Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn’t lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don’t belong and seeking escape.
Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they’ve never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other.
Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world. Enter Leo, a homeless boy with a painful past who – befriending them both – tests their love and loyalty. Can Poppy and Ember’s friendship survive? And can it withstand the dark forces that are gathering?
I’ve always been bad in terms of living by the expression “never judge a book by its cover” because nine times out of ten I do, which is what sparked my interest in reading this novel. After reading the novel, of course, I think the cover did a great job in representing the most important aspects of the book. At first glance, however, there’s no doubt that this book is aesthetically pleasing. The dark blues and purples against black achieve a rather dark and mysterious persona, while almost whimsical and magical because of the two young girls located in the center of the cover with a bright, full moon lingering behind them.
It took me awhile to get fully invested in the story. I didn’t feel a strong connection to either main character, but it didn’t hinder my ability to enjoy the plot because I went into it kind of knowing it would be hard to relate to two girls switched at birth—one born a witch, while the other grew up thinking she was one. I thought that perhaps I could relate to the characters in terms of the more humane struggles they face (i.e. falling in love, quarrels with parents, trying to fit in), but even then the girls’ reactions were almost too unrealistic for me to understand. The character Poppy reacted in a way that was almost too inhumane and detached, whereas Ember’s reactions were almost underwhelming and too pure.
I had a professor in college that told us to never make our characters victims, and Ember was just that. She was just too much of a passive character who seemed like a human punching bag for the other characters. When I analyze Poppy and Ember individually, they both seem rather undeveloped in terms of their personalities and traits, giving them an overall boring persona. It wasn’t until they meet each other and form a friendship that they start to grow and become more likable as characters. That friendship, however, saved this book for me. Even though I didn’t necessarily enjoy their personalities and things that they said, I admired what each girl was willing to do for the other. I think it is rare to see that kind of unconditional love and selflessness, especially among friendships.
Usually when I read a book, I fall in love with the characters so much that the plot…isn’t lost to me, per say, but I care more about the characters and whether or not they get what they want. However, this wasn’t the case during this read. I enjoyed watching the plot unravel and trying to figure out which direction the story was going to go because for awhile I wasn’t sure (and I’m usually pretty good at doing this). I also thought it was interesting that the author didn’t make the “enemy” characters solely evil—what I mean is, there are certain aspects to these characters that I could identify with, and I was able to empathize with the enemy characters and understand how they got to be how they are. I thought the supporting characters really pushed the story forward and made it worth-reading.
I enjoyed the author’s writing style and how she portrayed a very whimsical atmosphere throughout the entirety of her novel, which was what I was looking for. Even though I thought the book had a bit of a slow start, I thought the ending was phenomenal—full of action with a realistic and somewhat suspected ending. I think she is writing a sequel, so I’ll be interested to see how the rest of the series unravels and plays out.
Has anyone read this book? What did you think? Leave a comment below, and let’s chat. 🙂
Goodreads rating: 3.6/5
Dee’s rating: 3/5