Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Witches of Eileanan (The Witches of Eileanan, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Witches of Eileanan (The Witches of Eileanan, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Witches of Eileanan (The Witches of Eileanan #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  4,663 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews
In the Celtic land of Eileanan, witches and magic have been outlawed, and those caught for practicing witchcraft are put to death! It is a land ruled by an evil Queen, where sea-dwelling Fairgean stir, and children vanish in the night. But in a valley deep in the mountains, young Isabeau grows to womanhood under the guidance of an elderly witch, and must set out on a quest ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 411 pages
Published July 1st 1998 by Roc (first published January 1st 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Graceling by Kristin CashoreVampire Academy by Richelle MeadThrone of Glass by Sarah J. MaasAlanna by Tamora PiercePoison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Best "Strong Female" Fantasy Novels
230th out of 1,859 books — 13,694 voters
Sabriel by Garth NixDaughter of the Forest by Juliet MarillierObernewtyn by Isobelle CarmodyLirael by Garth NixAkarnae by Lynette Noni
Best Australian Fantasy Reads
8th out of 246 books — 183 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kate Forsyth
Feb 12, 2010 Kate Forsyth rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: fantasy
I wrote it, so I have to say it was amazing! Besides, it changed my life. I went from starving wanna-be-writer to internationally bestselling author practically overnight. You've got to find that amazing!
Sep 21, 2015 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

An excellent start to a six part series, this first episode had me enthralled all the way through as apprentice witch Isabeau and her ancient mentor Meghan start on their quest to restore magic to the land of Eileanan and depose the wicked queen who has enthralled their ruler.

Kate Forsyth has created a wonderful, fully realised fantasy world of magic creatures, fabulous dragons and evil enemies. With such a solid basis, the rest of the series promises to be excellent.
Dec 12, 2015 Tracey rated it liked it
First book of a series of 6 it's been left dangling and many 'threads are being woven' not to mention many protagonists still being introduced which I feel is the nature of fantasy books. Looking forward to the second part of my journey in Eileanan when my copy of the book arrives but for now I will get on with another book. 3 and 1/2 stars.
Doc Opp
May 01, 2007 Doc Opp rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A nice epic fantasy series. As usual for this genre, the first book is the best, and the quality wanes slowly over the course of the series. But the initial few are very good reads with lots of interesting ideas mixed in with the classic fantasy archetypes. (And they'll get you intrigued enough in the world that you'll probably want to read the last few as well, even though they're not as good).

The main characters can be grating and annoying at times but the support cast is full of lively and m
Oct 15, 2007 Hack rated it liked it
this was an interesting world set up. i HATED reading the dialect. WHY??? there was no point to the dialect aside from me trying to figure out what "fairn" meant. and why drop the "t" at the end of "not"? it drove me nuts. i thought the plot was intriguing, but a bit slow moving. i also hate it when books don't end. even if it's a series, there should be some kind of resolution. this was a total cliffhanger. so while i enjoyed it, it had some hitches.
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
I received my signed copy of Dragonclaw: Book One of the Witches of Eileanan in a competition being run on author Kate Forsyth's website earlier this year.

I absolutely adored her novel Bitter Greens and thoroughly enjoyed The Wild Girl, and so came to Dragonclaw (the author's first published novel) with high expectations.

I knew before turning the first page that Dragonclaw is a YA fantasy novel, however in the very beginning when two witches are discussing the events of the land in front of an o
Aug 25, 2012 Alkira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on Under The Rafters on the 25th August 2012.

The first installment to one of my all time favourite series, The Witches Of Eileanan, is Dragonclaw.

With witchcraft and witch cunning being outlawed for sixteen years now and the Banrigh (the Eileanan version of the Queen) decreeing all magical creatures as uile-bheistean (monsters) and the need for them to be captured and executed, all the witches and witch-lovers of the land are growing restless. They wish for the old days to be b
Angelya (Tea in the Treetops)
Review originally posted on The Oaken Bookcase on July 9, 2012 as part of the Discover Australian Fantasy feature.

Written in the grand tradition of Epic Fantasy, Dragonclaw is the first in Kate Forsyth’s series about the Witches of Eileanan.

Witchcraft has been outlawed for sixteen years now, and the new Queen, or Banrigh, has decreed that all magical creatures be killed or captured. Many of the original Coven of Witches died at the time of the Day of Reckoning but there are a few remaining, stok
Eleanor Whitwell
Sep 02, 2012 Eleanor Whitwell rated it liked it
Not too bad a read. I did find myself irritated by being told everything instead of shown, but that is a common problem in fantasy books and I'm rather used to it. My enjoyment otherwise was sadly overshadowed by the fact that every single facet of the Scottish accent which every single character has was written out in EVERY SINGLE THING THEY SAID. We get it! They're Scottish! If everyone has the same accent, the accent is no longer a point of differentiation. I don't mind the odd Scottish word ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Rach rated it it was amazing
Admittedly, it's been years since I last picked up this book, but it, and the following books in the series, are ones I have read multiple times and will eventually read again.

