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The Hawkweed Prophecy

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The babies were born as the clock struck twelve. A bat fell from the air mid-flight. A silver salmon floated dead to the surface of the river. Snails withered in their shells, moths turned to dust on the night breeze and an owl ate its young. The spell had been cast.

Poppy Hooper has managed to deceive her father into believing that there is nothing mysterious or unnatural about her. He ignores the cats that find her wherever she goes, the spiders that weave beautiful lacy patterns for her, even her eyes - one blue, one green with an extra black dot orbiting the pupil.

Ember Hawkweed is a pitiful excuse for a witch. When the other girls in her coven brew vile potions, Ember makes soap and perfume. Fair and pretty, Ember is more like a chaff than a witch. One of the Hawkweeds will be queen of the witches - but everyone knows it won't be Ember.

When the two girls meet, Poppy discovers her powers, and finds out the truth. Bound by their unlikely friendship and the boy they both love, the girls try and find their place in the world. But the time of the prophecy draws nearer - and the witches won't give up the throne without a fight.

304 pages, Paperback

First published June 16, 2016

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Irena Brignull

6 books35 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 342 reviews
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,012 reviews1,404 followers
September 12, 2017
I initially fell in love with this story due to the whimsical narration that echoed traditional fairy or folk tales. The dark elements of fantasy, that proceeded to permeate the story, proved this comparison to be even further true. There was a simple beauty to the narrative voice that reawakened this primitive style of storytelling but was brought into modernity and relevance when combined with the contemporary setting.

The amalgamation of tradition, and the rural and fantastical setting in which the witches made their home, could easily have jarred with the alternative urban setting and voice. The two, however, were skillfully weaved into forming two alternating yet intertwining perspectives, that created a fully-formed narrative. When an additional male perspective was added, however, the suspense and intrigue were taken to another level.

It was at this point that I thought my love for this tale would diminish. I initially perceived this fantasy to be turning, instead, into a simple love story. Brignull cruelly deceived her readers into believing she was delivering the expected when, instead, this was merely another narrative thread intricately woven into the web of intrigue the book centres around.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,257 reviews8,676 followers
Shelved as 'arcs'
August 8, 2016
I'm not going to lie, the prologue of this book was severely off-putting. So off-putting that I almost stopped reading it. BUT. Then I checked the length of the excerpt (it was short), so I kept going.

And I'm really glad I did, b/c I'm about 99.9% sure this book is going to be SPECTACULAR.

So don't be scared away by this:

The babies were born as the clocks struck twelve. As they finally slid from their mothers’ bellies, wet and sticky, their tiny faces scrunched up with the effort of being born, their fists clenched and eyes shut tight, a dark cloud crossed the full moon, and out in the forest the sky turned black. A bat fell from the air midflight. A silver salmon floated dead to the surface of the river. Snails withered in their shells, moths turned to dust on the night breeze, and an owl ate its young.

Or by the palpable evil of Raven, the orchestrator of the Bad Thing. B/c this is YA, maybe even MA, and Bad Guys always get what's coming to them in these types of books.

ALSO, this author is apparently a Big Deal. She wrote THE BOXTROLLS, and is currently working on an adaptation of THE LITTLE PRINCE. I'm thinking THE HAWKWEED PROPHECY is just one in a long list of excellent books.

You can read the preview in BUZZ BOOKS 2016: YA Fall/Winter, available as READ NOW on NetGalley: https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book...
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,091 reviews1,508 followers
August 14, 2016
In a coven of witches two sisters learn of a prophecy that says that one of then will give birth to the next leader of their coven. Raven is the determined sister who will do anything to make sure that the baby will definitely be her daughter. She puts a spell on her sister to make sure she will not give birth to a girl but when that spell wears off and a girl is predicted Raven switches the daughter with a human child across the country.

As the two girls grow up each finds it hard to fit into their lives. Ember studies magic among the witch coven but she'd rather make herself look pretty and smell good than deal with the icky things the spells ingredients call for. While across the country Poppy never fits in with her family and continues to be expelled from school after school for her "accidents" that defy explanation.

The Hawkseed Prophecy grabbed my attention in the beginning and was really expecting to completely love this book. Somewhere along the way though I found that it just seemed to drop off for me a bit as far as the excitement level was concerned. The idea was great but there was just a bit of something missing to me.

The story ended up including a bit of a love triangle in the middle which may be the point that it got a bit dull. It's really kind of awkward to have both of these girls who are complete opposites seem to end up wanting the same boy. Probably would have worked better for me if that part hadn't been included.

Overall 3.5 stars, interesting ideas behind the plot with a good start and finish but a bit of a lull in the middle of the story to me.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Eilonwy.
814 reviews203 followers
November 2, 2016
Poppy lives in a town and tries to go to school; Emma lives with a tribe of witches and tries to do magic. But thanks to being switched at birth, neither of them fit in where they are. Poppy attracts cats and causes “accidents” everywhere she goes; Emma can’t do magic and makes soap, instead. When Poppy and her father move to yet another town for a fresh start, she and Emma meet and become friends -- but can their friendship hold as they learn the truth about themselves?
I really enjoyed this book. It’s about themes I love: Friendship between girls; the un-sugar-coated complexity of family rivalry; and trying to figure out who you’re meant to be. The prologue tells why Poppy and Emma have been switched: it was magic worked by a witch who, thanks to a 300-year-old prophecy, is determined that her own daughter should get to be queen of all the witches one day, and that meant getting her sister’s child out of the way.

