Cover Image: Wild Is the Witch

Wild Is the Witch

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Member Reviews

Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.

I love Rachel Griffin because she takes magic and witches and effortlessly weaves them into the modern-day world, tackling subjects like climate change and conservation. I love that her stories take place in my home part of the U.S.–the PNW.

Our heroine Iris is a witch who had to flee her home with her mom after her best friend turned a boy into a mage, killing him. She has a lot of trauma from this experience and lives with a lot of anxiety and fear. Her mom and her run an animal sanctuary and employ Pike, a college student studying birds. Pike is SO annoying, he is mean and snarky and literally just makes everything for Iris worse and harder. He is very aware that he makes things hard on her and he doesn't care. So she writes a curse, never intending to use it, and is ready to burn it when a rescued owl swoops in and takes it and flies away.

Thus starts Iris and Pike's journey to rescue the bird, undo the curse and return home. They have to camp and hike in the woods and spend a lot of time together. They slowly start to learn more about each other and their opinions about the other person chance. Honestly, this was done rather quickly to be believable. It is believable that Pike had a crush on Iris from the beginning and was mean to her because of it and he likes the attention. It is less believable that Iris would forgive him for his actions that quickly, especially because he's still an asshole to her on their trip. So not fully shipping them.

Pike hates witches so when he finds out Iris is a witch and she accidentally cursed him he freaks out and says a lot of mean things and runs away. Iris is trying to save the bird and take back the cruse but she doesn't know enough about the curse or have enough power to realistically do both. It was heartbreaking reading about the owl dying, I do wish the author had avoided this although I understand why she chose to do it. Pike agrees to let Iris bind the curse to him and turn him into a mage. He's almost overcome with power and flame but he pushes it to Iris, nearly killing her.

Of course help arrives and they are both saved. The Witches Council goes easy on her, recognizing that she tried her best to stop it from happening. Pike forgives her and she will help him use his magic. And then they return to the animal sanctuary and Iris realizes the ghost of the bird is back and bound to Pike.

Anyway, the way the animals and magic is described is beautiful. The obvious message about preserving and protecting our animal friends is respected and needed in today's world.
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This is my first time reading a book by Rachel Griffin and I absolutely LOVE her writing style! This story was so beautiful. Simple and uncomplicated in that it didn’t need a lot of distractions or plot twists to drive it forward. I couldn’t put this down because I was completely engrossed in the world and the characters and didn’t want to leave them for even a second. I’ve already preordered my copy and can’t wait to read it again!!
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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARK of Wild is the Witch in exchange for my honest review! 

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Wild is the Witch is the second novel I have read by this author the first being the Nature of Witches. Similar to her debate novel this YA fantasy is a well written delight that is perfect for fantasy lovers and includes an enemies to lovers aspect. Iris finds herself forced to work with her enemy and romantic rival Pike to save the world from herself. The book was well paced and overall I would highly recommend!!
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Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin


P320 ages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: August 2, 2022

Fiction, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Teens, Young Adult, Adventure, Romance, Magic, Witches, Spells, Curses

Iris Gray is a Lunar Witch and works with animals. Stellar Witches use their magic on humans and Solar Witches use their magic on the earth. Iris’ friend, Amy used her magic to try and turn her human boyfriend into a witch, but the power was too much for him and he burned to death. After the incident, Amy was stripped of her magic and sent to prison for the unlawful use of magic. Iris and her mother moved away for a fresh start to the Pacific Northwest and established a wildlife sanctuary.

Pike is a summer intern working at the sanctuary while studying ornithology. He is lazy and always pushing his work choses onto Iris. After a long day, Iris finds out Pike set her up to clean the sloths cage again and he is angry. When she is done and goes home, she creates a curse and intends to bind it to the herbs like her grandmother taught her. Something goes wrong and an owl intercepts the curse instead and flies away. Iris must do everything and anything to remove the curse from the owl. If the owl dies, the curse would be released onto Pike and everyone near him.

The story is fast paced and takes place over the course of a few days. The characters are developed, and it is written in the first-person point of view. I really enjoyed this story and the fact that magic is recognized, and witches are accepted. This is an excellent example of think before you act because of the consequences. If you enjoy young adult sci fi fantasy books, you will enjoy this one.
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Fast moving, twisty story, relatable heroine and reluctant relationships? Yes please! I will definitely read more by this author.
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I loved this book. It broke my heart, but then pieced it back together in the best way. A story that shares the difficulties of being judged for what you are and not being accepted so having to hide your true self.
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This book was so refreshing! I loved the characters, especially Pike and his wit and humor. I also liked the magic and how it worked within a contemporary setting. I flew through this book and loved every second of it. Highly recommend for anyone that loves witches, curses, animals and the Pacific Northwest!