Dragonclaw was given to me as a gift as a teenager. I instantly fell in love and soon hunted down the following instalments in the series. I think I've read Dragonclaw three times now, and even as an adult, I still love this book. It's one of the very first books that made me fall in love with epic fantasy stories and star
Nov 12, 2015 Anne rated it liked it
The first 10 pages or so felt like coming home to me. I have a severe sleeping disorder for years now and one thing that helps me to fall asleep is imagining myself lying in a safe, often magical, place that keeps out all kinds of evil lurking around outside of it. I've fallen asleep in Tom Bombadil's cabin, Badger's house in a tree in the Wild Wood, Hermione's magical tent, Robinson Crusoë's cave/fort, in amazingly tight locked rooms in even tighter locked buildings in the world of The Walking ...more
Apr 15, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The storytelling of this high fantasy novel is first class. A spectacular debut novel from this poet turned author (who this month published her 25th novel!).
Dragon Claw introduces us to the world of Eileanan, Megan of the Beasts and her apprentice Isabeau, and to the havoc caused by Maya The Ensourcellor.
If you loved Lord of the Rings, but wished there were more strong female characters, this is a book for you.
History buffs will revel in the medieval politics of the series and wish that humans,
Jun 11, 2016 GeekGirl_7 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those times that I wish I could give half stars, as my rating is really a 4 1/2.

The first chapter started slowly, but the novel developed into a really great read. Forsyth (whose children's fantasy novels, I really adore) created characters I could believe in & cared about. Multiple narratives were woven together, & as the tapestry of storytelling took shape, it was delightful to see connections unfold - in fact, in true mythological style, the 'Spinners weaving of fate'
Nov 24, 2015 Julie rated it did not like it
The pages o' this book are filled with descriptions o' everything using dialect o' faux Scotland that made me want to find a stick o' sharpness and stab myself.
Dec 04, 2010 Alloychar rated it it was amazing
i loved this book XD i love the idea of witchcraft and sorcery and evil sea dwelling peoples XD tho i feel sorry for isabeau and her hand :(
Sep 27, 2012 Ithlilian marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: fantasy
Irritating characters, repetitive dialogue, and a very slow pace combine to make this novel painful to read. It starts out interestingly enough with the main character Isabeau taking tests and learning of the imminent danger the world is facing. The witches present at her testing part ways and we get to meet some unfriendly dragons. After that it's self centered, headstrong, do-no-wrong Isabeau walking through the forest encountering characters for a few pages, and then walking through the woods ...more
Aug 27, 2009 Tammy rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own
All magical creatures of Eileanan are persecuted by decree of Maya the Ensorcellor. Witches have gone into hiding, but a resistance exists, building their forces in secret. Isabeau, a young witch in training, knows very little of this. She is raised in the quiet wilderness by Megan, a old hermit witch, and despite her natural talent, taught only the rudimentary basics of witchcraft. After an attack on their home and sanctuary, they no longer can remain removed from the world. Alone and far from ...more
Shari  Mulluane
Oct 14, 2008 Shari Mulluane rated it it was amazing
The story centers around four main characters. Megan o' the Beasts, Keybearer of the Covens, Isabeau, her apprentice, Iseult, the twin sister Isabeau has never met and Prince Lachlan who has his own very good reason to hate Maya the Unknown. A host of characters, both mundane and magical, will assist in their quest to recover the Lodestone and bring down the evil reign of Maya the Unknown.

Wiccan witchcraft, magical creatures, a Celtic type world, and dragons, what is not to love! No, it is not o
Bonnie Barnes
Jan 02, 2014 Bonnie Barnes rated it it was amazing
Forsyth has created this incredibly imaginative world full of a multitude of characters you can't help but connect with. If you're a gal looking for a book with strong female characters, look no further. If you're a man looking for an action packed fantasy series, you've found it. If you're looking to immerse yourself in a world full of witchcraft, magical creatures, corrupt kingdoms, epic battles, gut-wrenching loss, and tales of love that will leave you short of breath...BUY THIS BOOK!

* the d
Mar 16, 2013 Megan rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
Okay ... so I couldn't finish reading this book because I became very uninterested in it - almost right from the beginning. I usually wait until the first 100-200 pages to determine if a book is "worth the read" or not, & I made my decision shortly after 50 pages. I hate reading books that are difficult to read - either because of the dialogue or the author's writing style. In this case, it was mainly the dialogue between the characters, which was in a Scottish language ... I'm sorry but if ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Cathryn rated it really liked it
Theres a lot I should say about this book but I lack the motivation, so for now I will just settle for:

I loved it. If you like fantasy of the Celtic, witchy kind, you will probably love it too. The world is rich and lovingly created. The characters feel real, and even when the story branches off into what seems like too many arcs to keep track of (particularly from book 2, which I am currently reading), Forsyth ensures you don't get lost or lose interest. I'm normally put off by books that jump
3.5 stars!

The Witches of Eileanan is a very lengthy, fantastical beginning to a mythical series. It's filled with quests, rebellions, and bloodthirsty destruction that only power can bring.