I was a little surprised by how dark this story is, but it’s handled well and never feels too bleak. And it’s lightened by the very charming friendship between Poppy and Emma. The story is told through omniscient POV, so the reader gets to feel how out of place both girls feel in their usual environments, and how delighted they are to connect with each other. This is a very emotional book, with lots of insights into how people interact with each other and how they feel doing it, which made me feel deeply involved in the story despite the “telling” rather than “showing” writing style. It managed to feel intense even while the writing was a bit distancing for me. At the same time, I appreciated that the writing felt sort of “traditional,” for lack of a better word -- a bit like a fairy tale.

The biggest minus of the book for me is that Poppy and Emma both fall in love with the same boy. It’s done about as well as it possibly could be, so it was almost sweet, and definitely poignant, but also a bit icky and disturbing, and I’m not sure it really added much to the story.

I’m a bit mystified by the tagline on the cover: “Two lives. Two worlds. One throne,” because it becomes very clear very quickly that there’s no competition for that queen position. It led me to expect a different story from the one I got, and lucky for this book, I actually preferred that story to the one I thought I was going to read. But other readers may not!

I’m really looking forward to whatever Irena Brignull writes next!
Profile Image for Gabby.
341 reviews77 followers
July 12, 2017
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with this in exchange for an honest review.

The Hawkweed Prophecy, to quite simply put it, was a mess. What started off a strong and intriguing dark fantasy quickly faded away to nothing but a badly written fantasy/romance. This book had the potential to be a great fantasy with great female characters, as it started off so.

Where to begin? First I must talk about the structure and how this novel switches between perspectives suddenly. There's no prior warning. Nothing. One minute you're reading something from one persons point of view; and then someone elses the next! This heavy juxtaposition between the perspectives was dreadful - it was confusing and I often got lost on whose point of view I was in and why. Honestly - the meaning was lost. I read the same scene over and over again from many different point of views. I wouldn't mind if it served a purpose, but it did not, and instead it felt long winded and dragged out.

OH THE LOVE TRIANGLE / INSTA LOVE. Poppy literally meets Leo, and then the next day she's invited him into her house alone. When he leaves, she brings his mug up to her lips and places her mouth where his just was.

I just ? ? ? no.

Oh and Ember. As soon as she meets him she's instantly in love and of course Poppy then thinks it was her destiny to bring these two people together. Sure. Ember has never seen a man before, Leo's the first, so? It's not like she had much to compare him with? Not to mention that Sorrel, in her own twisted way, has an infatuation with him.

And Leo . . . well boy can't make up his mind, can he? One minute he's making out with Ember and then running to Poppy saying how he's desperately in love with her and how she's his true love. . . and then he's making out with Ember again. HE. CAN'T. MAKE. UP. HIS. MIND.

To me it's like the author can't actually decide what she wants. It's just a mess - one minute it's going in a solid and clear direction, and then any development or characterisation that's been made is out of the window. It's like every time the author sat down she changed her mind but didn't want to backspace what she had written. UGH.

Oh and the female characters. Petty? Check. Stupid? Check. Stereotyped? Check. I mean of course we have to have a mean girl. Of course we have to have the whole "special snowflake" thing. And Ember . . . I just. The author promotes her prettiness as what was it . . . being fair haired and pale? Don't hold me exactly to that - the characters were so boring and bland they all began to blend together as one.

WHAT WAS THE PLOT? No, seriously. I'm asking you. It started off strong with a classic-switchero, and of course, THE PROPHECY. But was soon taken over by the mindless "romance" scenes and Poppy and Ember continually moaning about how they don't fit in, while Raven is just being a weirdo and an abuser to her daughter.

Side note: I really loved Ember's and Poppy's friendship to begin with. I think it started off too quickly - but I liked the companionship and comfort they found in each other and the dell. But that soon faded away to nothing but petty jealousies and hate. Sometimes the touch of sisterhood would come back but then the moment was robbed by thoughts of Leo.

Anyways - back to the lack of plot. Yeah. It kept disappearing. I think if this book had focused more on that then it would have been better. I did like how we saw Poppy actually practice, and it wasn't just on a whim of "hey! look how good I am at this thing I've never learnt before!" but still. It wasn't great.

Oh and the PARENTS. I mean they were all shitty. Especially Poppy's father. He blamed Poppy for something, that wasn't her fault, making her feel guilty and worthless all because he didn't want to out himself and his secret. So he used his daughter to get what he wanted and basically punished her for the thing he knew he shouldn't have. Make sense?? I am trying not to spoil too much.

ANYWAYS - much like the plot, I am going off track. But yeah. Moments where the plot was put back in I was like WOO we're getting somewhere only to be robbed of it like two pages later. I'm not happy about this.

The writing was okay, even if the writing structure was not.

