. I ache to be understood.

What is it they always say? Oh yes, "with great power, comes great responsibility". For Clara, that responsibility is the lives of her loved ones. Clara's magic is tied to her emotions, it's tied to her love and her trust and it seeks out those closest to her. Still reeling from the death of her parents and her best friend Nikki, Clara has learned not only to fear her magic but to lock it away and to hate not only it, but herself.

As things go from bad to worse and natural disasters (although, can you call human-caused disasters "natural") increase in frequency and severity the pressures on Clara continue to mount. Through summer, autumn, winter and spring we watch as Clara grapples with a power she never asked for and never wanted. A power that has great and terrible consequences and a love that could shatter everything Clara holds dear. Clara grows and as she changes with the seasons, we the reader, get to change and grow along with her. But is growing enough, when the cost of saving the world is tied to the taking of the lives you hold most dear?

You're allowed to love yourself.

Oh man. Oh man, oh man, oh man. This book left me absolutely charmed. I love a good thriller, mystery, hard hitting romance, fantasy novel or page turner as much as the next reader but what's really captivating here is Griffin's ability to create a truly spell-binding read without falling into any "got-cha" tropes. I was enchanted by the atmospheric magic, the character driven story and the underlying message of climate change and the importance of nature. I've said it a million times and I'm sure I'll say it a million more but I love when an author can create characters out of elements of a story you'd least expect. In The Nature of Witches each season functions as its own character. They each have their own elements and characteristics, each special and beautiful in their own way and there was a thrill in moving through each section of the novel to learn about each of these pieces of the story.

Winter is the truest of the seasons. It's what remains after everything else is stripped away. The leaves fall. The colors fade. The branches get brittle. And if you can love the earth, understand it when all the beauty is gone and see it for what it is, that's magic.

While this novel is billed as YA it defies all the traditional YA tropes that make older readers tend to shy away from them. There's no teen angst, there's none of the frivolousness that comes with youthful romance. The romantic subplot is gentle, sweet and as I said before - utterly charming. The pain, suffering and questioning Clara feels is grounded in reality and in problems even an adult would struggle with. The magic building and unique mechanisms of the magical structure within the novel were handled beautifully. "Urban fantasy" isn't generally my favorite genre but don't let that scare you away because the only real setting here is the private school Clara attends so it's more of a Hogwarts-y vibe than anything.

You are the most magnificently disruptive thing that's ever entered my life.

Overall, I adored every line and every page of this book. For those who love stories with meaning, that are heartfelt and heartbreaking at the same time I'd highly suggest this book. By the end, you could find me cuddled up on my couch, under a cozy blanket with a mug of tea crying to my dogs about how much I loved Clara's story. I'm highly looking forward to seeing what Griffin does next because this novel proves she's got what it takes.
Profile Image for Kelsi.
126 reviews58 followers
May 4, 2022
I’m not sure why I loved this book so much, but I did. It’s definitely character driven, as the plot truly doesn’t have any twists or “wow moments” to write home about. There was a bit too much romance and not enough magic for this to be a five star read, but I was absolutely enthralled with the world-building, magic system and complex relationships. I’ll definitely be reading more of Rachel Griffin!
Profile Image for alex (hiatus).
259 reviews152 followers
August 15, 2021
~before review~

THAT COVER!!!! it’s so pretty 🤩

~after review~

definitely not as good as i thought it would be
Profile Image for Rachel Solomon.
Author 12 books5,662 followers
November 24, 2020
I adored this contemporary fantasy with a unique magic system, stunning writing, and a sweet botanist boy love interest.
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 82 books16.9k followers
September 8, 2021
I really enjoyed this book! As an ex-meteorologist I could appreciate the weather and climate references and loved how the witches help control the weather. It was a definitely a dig at the shaders (those without magic) who had done the damage to the climate - sound familiar? But it wasn't preachy or about a doomsday scenario.

It was about an Ever witch - one who's magic isn't tied to one season, but linked to them all. She's one of a kind and is sorely needed as rogue storms, floods, and droughts are becoming alarmingly more frequent (sound familiar?). Except she doesn't know how to control her magic and when she tries to use it, people die! So lots of drama, but also lots of references to plants and now I want to plant a garden! LOL!