Thank you Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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Let me start by saying that I absolutely adored the academic rivals (-ish?) to lovers dynamic between Iris and Pike. I really enjoyed their banter and the romance. I think this book has a very unique take on witches. However, the plot was very simple and I wish it was more fleshed out. There was very little world building and not enough explanation of the magic system. I would have loved to see more of the world and how witches work together with non-magical  people. Throughout the book we get to see how Iris’s past affects her decisions and makes her more anxious, cynical and scared. But I would have loved to see some other aspects of her past have some role in the actual plot (such as Amy or Cassandra bring some how involved in the plot, more involvement from the council, her dad etc). I also think this book could have been much shorter. While a part of me was getting anxious about the whole curse situation, I was also feeling a lack of the sense of urgency within the characters. 

Overall, while I enjoyed the romance, the plot fell short for me and I wish it was more developed.
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Wild is the Witch is set in the Pacific Northwest, the perfect place for an atmospheric novel about witchery and its connection with the Earth. It is a genre-blending confection that pulls off a young adult enemies-to-lovers trope well. Both the protagonist (Iris) and her romantic interest (Pike) are flawed and hurt. They turn to each other—eventually—to find a solution and heal. This is a story about Iris’s quest to deactivate the curse she inadvertently places on Pike. Their emotions and relationship seem real as they learn to move forward and toward each other and deal with their pain. There is some mild sexual interest but no consummation, so this is a safe book for younger YA readers.
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Honestly, I really liked this book. I've never read anything by Rachel Griffin before, but this was a pretty nice intro to her writing and her world of low-fantasy witches.

I truly adored the magic system in this story, because it basically consisted of working in harmony with nature and harnessing energy that's already there. It came very close to my personal beliefs about the way the world works, and it's always refreshing to feel seen in that way. I also liked the fact that the witches were an accepted part of modern society. Like, they show up on the news, and they work alongside non-magical humans, and nobody's trying to burn them at the stake, which was really cool to me.

I also enjoyed the characterizations. Iris doesn't feel like a cardboard cutout character. She's anxious and worried a lot of the time, but isn't much of a doormat, which I appreciated. She calls Pike out on his crap in a cool, levelheaded way and doesn't often make stupid decisions for the sake of the plot.

Pike was adorkable and irritating as a person, not as a character. He made me want to jump into the book and strangle him sometimes because of how obnoxious and inconsiderate he could be, but at the same time, observing his obvious crush on Iris from the very beginning was kind of cute.

All in all, this was a really heartwarming story about nature, forgiveness, and the importance of knowing that it's okay to trust other people sometimes. I would definitely recommend!
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trigger warning
<spoiler> trauma, ptsd, anxiety, grief, animal death, mention of death by fire </spoiler>

Iris Gray accidentally casts a curse and has to find the owl tied to it - accompanied by the guy who hates witches so much it frightens her.

In this world, magic is everywhere, and people who can sense and manipulare it are called witches. It is pubicly known that they exist, but not every witch may chose to announce their abilities. 
Iris and her mom live a quiet life running a wildlife rescue center and using their magic to help the animals.

While in The Nature of Witches the magic wielders were sorted by season, in here we have Lunar, Stellar and Solar witches, depending on whether their magic is stronged on animals, humans or items. If both books are set in different worlds or not is not talked about, which bummed me a bit.

So, Iris casts this curse which accidentally get tied to an owl who is just going to life their best free life, despite being badly injured, which means Iris can get her mom to agree something needs to be done without talking about the curse just yet. But since the forests are big, mom doesn't think it would be a great idea to go alone, and only agrees to it if Pike joins. Pike, the guy who rants about witches and seems to enjoy to annoying Iris just for the lulz.

Hiking in the giant forest ensues.

Iris' mom is in a relationship with another woman. The relationship before that has been to Iris' dad, and we don't know if mom is bi or pan, so I just tagged this as sapphic.

It was fast paced, and I loved the depiction of nature as awe inspiring, not to be feared but to be respected. It makes me want to go camping again.

I would probably read more by this author, but be advised that this is more vibes than plot.
The arc was provided by the publisher.
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Witches are known to the general population, but not a lot is known about them, and they're not necessarily widely trust. Budding ornithologist Pike Alder isn't a fan of witches. He's interning on a nature preserve, not knowing that the owners, Isobel, and her daughter Iris are witches. Iris finds Pike as repugnant and Pike does witches and every other damn thing he's always sneering at. He's an unpleasant person. Unfortunately, a combination of bad things sends the two up a mountain to bring back a rare owl, and things happen. 

Supposedly the print volume is 320 pages, but my Bluefire galley is only 215--on my phone, so I'm wondering how big the type is. Wild feels like a short story or novella rather than a fleshed out novel. I wish I could say why. The protags--Iris is the narrator--despite having strong back stories, don't feel multidimensional. 

Griffin does offer a good take on grief, though: "...don't grieve that he's gone," Pike says. "Grieve that he turned out to be such an asshole."
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I was looking forward to this book, since I loved her first book. Second book syndrome. The main character is whiny and  uninteresting. The book is a quick read.
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The best YA book I have read in a while, 'Wild Is the Witch' depicts the story of how everything can go absolutely wrong when a witch, a curse, and an owl all come together! My first read by Rachel Griffin, this was an absolute treat. 