OH! ALSO. THIS WITCHCRAFT. It'd be nice to actually understand how the spells work? Like one minute they have to chant and then spells happen? Other times, like in the duel, they just hold out their hands and blast? Then they talk about only some can shape shift BUT THEN WE GET TONS THAT CAN SHAPESHIFT? Other times we have to use ingredients for spells?? HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK? TELL ME. MAKE ME UNDERSTAND. I just don't think the system was properly explained and there was NO excuse for that. While Poppy was inexperienced, and Leo had nothing to do with the witch world, the rest of the narrators did. So there's no reason why this could have been clearer.

Oh. The world-building. For starters, I was confused with what time period we are in. Secondly, and maybe I wasn't reading clear enough, but where is this set? America? Some made up town? WHERE? How come no ones accidentally walked into this hidden forest place that's just outside town that looks like it came from the 1400's? Does magic protect it? WHAAAT? TELL ME.

I am silently screaming in frustration.

Oh and the ending. Throwing out these plot twists of HAHA, but it was obvious?? Like ?? It's not like it was subtly hinted at so if you didn't come out and give that explanation for it it would be a pile of shit?? I'm just surprised the characters didn't figure it out sooner. SO. OBVIOUS.

But yeah. I think that's it. Maybe. That's all my important points - if I were to nitpick further I could possibly run out of characters.

So overall, I liked the idea. It had a strong start and sometimes was strong in plot, but for the most of it it wasn't. Rather it favoured a dodgy love triangle, poor characterisation, and lost sight of the point of the whole novel. I doubt I'll be continuing on with this series, but I am a curious person . . . so I'll probably read the second one. . .
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,220 reviews1,651 followers
September 15, 2016
I picked up The Hawkweed Prophecy on a total whim at ALA. I’d seen the cover and put it in Cover Snark, but otherwise I’d heard absolutely nothing about this book, which probably relates to the fact that I’ve never heard of this publisher. Still, a fantasy with three strong heroines? Sounded good to me.

On a lot of levels, The Hawkweed Prophecy very much delivers, and I’m glad that I took a chance on it. Irena Brignull’s writing is lovely. It’s not every book where I start reading and really give thought to how beautiful the actual prose is. The plot, though simple and predictable, is largely pleasing. I like how strongly female the cast is, and that Ember never gets shamed by the book itself for not being magical.

However, the romance in this book really sucks. That may sound harsh but honestly. There’s one teen boy of note in the book, a homeless hottie named Leo. Poppy meets him first and immediately falls in love. Then Poppy introduces him to Ember, who immediately falls in love. Sorrel follows Ember and spots Leo, and she too immediately falls in love (or at least obsession) with him. Seriously? And then the girls spend the whole book subtly fighting for him. To make matters worse,

I’d love to know what this book could have been without Leo as a character. Or, perhaps, if there had been a romance between Poppy and Ember, with Sorrel getting the guy. As it is, it’s a pretty fantasy and worth a try if you’re into witchy books.
Profile Image for Cisz Geverink - Strasters.
718 reviews31 followers
July 17, 2016
"Ze was zo moe, alsof ze ouder was geworden en haar jeugd als een veertje in de wind vervloog om nooit meer terug te komen." ~ p379

Wat heb ik van dit boek genoten!!! Irena Brignull heeft een hele fijne manier van schrijven, waarbij ze jou als lezer echt in het verhaal weet te trekken.

Als lezer word je direct betrokken bij een groot geheim, waarvan maar 1 persoon op de hoogte is, maar die van invloed is voor heel veel mensen. Ik vond het fijn om als lezer dit al te weten, terwijl de personages gedurende het verhaal langzaam aan meer komen te weten. Het maakt het verhaal niet minder spannend, maar geeft het juist net dat beetje meer.

Zodra je kennis maakt met Poppy en Ember heb je met de meisjes een band. Beide zo anders, maar dragen dezelfde eenzaamheid. Je ziet hoe vriendschap in eenvoud bloeit. De een vlucht uit een maatschappij vol onbegrip, de ander verlangt naar het "normale" leven. En in elkaar vinden ze de kennis en ervaring waar ze zelf zo naar verlangen.

Leo, de ultimate Bookcrush, die het hart van beide meisjes weet te veroveren alleen maar door te zijn. Die zelf al genoeg bagage met zich mee sleept, maar er niets over los zal laten. Wie is die mysterieuze jongen die de harten op hol weet te brengen?

En een heksenverhaal is natuurlijk niet compleet zonder boze heks. De jaloerse zus Raven, die ondanks de grote liefde voor haar zus, niet kan aanzien dat Klaver net dat ene zal hebben wat zij nooit zal krijgen. Kan je het lot aanpassen, door te doen alsof iets nooit is gebeurd? Kan je een geheim dragen zonder dat iemand daar ooit achter komt, en zo de voorspelling naar eigen hand zetten?

