I liked the concept for this little novella. A witch living in a lighthouse and basically trying to get the town she’s in to accept her; cute concept. Of course, seeing as she is a witch in a non-magical town, there is some magic that goes on. The characters she meets, the blatant discrimination she faces from magic, it honestly kinda reminded me of Halloweentown, this Disney channel movie that came on when I was younger, but that’s good. The book felt nice and cute and I just sorta fell into it the way it all happened.
Characters & Character Development
So, the main character of WIL is Maggie, the redheaded witch that ends up taking over for her non-magical uncle after his death (we learn this both in the prologue and the first chapter). I want to say all the things I can remember about her. It’s a way for me to basically gauge the story and the main character to sort of see how invested I was an how the book did in keeping me (or revealing details about the person we’re following).
Maggie: Her real name’s Magnolia (cute name choice, by the way), she’s a redhead, she’s really great at potionmaking (she learned that from her Grandma), she doesn’t like hurting or killing, she gives people second and third and fourth and… you get the point–she gives lots of chances, she really likes flying (via broomstick of course), and she’s really cares about her friends and family.
That’s all that I can say I remember about Maggie in confidence. Now, as for development… Basil gets the most character development and ends up changing the most by the last page. It just didn’t seem to me like there was much character development to be had in the book, which was a shame. I was really hoping to see some more changes to characters’ personalities, or even really pull back any layers on them. What I do know is superficial at best and is just like one character trait. It was a cute and cozy book, but I didn’t really see much development to be had for the others.
I wish we had seen more of Maggie’s family though. I wished they would’ve visited her or we had even seen her like write a letter home or anything like that. Her family in Emelle was never (or hardly ever) talked about outside of the prologue. Seeing Maggie talk to them would’ve been nice, I think.
The book’s pacing is nice. When we switched chapters back to Basil (the few times it happened), I was thrown off-kilter a little bit. Sometimes we do also switch point of view in the same chapter, so that was a smidge confusing at first, but I did figure it out after about the first time or two. Aside from this hiccups, I feel like it all flowed pretty nicely.
Oh, also, there’s combat in the latter half of the book and it honestly kinda threw me through a loop. About two thirds of the way through, we get our first fight, but because there was never any combat beforehand, I didn’t have any time to get adjusted or know that it was coming; I was truthfully surprised and taken off my guard.
The style was nice. The book is in third person and switches POV in the later chapters (from 4 onward, I believe) more often than in the first few. The narrator hops into everyone’s head (which is great because I love headhopping!), but we largely remain in Maggie’s head and see through her eyes. The style partially contributed to the cute cozy feel of the book. It really did feel like I was in a small town with its local small town customs, just living among them.
Information in this book comes out at a nice steady stream. You hear about something, you get information later on. Pretty nice and simple. I didn’t find myself wondering about much, except the way magic functioned. There were runes and potions and wands and spells and they were all used at different times, but the exact relationship between them all wasn’t entirely explained. I didn’t know why you’d use a rune instead of a potion or a potion instead of a spell or what there isn’t a spell for or why brooms fly (though I suspect the witch makes it fly, but I’m not sure) or how strong you have to be for any of this stuff. I wish we just got more information answered on the witches themselves, though I did like the idea that anyone could become magical (a concept that I had in Fairytale long before I read WIL). That just leads to the question of “how?”, though. The lack of answers didn’t get to the point where it was very frustrating and I couldn’t continue forward, but I certainly did wonder more than once in the novella about why Maggie couldn’t do this or that or cast a spell to take someone’s energy or something like that.
All-in-all, Witch in the Lighthouse is a cozy, nice book that you can get through in a couple of hours. Less than 150 pages and I just read it with my phone in my hand and at some point, ended up getting absorbed in it. The characters are cute archetypes (despite their lack of development or many character traits that I personally saw) and everything progresses at a pretty nice rate (though I did end up getting a bit impatient at the end; it felt like there were like 15 good stopping points.) However, despite these things, the book is nice, the characters are cozy. I enjoyed the read.
I give it 3.5/5 stars
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