Narrated solely in the first-person voice by our heroine, Iris Gray, we learn early on about the tragedies she has already been subjected to in her eighteen years. Moving to the Pacific Northwest for a fresh start, she and her mother found peace in the picturesque area, and have reciprocated by opening an animal refuge for wild animals. However, Iris is no ordinary teenage girl- she is a witch. And though she has assimilated into her new home, there is one annoying issue she cannot get past- and his name is Pike Alder. An intern at the refuge, their relationship is contentious, as Pike's arrogance and confidence set Iris' teeth on edge. And worst of all his qualities? He hates witches. Using an inherited method from her deceased grandmother which usually helps balance her, she puts a severe curse on Pike, expecting that it would amount to nothing. Cue a series of unfortunate events! She now has to remove the curse, with Pike's help, all without him learning she cursed him in the first place. A trip through the forest brings unexpected knowledge, and Iris comes to realize there is more to her coworker than meets the eye.

As stated earlier, I really enjoyed reading this novel. Griffin's ability to describe the Pacific Northwest must be lauded, as I felt like I was trekking through the wild with Iris and Pike. The illustrations of lush greenery, mountain views, and wild animals (especially MacGuffin), all had me so immersed in this, that it was hard to put it down. Admittedly, I am a mummy of two small ones, so I never get to read the way I would like; however, when I did get the chance, I was all in! I also loved the evolution of the relationship between our two protagonists; that slow burn, enemies-to-lovers trope is my absolute favorite, and this time around was no exception. Pike was the perfect mixture of alpha and sweet, and Iris' idiosyncrasies spoke to me because they were so realistic-who has life figured out at eighteen, anyway?

I am hard-pressed to find negatives about this, as this was as flawless of a YA book as I would expect. As such, I give 'Wild Is the Witch' a rating of 5 out of 5 stars, for all the reasons listed above. I recommend this novel to persons who love fantasy and YA novels. As there are minimal descriptions of romantic acts, this is safe for people as young as early teens to read. There are no instances of obscene language or major triggers, so once again appropriate for the audience for which it is intended. Griffin has surely made a new fan, and I definitely plan to go check out what other gems she has written!

*A great many thanks to Netgalley, Rachel Griffin, and Sourcebooks Fire for this ARC. It is important to note that I was under no commitment to provide a positive review, and all opinions are undoubtedly my own.*
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A cautionary tale of a witch using her magic to curse someone, intending to dispel it into the earth as a way to relieve her angst, but the spell is stolen by an owl capable of spreading the curse to the entire region. She and the man she cursed have to work together to find the owl and make sure it stays alive long enough for her to dispel the curse before it gets loose. It's a great story of learning to control your gifts, and of being honest with those who can help you. Well written and developed as it unfolds. It was almost a 5 for me, but something was lacking, so I gave it a 4.
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It beautiful love story with some witchcraft on a side.
We have here Iris and Pike, enemies turned lovers, lots of hate-attraction dialogues and some family traumas from the past.. MacGuffin is definitely my favourite character. 

I'd definitely recommend this book to everyone romance fans. 
Fantasy part was beautiful and I would love to read more about this magic world created by Rachel Griffin, these were my favorite parts, maybe some book about sisterhood and friendship in the future?
But I wouldn't call it a "fantasy" novel because it is 90% romance with dialogues and interaction between two people only and for some readers it could a little misleading if they expect a traditional fantasy.
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This is my first Rachel Griffin book, and I am super impressed. The story is told in a straightforward but compelling way, the characters are sympathetic but still act like young adults, and the world building is interesting and comprehensive. It was fun and fast. 

After tragedy, Iris and her mother left their home to start over. They now run an animal sanctuary, but Iris hasn’t been able to move on and constantly dwells on the past and closes others off. This is her story about guilt, rectification, and healing. It also has humor and a pretty cute enemies-to-lovers storyline. 

<I>Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire</I>
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As you hike along with Iris and Pike in his eerie rescue mission, you feel the forest and its wilderness surround you. A great, immersive experience.
Thanks, NetGalley, for the early read.
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I have read the first book before  and I liked it but this one is much better in my opinion. 

The Immersion, nature, and the atmosphere are all great and bounds the reader into an adventure that would last a lifetime.  We should not forget the romance because it was executed well and I want more of it. 

Thsnk you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Rachel Griffin's cozy low fantasy witches are just so incredibly enjoyable to me. Her genre of emotional stories that feel so real and relatable told alongside a contemporary world steeped in magic just hits me right in my soul. 100% auto-buy author for me.

As a fantasy romance, Wild is the Witch gets me in all the right places. A loathe-to-love story catalyzed by interfering wild animals at a rescue center; a camping trip with a delightful One Tent trope for my favorite, Forced Proximity; and secret identity. Sign me up EVERY time.
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