Echt een geweldig boek voor iedereen die houdt van YA, heksen, magie, liefde en vriendschap ♡
Profile Image for Tala .
192 reviews90 followers
September 1, 2017
The Hawkweed Prophecy is quite an impressive read.
It felt like one of those books that just … knows what it’s doing. It felt clear-minded, and precise, and focused.
And if the above statement made exactly 0.00001% sense to you, please allow me to explain.
Going into this novel, I honestly did not have many high expectations. And the reason why stems particularly from the initial laying-down of key plot points. What was wrong with said plot points? They seemed … recycled. A bit cliché, perhaps. On the outset, and before the reader delves deeper into the pages, all they know is this: there’s a prophecy, and a chosen one, and two girls oblivious to everything around them, and a boy with a tragic backstory. Do you see where this could’ve gone? Straight down a predicatable path, that’s where.
But Brignull is better than that. She took a story that had the potential to go either really really well or really really bad, and made it spectacular.
And the question now become is: how. How is this book special. Why is it special. And, ladies and gentlemen, that is precisely the reason why I’m here today.

- One of this book’s greatest strengths is the great female friendship that develops between our two leads. Poppy, quite rebellious and tough, befriends Ember, who is much more shy and withdrawn and awkward. They exchange ideas, they come to trust the other, and they ultimately recognize the other as a best friend, without being overly sappy about it, and without it feeling too forced or fabricated. And I honestly did not see this coming. There are an awfully few number of female friendships in YA (the only genuine ones I can think of, really, are Nina/Inej and Kestrel/Sarsine) and it felt quite refreshing to see this aspect in a contemporary novel. Bless this book.

- The family aspect, too, was developed with finesse. Ember lives with quite an extended family, but the focus is mainly on her mother, aunt, and cousin. Poppy lives with her father, visits her hospitalized mother, and has to deal with a lot bumps in the road here and there. But both care deeply about their family members, and those members are not treated like plot devices. Instead, if the story were to abruptly switch to Ember’s cousin or Poppy’s mother, the plotline would not suffer for it because every supporting character has ample page time to be fleshed out enough. The plotline would, if anything, be enhanced should this technique be deployed. And let me just say, very few books have this capability. Very few. For context: the last time I read a book that can pull this off, it was The Hate U GIve by Angie Thomas. Yes, I’m going there.

- The writing style is gorgeously eloquent, and has an almost fairytale-like air.  The opening chapters have a nice thrilling/foreboding tension to them that make the reader lean forward to listen closely, metaphorically speaking. The sentence structure and word choice are crisp and clean. This can’t be debut, guys. It can’t. Because that writing style is on point. And: if you didn’t already know, Irena Brignull is a screenwriter. But unlike other author-y screenwriters (*cough* Victoria Aveyard *cough*), Brignull does not spend most paragraphs solely on description. There’s character development, too, and that is addressed. Common mistake is avoided in this case, and excuse me, but I must give a standing ovation here. Step back.

But. Now I realize your eyes may be flicking back and forth from all this praise to the missing star out of the five, and you’re thinking: Why did you knock a star off the rating if you liked it so much, Nina? 
Well, I’ve got an answer. Buckle up.
Some aspects of The Hawkweed Prophecy were a bit … irregular. Such as:
- The 4-way love triangle, or love parallelogram as I like to call it, got a bit ridiculous. Three girls fall for the same guy: Leo, a homeless boy who is actually quite sweet. Poppy finds him first, then Ember, then Sorrel. Come on. That’s crazy, and frankly lazy on the girls’ part. You live in, or near, a city with at least a hundred more guys. Surely you could’ve gone out and found another instead of pining after your cousin’s? I don’t know, but this was a bit .. unbelievable. But! I did like how Poppy is not very possessive (and is actually quite selfless) in this regard, so Ember and Poppy and Leo had a Tessa-Will-Jem complex, which I liked very much-ly. That’s what, again, makes this book special. Nice save, but it could have been easily avoided.

- The witches’ power was unexplained, and too limitless. Guys, the witches are literal goddesses. They can create mountains, and shape-shift, and change the weather, and tear another human apart, and make potions, and heal the wounded. What are their weaknesses? No one knows. Can you dampen their magic? Maybe not. Can they tire themselves out? Apparently, no. The magic needed a bit more (okay, a lot more) boundaries or rules. Otherwise, the witches are just unstoppable. And we can’t have that, now, can we? Answer: Of course we can’t. Yes, this is fantasy, but we need to get a bit real.

These are just, of course, my thoughts! This may not bother you at all, but I’m a bit picky with my fantasy. Sorry not sorry.


Overall? I am quite impressed with The Hawkweed Prophecy. Very impressed.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pick up book 2 (which I hear is awesome). Wish me luck
Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,360 reviews50 followers
July 7, 2016
2.5 Stars

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

You would think that after all this time, people would know to do anything with prophecies, because it never works the way you planned. However, in The Hawkweed Prophecy, it has been prophecised that in 303 years, a daughter of a Hawkweed sister will lead the witches. This is considered extremely important, and of course one of the sisters will go just too far to ensure it will be her own daughter.

While it in principle was a nice story about two girls being switched at birth but looking for a place where they belong and people that will like them no matter who they are, it fell a bit short for me, especially in the fantasy part. The witches felt too much cliché for me and don't get me started on the love triangle which made me actually sigh out of frustration.

The writing of this - I suppose it's - Upper MG book was good, but the story didn't convince me as I hoped it would after reading a small part in the Buzz Books.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Cynthia (Bingeing On Books).
1,626 reviews118 followers
August 11, 2016
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This review might seem all over the place, but that's because the book was kind of all over the place. The beginning of this book was beautiful. I loved the writing and I absolutely loved all the talk of magic and two mothers loving the wrong baby. It started off amazing. I just wish the book had kept up that momentum.