And I have to mention that the book itself - underneath the dust jacket - it's so pretty! It has flowers and butterflies and I think it's nicer than the cover art! I always take off the dust jacket when I read a book to keep it in good condition. Does anyone else do this?

My quibble with this book is
Profile Image for Sara L..
262 reviews70 followers
May 16, 2021

"Just remember: the choices you make today will be felt by who you have yet to become."

Clara is a seventeen-year-old who is special. She is an Everwitch. Which means her magic is tied to all four seasons. She is the first Everwitch to appear in almost 200 years so it's a relief when she arrives. But being an Everwitch has its struggles. She has to go through each season while changing and becoming a different person. So she has a personality type for each season. She is forced to evolve and change and move forward but she still remembers her past traumas, with the death of her parents and her best friend Nicki, Clara can't afford to get close to anyone emotionally. So she is moved to a Cabin in the Woods where she can't hurt anyone.
As an Ecological disaster starts to get out of hand, Clara is forced to get out of her comfort zone and use her powers, but she needs training if she's going to be able to save the world.
So she is paired with botanist Sang who is a spring witch and can soothe her worries while training her. But Clara finds herself starting to get attached to Sang, and the last time she had done that - she had killed 3 people.
While still grieving and suffering the loss of her loved ones, Clara can not let this Ecological disaster kill anymore witches so she trains with Sang and develops her magic to the fullest. She starts to let her guard down and trust Sang but getting emotionally attached with him will end bad + she has been planing on stripping herself of magic when the Eclipse arrives. So Clara is left with the ultimate decision. Will she forever live without magic and never have to hurt anyone again while letting other witches die? Or will she take up the duty that has caused her so much pain and loss while risking the people she loves to save the entire world from the ecological situation?

Yeah... theirs a lot going on.

Surprisingly enough, not annoying. I thought she would be an annoying Character to follow but that honestly wasn't the case. Clara was so realistic. The way she tries to isolate herself so she wouldn't hurt anyone and the way she's so honest with herself. It's beautiful! What's also beautiful is seeing her struggle but still be herself. While changing through the seasons she was still true to herself.

Sang is a really warm and sweet Character that I adore and can't wait to see more of! (Will we?) I loved how protective he is of Clara! Also, the way he can be both careful and careless at the same time!!!! His love for Plants and Nature really brought out that environmentalist in me to protect what we have because we never realize how much we have until it's gone ;)

Yessss! This gurl is puuurfect. She's badass, loyal and SO FREAKING hot. I just love her. That's all I'm gonna say.

The Seasons
This book makes me appreciate each and every season even though I'm not a big fan of Summer. ☀️ This book brought out both the good and the bad in all the seasons and that was really nice to see. Also, I loved seeing how they were all connected and had a part to play in keeping the world sane and orderly.

The writing wasn't my favorite part of the book. In fact, it was the worst BUT the book did make up for that with the plot and great characters so... I'm not complaining.

Confusing things...(bear with me cause these are quite a few)

What is the connection between humans and witches? / What's up with the humans?
So in this world witches rely on humans and humans rely on witches. But what is their CONNECTION. We get that they need each other but do they like each other? And since when do ALL the humans know about witches? Ok...I get that this is a fictional world and the author can do whatever but it at least has to be realistic. I don't understand how everyone could just be ok with the Witches...I don't mean to break the fun but humans are ✨ complicated ✨. There would be some dumb people who are against the witches even though they are literally saving their lives every day.

If Clara's behavior is supposed to be changing every season, isn't it supposed to be more obvious?
We're in Clara's head but it doesn't feel like she's changing and becoming a different person every season. Other people that know Clara point out that's she's so different from last season's Clara but I don't see any difference.

I was also really confused with the little Epigraph we got at the beginning of each chapter because they were so beautiful and I kept searching "A Season for Everything" on Google and I didn't get where the author got the quotes!! But all those quotes tied up for a precious surprise at the end which is always lovely.

Overall this book made me CRY. It is a beautiful addition to my nature books and will always hold a place in my heart.

"Women are discouraged from being direct and saying what we think. That's why I love winter: It taught me to stand up for myself when the rest of the world is happy to walk over me."