This book is overflowing with characters; some of which share their own viewpoint in a chapter or two. Although the characters bring originality and different sides of information in their respective chapters, I could really care less. Literally the only time I was completely engrossed in this book was when I
Feb 18, 2012 Chani rated it really liked it
I loved, loved the beginning of this book. Secret hide-away in a hidden forest, tree home with nestled rooms. Witches, and magic, and lessons! I was a bit sad when this gave way to a bigger chase and more details. But I enjoyed the additional characters so this was fine. This is a rare book that was able to bounce me from character to character without me developing favorites and growing resentful when I was not allowed to finish their story. I loved the creativity and original ideas and new cre ...more
Feb 07, 2014 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first book by this author and I was delighted to see she lives in Sydney like me! This is book one of a fairly long series - five or six books I believe - and I am sure I will be reading all of them. Dragonclaw introduces us to the history of Eileanan and its magical creatures including witches, dragons and a variety of fairies and monsters. In the course of the story we travel with several different main characters in their quest to overturn the ruler and return to the old ways. The story mo ...more
Mar 03, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kate
I was half through this book before I realised I had read it before. It was so great to re-discover it, and then, realise that I never did read any more of the series. Think I'm going to inhale them all now!! Loving it :)
Amanda Botten
Apr 16, 2011 Amanda Botten rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and the series it belongs to. The characters had a gorgeous flow as they developed throughout the stroy. The scenery was described beautifully and I always found myself in the story and seeing the characters. There are elements of surprise, where you aren't sure how all of it will piece together, but when it starts clicking you find yourself wanting to see more and more. It is highly possible to enjoy one part of the story more then others as it does split ...more
Mar 17, 2016 Cecelia rated it liked it
The one like = one book meme has quieted down a bit now, but for a week or so it overpowered my twitter feed. I like the idea of the meme (one like on the original post equals one book recommendation from the poster, sometimes multiplied by the hundred), but in execution it made twitter an unreadable mess. So, I was against it. BUT THEN… one of the recommended books caught my eye. I can’t remember who recommended The Witches of Eileanan by Kate Forsyth, but I do know they were convincing enough ...more
A.B. Shepherd
Jan 13, 2016 A.B. Shepherd rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the first 99.9% of this book, in spite of the faux Scottish type dialogue, which made no sense based on the fact that this magical world takes place on some strange magical planet with two moons. The story was engaging and I wanted to know more. It was heading toward a 4 star rating.

The problem was the last .1% which is one of my biggest pet peeve. This is the first book in a series. I read series all the time, and when done well, I love them. This one struck my nerve by ending
Feb 22, 2016 Dixy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nota: 7.7

Me ha gustado el libro. Es una fantasía épica, el mundo creado es basto, abundante, interesante y mágico. Este libro más que nada nos introduce en este mundo y en su historia. Es contado desde el punto de vista de varios personajes, aunque hay un par que son principales; eso enriquece la historia y la puedes ver más ampliamente, pero también hace el avance de la historia más lento y se hace algo denso. Los personajes todos me han gustado y la historia es interesante.
Feb 10, 2010 Erinn rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It took me most of the book to get into the story. I also wish that the author had done a prologue about the humans opening a gate in Scotland and moving to a new planet. I spent the first few chapters being annoyed at the use of plaid and the brogue until they finally slipped that little jewel in. It's just one of my pet peeves when that sort of thing isn't explained out right in the very beginning.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Trying to remmeber a Fantasy series [s] 4 58 May 02, 2014 11:01PM  
  • The House of Gaian (Tir Alainn, #3)
  • Harshini (Hythrun Chronicles: Demon Child, #3)
  • The Dark Age (The Ancient Future, #1)
  • Darkfall (The Legendsong, #1)
  • The Aware (The Isles of Glory, #1)
  • Path of Fate (Path, #1)
  • Hades' Daughter (The Troy Game, #1)
  • The Lady of the Sorrows (The Bitterbynde, #2)
  • The Spell of Rosette (Quantum Enchantment, #1)
  • The Broken Crown (The Sun Sword, #1)
  • Song in the Silence (The Tale of Lanen Kaelar, #1)
Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the award-winning & internationally bestselling author of more than 35 books for both adults and children.

Her books for adults include 'The Beast's Garden', a retelling of the Grimm version of 'Beauty & the Beast', set in the German underground resistance to Hitler in WWII; 'The Wild Girl', the love story of Wilhelm Grimm
More about Kate Forsyth...

Other Books in the Series

The Witches of Eileanan (6 books)
  • The Pool of Two Moons (The Witches of Eileanan, #2)
  • The Cursed Towers (The Witches of Eileanan, #3)
  • The Forbidden Land (The Witches of Eileanan, #4)
  • The Skull of the World (The Witches of Eileanan, #5)
  • The Fathomless Caves (The Witches of Eileanan, #6)

Share This Book

“May my heart be kind, my mind fierce, and my spirit brave.” 135 likes
“To light a candle is to cast a shadow” 10 likes
More quotes…