So Poppy is a witch, but Emma's not. But since they are switched at birth, Poppy is raised by "chaffs" (witches' term for non witches) and Emma is raised by witches. Neither girl feels like they fit in. Poppy's mom is in an asylum because she had a breakdown or something and part of that was due to all the weird things that would happen around Poppy and she always knew something was different about her. Poppy goes from school to school because of all these weird things and her dad basically ignores her. I hated him a lot. Meanwhile, Emma doesn't have any of the powers that the witches around her have, so she gets bullied a lot. Her aunt Raven is the queen of the witches and the prophecy says either her daughter or her sister's daughter will be the next queen. Naturally, Raven wants it to be her daughter, Sorrel.

When Poppy and Emma met, I liked the friendship. I wanted to see Poppy learn about her powers and about magic from Emma. I wanted Emma to learn how to fit in from Poppy. Their friendship was sweet, but at some point it stopped being about the friendship and the magic and it started being about some guy, Leo. That's where the author lost me. First, Poppy liked him. Then Emma liked him. Leo liked Poppy, then he liked Emma. Then Poppy was going to "let" Emma have him because they're friends, then she was mad. Then Leo was using Emma to make Poppy jealous, then he actually liked her. Okay, you get how confusing that is right? In the meantime, all the magic and the world building with the coven that Emma lived with just got lost. Poppy borrowed magic books and learned about her powers away from Emma and they stopped spending time together. It was frustrating, especially with all the questions I had about the witches and their coven. One question was who were these witches procreating with? There were NO men in the village and women were given poison to get rid of the baby when it was a boy. Weird, right? So I just had no clue who fathered whom.

The whole "switched at birth" thing wasn't even very suspenseful because I knew that from the first chapter so it's really just a matter of waiting for the big reveal. Poppy's family was ridiculously neglectful so there was no emotion about potentially leaving them. And the ending for Emma was just anticlimactic. There was a struggle for power and some random clan trying to assassinate the real queen, but there was no suspense there either.

I did warn you about this review being all over the place. So basically a book that started about witches and magic and ended up being a love triangle with some cliche versions of witches thrown in every once in a while.

Profile Image for Aneta Bak.
417 reviews103 followers
May 23, 2017
Switched at birth, Poppy and Ember end up meeting in person and becoming friends. They both feel like outcasts from the society they have been placed in. Poppy feels like the troubled child, unable to control her magical power among her classmates and home life. Ember has no magical ability while living in a coven of witches. The two friends learn that they can understand each other, and help one another in a way that their society can't. That is, until a boy comes between them.

The Hawkweed Prophecy was really good in some aspects, but also kind of dull and boring at other parts.

Poppy and Ember are both really interesting main characters, and while I liked them, I didn't necessarily love them. I personally couldn't relate to them as I typically do with characters I love, which is one of the downsides in this book for me. Poppy is extremely strong and smart, although she can be very naive at times and doesn't necessarily do the right thing. Ember is such a sweetheart, she's really caring and kind but she's not the brightest. I'm hoping that the future books have a lot more character development.

There wasn't a lot of action at the beginning of the story, and while it was somewhat entertaining learning about the two girls, I would have loved to see more action to keep the reader entertained and more engaged in the story. The action definitely picked up after the half way point, and at this point I finished the book in one sitting. It's a fairly short and easy read.

Overall, I really did like this book, but unfortunately I just couldn't bring myself to love the characters and be fully engaged in the story. I'm hoping the next book has more character development and more exciting plot, maybe with a few twists.

Happy Reading,
Profile Image for The Books Blender.
693 reviews92 followers
December 13, 2016

Questa recensione è presente anche sul blog: http://thebooksblender.altervista.org...

- Ho ricevuto una copia di questo libro dalla casa editrice in cambio di un'onesta recensione -

La strega Raven Hawkweed ha lanciato un subdolo incantesimo: due neonate, nate nello stesso secondo della stessa ora, si scambieranno il posto, la madre, le famiglie. All'insaputa di tutti, tranne che della strega stessa.
Ma c'è una spiegazione a questa perfidia: una vecchia profezia predisse, infatti, che la figlia di Raven o quella di Charlock, sua sorella minore, sarebbe diventata regina. Ma Charlock, fino a quel momento, ha sempre partorito maschi e, nella congrega di cui fanno parte, non c'è posto per i maschi. Il guaio arriva nel momento in cui Charlock annuncia di essere nuovamente incita… ma stavolta di una femmina. E ché la figlia di Raven, Sorrel, non è quindi destinata a compire la profezia? Che si tratti della figlia ancora non nata di Charlock?
Questo non è possibile. Sua figlia è destinata alla grandezza e Raven è disposta a tutto per far sì che la ottenga.