Thank you Sourcebooksfire for an Advance Readers Copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for abigailscupoftea.
138 reviews1,643 followers
October 28, 2021
i found the plot to be a little repetitive and i had a hard time connecting with the main character, but there were still so many reasons why i loved this book. i loved the rich descriptions of each season, i loved nox, i loved mr. hart, i loved how the four different types of witches reminded me of the four hogwarts houses, and most of all, i loved sang park. he is such a hufflepuff. 🥲

reasons sang park is a hufflepuff:
he is a spring witch
he is compassionate, kind, patient, & gentle
his magic flows on a current of calm
he smells like black tea & honey 🍯
he loves flowers & botanical illustrations 🌷
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,563 reviews2,312 followers
May 30, 2021
The Nature of Witches
by Rachel Griffin

I first want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this incredible story! Wow, I can picture this on the big screen! It would be amazing!

This is a world where witches help control the weather and other disasters that the regular people (Shadows) have messed up. (Pollution, global warming, deforestation, etc.)
The witches are each born on an equinox and that is their season they are strongest in. It's been over a hundred years since there has been an Ever, one that has the super power of all four seasons.

Clara is that Ever. But she also has to find a way to control it. She killed her parents when she was just five and her friend at school while practicing. Witches are dying at an incredible rate trying to do this massive job without an Ever. But she is scared she might kill someone if she lets her power go again.

There are a lot of small but important side things going on and at times. But I want Clara to zap the heck out of one of the teachers! He is so mean!

There is a romantic element too. Sang is a botany student who came to do advanced studies with the mean teacher. But he has to teach Clara instead. They develop a bond but it's complicated and sad and wonderful at the same time.

It's a teen/young adult book but without a lot of the typical angst. Lots of great fantasy, magic, friendship development, learning to trust yourself and others, and that touch of sweet romance. I really enjoyed it and I don't normally like young adult or teen books. The only teen angst in here is a witch that doesn't want to kill anyone else. I'd say that's an okay angst to have!

Love the characters, (except one teacher, lol), wonderful world building, realistic dialogue, and terrific ending! I want to see it on the big screen!!!
Profile Image for lisa (lh44's version).
150 reviews556 followers
November 15, 2022
I originally don't know how to rate this because The Nature of Witches failed me as a fantasy but the romance and the character arc can't get anything less than a 3.75/5 rounded-up.

The worldbuilding
I was promised a contemporary low fantasy and I got that, but not in the way I wanted. The mix between the technological, modern human world and the natural witchy world didn't work for me. The fact that a witch pulls out a smartphone to order an evacuation just itches me a lot.
The magic system, in concept, is extraordinary. The execution, however, is quite underdeveloped as I have some questions concerning their powers (where did it come from? Do the witches just...get it randomly, or are there other factors?) However, I understand that this is a 400-pages-standalone and the author cannot write 200 pages of exposition, but it might be interesting to see some insight into the magic system.

The plot/action
I can't honestly tell you what happened in the book because everything was very fast paced, to the point that there is this one scene where Clara finally uses fully her powers, and all we got is one and a half pages of action. Talking about powers that can cause havoc in nature. Overall, I would say that the action in this book is very underdeveloped, and it could have been written better.

The characters, and more specifically, Clara
Action and world-building aside, what really makes this book good are the characters and their relationship with each other. If we see this as Clara's story, it's a beautiful story of self-discovery and regaining confidence. The exploration of strengths and hope warmed my heart. I am happy that Clara found her way with the help of other people, who she both likes and doesn't like. I also appreciate the fact that Rachel Griffin decided to make some characters call out Clara's selfish behavior, as I view it as a way Clara learned to grow. I adore romance (despite the forced proximity out of nowhere) because Sang is an angel and he deserves the world. Their romance makes my heart ache because it reminds me of my most beloved OCs and I am satisfied with the ending. Clara's sapphic relationship and her friendship with her best friends are incredibly realistic in my opinion.

Overall, I enjoyed this book because of its quickness and the characters. I look forwards to what Rachel Griffin is going to put out next.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
428 reviews184 followers
September 21, 2021
The Nature of Witches offers a novel explanation for extreme weather events: they're happening because the witches can no longer suppress them. Oh, and humans are being stupid and causing climate change, which causes the extreme weather that even witches can't undo. Too bad only one of those things is fiction.