Ovvio risultato dell'incantesi/maledizione di Raven è che le due ragazze si ritrovano in una vita che non è la loro: Poppy Hopper fa esplodere finestre e allarmi antincendio (e gli insegnanti pare diano la colpa a lei anche se non presente al momento del misfatto - o se è obiettivamente sovrannaturale considerarla colpevole - con la conseguenza che la ragazza frulla le scuole come una trottola impazzita); Ember Hawkweed, bionda e caruccia, si sente ovviamente come un elefante in una cristalleria nel villaggio delle streghe/hippy/gitane scure di capelli e poco pulite.

Lo scambio di culle, il vivere con una famiglia diversa da quella di origine, ma che ugualmente ama il nuovo nato come un membro effettivo è sicuramente una questione complessa, densa di sfaccettature, emozioni. Qui, tramite una serie di escamotage nemmeno troppo elaborati, si taglia la testa al toro rendendo pazza una delle due madri, inserendoci violazione di "codici" e destini ed eliminando così il problema alla radice. A questo punto, la secessione che avverrà nelle due famiglie sarà sostanzialmente indolore.

È un peccato perché la storia avrebbe potuto affrontare maggiormente e con più maturità una situazione del genere, confrontandosi con le difficoltà delle ragazze di scoprisi in un certo qual modo sorelle, d'aver vissuto una vita non loro, con delle persone che non sono i loro veri genitori ma che le hanno amate proprio come figlie. Invece qui è tutto gettato insieme molto alla rinfusa, senza troppa attenzione. In poche frasi viene risulto il "guaio", eliminati gli "oppositori", scontro con il destino ineluttabile e via.

La trama saltella tra trovate scontate, passaggi prevebidili e un'evidente goffaggine nel legare il tutto insieme.

L'amicizia tra Poppy e Ember parte molto bene. L'imbarazzo delle due ragazze nel rapportarsi con il loro mondo e il vedere nel mondo dell'altra una possibilie alternativa a tutti gli imbarazzi e le offese è un aspetto inizialmente curato, ma poi inciampa lungo il percorso più volte. Prima con lo scambio di tomi magici che porta a uno studio matto e disperatissimo (portando in secondo piano gli incontri delle due ragazze nel loro luogo segreto), poi con l'arrivo del giovin barbone che sconvolge gli animi delle fanciulle fuori contesto nei rispetti ambienti. Insomma, questa amicizia che le due ragazze sentono come eterna, voluta dal destino, fondamentale per entrambe, scivola inesorabilmente - e rapidissimamente - in secondo piano a favore di interessi evidentemente maggiori creando un'evidente incoerenza nei personaggi.

Stessa incoerenza la ritroviamo anche nel giovane barbone Leo che ruba i cuori di tutte, ma il suo - pare - appartiene solo a Poppy.

Non che gli adulti facciano una figura più coerente dei giovani. Raven, da grande strega del nord, si rivela essere solo una donnetta piccata e rancorosa, incape di guardare alle scorrettezze da lei commesse, ma pronta ad argersi a censore quando viene ripagata con la stessa moneta (anzi, per la verità, una moneta molto meno pesante). Charlock è la classica acqua cheta che rovina i ponti. E non parliamo dei genitori - adottivi - di Poppy: una è pazza e accusa quella che non riconosce come figlia propria di essere il diavolo; quell'altro se ne lava completamente le mani, facendo credere che l'ultimo spostamento di dimora sia causa della ragazza…

Insomma, il problema non sono le scelte dei personaggi - buoni o cattivi che siano -, quanto il processo che li conduce lì. Nessuno di loro è giustificato e comprensibile nel suo agire. La narrazione dice una cosa, presenta un determinato modo di essere del personaggio e, in conseguenza di ciò, gli fa anche dire determinate cose, ma poi tre pagine dopo tutto cambia senza alcuna spiegazione.

Pare quasi che al narratore onnisciente non interessi dare una coerenza logica ai suoi personaggi quanto che la storia vada in quella direzione e basta.

E, purtroppo, la storia risente di questa impostazione che poco si cura di dare coerenza narrativa. Molti passaggi sono scontati; molti eventi semplicistici e mal condotti (ad esempio, tutte le streghe avvertono quando una grande magia viene lanciata e sono anche in grado di individuare da chi è stata lanciata; tuttavia, quando la strega Raven lancia il primo incantesimo che dà il via a tutto... nessuno delle altre streghe del circolo se ne accorge?) piazzati lì solo per risolvere la storia. Mi spiace dirlo, ma il risultato finale mi pare molto raffazzonato e traballante.

La conclusione porta a evidenti postulati: accettazione passiva del proprio destino - per la serie: inutile combattere per cambiare le cose -, sola sei e sola sostanzialmente rimani, gli amici alla fine faranno a meno di te o comunque ti dimenticheranno in fretta.

Quando leggo narrativa per ragazzi sono propensa a non dare molto peso alla eventuale semplicità della trama o delle dinamiche tra i personaggi, perché credo che ciò a cui dovrebbe puntare questo genere lettarario è il messaggio al lettore. Un messaggio che deve contenere qualche traccia di istruzione, educazione, rivalsa, fiducia in se stessi, coraggio, etc.

Be', qui, se ho ben interpretato, il messaggio è: 1) non fidarti di nessuno, nemmeno dei tuoi stessi genitori perché pretermetteranno al tuo bene il loro interesse e 2) sei sostituibile.

Profile Image for Claire (Book Blog Bird).
1,052 reviews38 followers
June 12, 2016
3.5 stars

I received a copy of The Hawkweed Prophecy in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Hachette and Netgalley.

Poppy Hooper has always been an outcast. Unpopular and spooky, cats follow her wherever she goes and spiders weave beautiful webs in her honour.

Ember Hawkweed, too, doesn’t fit in. She’s a pitiful excuse for a witch and the secluded group of women and girls she lives with tolerate her at best.

Throw in a hotly-contested prophesy and a throne up for grabs and there’s the making of a dark, twisty fairy tale.

I quite enjoyed this story about two babies, switched at birth, growing into young women who are at odds in the societies they live in. Poppy was a very strong character - intelligent and capable, but vulnerable, too. Ember was okay, too, but possibly a bit too drifty and away with the fairies for me. There were parts where I kind of wanted to give her a good shake. However, I liked how they interacted with each other and I thought they both got a good ending.

This book also had some really interesting ideas about what about us is nature and what is nurture. Both girls tried desperately to fit into the families they had been born into and their desire to find a place where they would be accepted for who they were is a theme we see a lot in contemporary YA, so it was interesting to see it being given a magic realism twist.

The plot meandered around a bit as Poppy and Ember worked out who their true families were and both got involved with Leo. I really liked the back story of the witches’ coven - how they’d managed to stay hidden for centuries. Their history and practises were quite dark and creepy, as was the jostling for power around the prophesy and the throne.

I didn’t really get on board with the romance side of things. I thought Poppy was far too strong a character to get so moony over a boy (although I could totally see Ember drifting off into Instalove-Land). Also, Sorrel. She fell for him, too. What was it about this boy that he had three girls dying of love for him? He must have been one attractive homeless guy.

So, yeah. I think this book might have actually worked better without a romance element. The idea of a story where a bunch of fiercely strong women literally beating the shit out of each other with magic is fairly compelling.

All in all, a pretty good read.

This and other reviews can be found on my blog : Book Blog Bird
Profile Image for Esmee.
320 reviews17 followers
October 24, 2016
4/5 Hoewel ik wel wat dingen anders/uitgebreider had gezien, ben ik ontzettend dol op dit boek. Hoe kan dat ook anders, aangezien het over heksen gaat.
Profile Image for Mdg2810.
336 reviews17 followers
October 31, 2018
C’est une belle lecture même si ce n’est pas un coup de coeur. L’intrigue pourrait paraître banale au premier abord mais l’Autrice arrive à en faire quelque chose de surprenant. Très jolie plume tout en légèreté : assez de détails pour s’y croire sans que ce ne soit lourd et redondant.

Une chronique un peu plus longue est disponible ici: www.mellitdeslivres.fr
Profile Image for Marcella.
863 reviews59 followers
October 26, 2022
Het perfecte boek voor een stormachtige herfstdag. Ik heb hier echt van genoten.
(Behalve van de love triangle, die had van mij weg mogen blijven).
Profile Image for Chicky Poo.
711 reviews15 followers
May 21, 2020
J'ai beaucoup aimé ce roman, j'ai apprécié l'écriture de l'autrice et malgré des petites fautes et quelques longueurs parfois, j'en ressors avec l'envie de découvrir la suite rapidement !
Profile Image for Hannah (jellicoereads).
792 reviews153 followers
August 25, 2016
DNF @ 30%.

Unfortunately, this was one of those YA books with little cross-over appeal for adults, at least in my opinion. The synopsis intrigued me, and the prologue had me hopeful that this would an edgy, creepy read, but sadly I found it riddled with cliches and very much aimed at a teenage audience. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course – it’s the risk you take as an adult who enjoys a large amount of YA – but in this case, it didn’t work for me.

We have a girl who always knew she was different. We have another girl whose traditionally attractive traits make her “ugly”, a device which annoys me no end.

To fit in with her clan, you had to be strong and coarse like rope – but Ember’s curves were plump and soft as pillows. And if you wanted to fit in with the night, your hair had to be dark. Ember’s was like a lamp, lighting up her inadequacies for all to see.

There’s a sadistic, over-the-top villainous teacher:

Mrs Walters smirked at her, enjoying Poppy’s discomfort….Poppy shrugged. She stared at Mrs Walters, perched on the table so condescendingly…Mrs Walters rolled her eyes at the class in an exaggerated expression of exasperation…The teacher gestured to the heavens despairingly, an actress on her classroom stage.

And the writing is incredibly frustrating. Eye-rolling is a known gesture of exasperation. You don’t need to tell me that!

I was also unimpressed with the amount of naivety displayed by the characters, despite their age. Ember, who is supposed to keep the existence of her clan a secret, spills her guts at the first opportunity. Poppy meets a strange dude in the street, he appears outside her house the next day, and she’s completely cool with it, and invites him in. Self-preservation is lacking here. And then there’s the typical instal-connection, with sparks and electricity and the whole shebang. There’s a cringeworthy scene over the pizza:

They both went for the same piece and their skin touched accidentally, and he could swear he felt a charge of electricity and she felt it too as she sprang back. He took the pizza slice and gave it to her, then grabbed her wrist and held on. Her eyes fixed on his but she didn’t pull away. Slowly she put the pizza down so their hands could entwine.