This was a bit of an uneven read for me. Loved the premise: witches have magic based on the season in which they're born, so spring magic is gentle and grows things and winter magic is cold and aggressive and so on. Clara Densmore is a once-in-a-century everwitch whose magic changes with every season. She has the potential to be a great force for good, but her magic is too strong, seeking out and killing the ones she loves best. It's cost Clara her parents and her best friend and maybe any chance of ever being close to anyone.

I loved the seasonality of this book - I am finely attuned to the seasons because of my job (and yes, California has seasons; they're just subtle), and I started this book exactly at the point it opens - the last few days of summer, shading into fall. In my woods, summers end with cool, damp mornings, the smell of late-flowering tarweeds, a blaze of red from poison oak - and in the last few years, smoke from distant wildfires. Author Rachel Griffin feels seasons keenly, and she describes them rather nicely, too:
Winter is the truest of the seasons. It's what remains after everything else is stripped away. The leaves fall. The colors fade. The branches get brittle. And if you can love the earth, understand it when all the beauty is gone and see it for what it is, that's magic.

Winters are more straightforward than anyone else. We don't soften ourselves with indirectness or white lies or fake niceties. What you see is what you get. And winter is good to those who respect it.

I also appreciated that the love interest Sang is a) Asian (Korean-American); b) a botanist; and c) a genuinely nice, supportive, and refreshingly non-alpha good guy. The botany is a bit shit, though. There's a made-up flower that is a transparent metaphor (good luck trying to explain how evolution resulted in a flower that only opens when soaked in honey and water). Sang does more flower arranging and herblore than actual botany, and his big research project . But I loved how they communicate via flowers, and I was rooting for them as a couple.

But. SO MUCH ANGST. There's no teenage angst like that of a girl who's accidentally killed her parents and fears she may never love or be loved. Clara's self-hate and fear extend through at least the first 3/4 of the book, and while it's understandable, it can be hard to slog through. At least she's not angsty about her sexuality - Clara has relationships with people of both sexes without ever labeling herself, judging, or being judged, and the relationships are convincingly real, including the failed ones.

This being YA, the adults are mostly either manipulative or useless, and the climax is a bit underwhelming ().

I think I'm a bit too, uh, winter for the emotional rollercoaster-y YA-ness of it all, but I enjoyed The Nature of Witches more than I expected to, and I might be up for another outing with Rachel Griffin.
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,421 followers
May 11, 2021
Witches, united with the changing seasons, control the Earth's climate. Over a century has passed since the last witch was born who could connect with all four seasons. However, Clara is one such witch. She has been born in a time when humans have overwhelmed and overpopulated the world and the witches are at the brink of their magical abilities in attempting to control the inclement weather that has risen in the wake of it. Clara could be the witch to unite all others and control it. Or she could be the cause of everyone's destruction. Her powers have already resulted in the death of those she loves, and the distance of all others she could grow to love,so unless she can harness the storm inside of her it will very likely be the latter.

Fantasy stories in a contemporary setting rarely interest me but I absolutely adored this unique concept and was eager to give this one a go. I was very impressed by both the introduction and execution of it. Just how the witches harnessed the weather was endlessly interesting to read about and I appreciated the focus on the natural world that also featured as a result of this. The book followed all four seasons and the distinct aesthetic of each was aptly recorded. I felt winter's chill just as keenly as the sweltering summer heat and this author's ability to record our ever-altering world was felt more than it was read.

An aspect I appreciated far less however was the romantic focus that just as frequently dogged the pages. I felt little chemistry between Clara and her intended and so little inclination to read about their burgeoning attraction for one another.

Despite this, I remained engaged and intrigued throughout. Clara was a strong protagonist and witnessing her growth, in both person and abilities, was a true joy.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Rachel Griffin, and the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, for this opportunity.
Profile Image for Melina Souza.
357 reviews1,860 followers
January 25, 2022
Uma leitura rápida e interessante. Gostei bastante do fato de abordar a mudança climática e como nós ficamos adiando nossa preocupação com os estragos que estamos fazendo há anos no mundo.
Profile Image for Joana ♡.
245 reviews508 followers
October 14, 2021
The perfect novel for a smooth transition to the Autumn season.

What I enjoyed:
- the inclusion/discussions around the topic of climate change
- how fun & easy it was to grasp the world (fantasy beginners this one is for you)
- Magic school setting
- Elemental magic

What I didn’t like:
- there were no stakes
- the MC was quite irritating
- WARNING: get ready to cringe. Some lines are just 😬✋🏻
- The ending - the author missed a great opportunity to further her message regarding climate change. i love a happy ending but this one was too neat

In conclusion, I was living for the concept. The execution was a bit meh for my taste but I’m excited to see what the author does in the future, being this her debut.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,049 reviews3,459 followers
May 11, 2022
This was a perfectly good contemporary YA fantasy, although beyond the admittedly cool magic concept, it didn't really stand out for me. It's books like this that reinforce my choice to be much more selective about the YA I pick up. Not because it's bad, but because I think I'm just not the right audience for it anymore and a lot of it starts to feel similar after awhile.

The magic was interesting, if a little on the nose at times. But the idea of dealing with climate change as an effect of waning magic is a novel one. Otherwise this is kind of your typical teen coming of age story, except with magic- overcoming past trauma to let people in again, learning to embrace who you really are, learning that you really do need people, falling in love, some angst and melodrama.... That's basically it and it's done reasonably well. The main character is casually bisexual though that piece of her identity doesn't have a huge impact other than a not-quite love triangle including her ex-girlfriend. I didn't have strong feelings about the main character either way.

If this is the sort of book you're into at the moment, it's worth a look. It's competently written and a solid debut for the genre. If you're hoping for a YA book with unusual depth and nuance in terms of themes or characterization, that's not what you're going to get here. And that's okay! Not everything needs to be like that, it's just a matter of matching to the right audience.
Profile Image for Brittany (whatbritreads).
586 reviews1,055 followers
June 26, 2021
*Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me a copy of this for review!*

I found this book so engaging, I literally flew through it so quickly. It was so easy to read and pretty addicting, the pacing was on point and there was never a boring or slow moment. Being a fantasy, fast pacing can sometimes feel really intimidating but this book was so gentle and easy to understand. There was no info-dumping, and it had a slow build up to ease you in. It made perfect sense. I really enjoyed the magic system here and how it was elemental. It’s something I’ve never really read about before, but I really liked it and thought it was really cool. Not only is the book physically stunning, but the writing was pretty and overall it was just brilliantly executed.

Though I liked the romance (it was ridiculously cute and made perfect sense) it did feel rushed to me. Don’t get me wrong, I completed ADORED our love interest, he was the sweetest boy who just wanted two things: his little flower garden, and Clara. It was ridiculous wholesome and made me smile multiple times. Also, a surprise bi protagonist? Say no more, I love her. I just wish this element was dragged out a bit more, one thing that really doesn’t work for me in books is hearing ‘I love you’ super quickly into their relationship, it just dampens it a bit for me. I still love them though, they were very cute. Also, having said this, I feel like because it took more of a romance approach, the friendships in the book were neglected and there was amazing opportunity for an arc there. While it was superficially explored, there were barely any scenes between Clara and her old best friend and I didn’t feel any sort of closure or satisfaction from the exploration of their relationship which was a shame.

I really liked the climate element of this book – I just really wish it was more than just surface level. While there was some discussion about climate change and how humans are destroying the earth through our actions, it felt very weak considering it’s a massive selling point of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I think the inclusion of it anyway was very seamless and added more dimension to the narrative, but there was an opportunity for more here and I felt like it was wasted.

If you like witches and flowers and bi girls who can do very powerful magic, this is such a fun and quick read.
Profile Image for Shauni .
289 reviews236 followers
June 6, 2021
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was such a unique book. It has a different take on the theme of witches that I found refreshing. The plot is centered on the changing seasons, with each witch's magic being tied to one of the four seasons. But once every hundred or so years, a witch is born with magic tied to all four seasons. Clara is one of those. More powerful than other witches, yet she hates her magic and wants nothing to do with learning more about it.

When disaster strikes, Clara is faced with embracing her magic or losing everything she loves. This book's message of accepting and learning to love who you are is beautiful and needed. I really enjoyed the nature and floral theme throughout the story. Sang was such a sweetie and Paige had the fire that Clara needed in her moments of self-doubt.

I did feel that there were parts that could have flowed smoother, specifically the passage of time as the book progressed. While the changing seasons are the main focus of the story, I often thought that the transition from one season to another was a little disjointed and confusing. Regardless, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. With a unique magic system, a sweet love story and a beautiful message, it was a delightful reading experience
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,539 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.