Honestly, I felt more chemistry with the pizza than anything else.

Finally, there’s a love triangle, but at that point I had neither the energy nor the inclination to read further. Definitely not a book for me.

ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from uncorrected proof and may differ from final publication.
Profile Image for cocoline_reads.
100 reviews6 followers
March 15, 2017
Ich habe seit mehr als einem Jahr auf dieses Buch gewartet und konnte es nicht erwarten, es endlich in den Händen halten zu können, da Cover und Klappentext sehr vielversprechend
Die Geschichte wird abwechselnd von Poppy und Ember erzählt, was ich eine sehr gute Idee finde. Beide sind komplett gegensätzlich aber sympathisch und herzlich: Poppy ist aufbrausend und temperamentvoll, während Ember sehr ruhig und auch etwas in sich gekehrt ist. Die Unterschiede zwischen den beiden sind im weitern Verlauf der Geschichte wichtig und wurden auch sehr gut betont.
Die Charaktere der beiden waren gut ausgearbeitet, ich hatte sie beide sehr schnell vor Augen und konnte mir gut vorstellen, wie ihr Leben ablief.
Im Klappentext - der mich übrigens sehr angesprochen hat - wird erwähnt, dass die beiden bei ihrer Geburt vertauscht wurden und als Leser merkt man das auch sofort; Ember passt einfach nicht in die Welt der Hexen und das merkt sie auch selbst, während es bei Poppy vor allem am Anfang einfach sein könnte, dass es an ihr selber liegt, dass sie mit ihren Mitschülern nicht auskommt.

Der Verlauf der Handlung war sehr ruhig und ich persönlich hätte mir etwas mehr Bewegung in der Geschichte gewünscht. Es ist sehr wenig passiert, vor allem am Anfang plätscherte alles so ein wenig vor sich hin, hatte ich das Gefühl. Bis Poppy und Ember sich kennengelernt hatten, hat es etwas gedauert.
Den Schreibstil der Autorin habe ich als angenehm empfunden; es war auf jeden Fall eine tolle Atmosphäre zu spüren, als ob man die Geschichte nicht lesen, sondern von der Oma erzählt bekommen würde. Leider hat die Autorin aber auch öfters viele überflüssige Dinge beschrieben.
Insgesamt hat das Buch auf mich wie ein Märchen gewirkt, was ich ganz toll fand.

Zusammenfassend kann ich sagen, dass mich "Die Prophezeihung der Hawkweed" gut unterhalten hat, auch wenn das Buch ein paar Schwächen hatte. Ich denke, für jüngere Leser aber ist das Buch gut geeignet.
Ich vergebe drei Sterne.
Profile Image for Isaline's bookshelf.
229 reviews48 followers
July 22, 2022
Re-lecture : C'est toujours aussi bien j'aime vraiment l'ambiance, le mystère, les personnages, l'univers et l'idée même si je l'avais deviné. Je vais pouvoir lire le deuxième tome maintenant !

Avis Insta :

J'ai relu le premier tome de la duologie des sorcières du clan du nord pour pouvoir lire le second tome et c'est toujours aussi bien ! J'aime vraiment l'ambiance, le mystère, les personnages et l'univers tout simplement qu'Irena Brignull a créé.

On suit d'un côté Poppy qui vit en ville et se fait renvoyer de tous les lycées qu'elle fréquente ; et de l'autre, Clarée qui vit avec une tribu de sorcières et essaie de faire de la magie. Mais comme elles ont été échangées à la naissance, aucune d'entre elles ne s'adapte à l'endroit où elle se trouve. Poppy attire les chats et provoque des "accidents" partout où elle va ; Clarée ne sait pas faire de magie et fabrique plutôt du savon. Lorsque Poppy et son père déménagent dans une autre ville pour prendre un nouveau départ, elle va rencontrer Clarée et se lier d'amitié. Mais leur amitié peut-elle durer alors qu'elles apprennent la vérité sur elles-mêmes ?

L'histoire est extrêmement bien ficelée et on ne s'ennuie pas ! Je le qualifierais même de pageturner avec le mystère qui plane et l'envie de savoir ce qu'il va se passer. L'intrigue est au final simple et prévisible, mais largement plaisante ^^

J'aime le fait que la représentation féminine soit très forte et que Clarée n'ait jamais été déshonorée par le livre lui-même parce qu'elle n'a pas de pouvoirs magiques. Ce premier tome aborde l'amitié entre filles, la complexité de la rivalité familiale et le fait d'essayer de découvrir qui on est censé être. Le seul point négatif c'est qu'il y a encore une romance (qui de plus est très enfantine). J'ai vraiment l'impression que c'est une obligation dans les livres de Young adult et cela est fort regrettable...
Profile Image for Bene in love with books.
227 reviews73 followers
November 23, 2018
4.5 quasi. Un bellissimo libro sul potere Delle relazioni, amicizia e amore. Peccato che alla fine rimanga spezzato e abbastanza inconcludente. Tuttavia spero nel seguito ovviamente, perché possa soddisfare a pieno le mie aspettative.
Profile Image for Jessi (Novel Heartbeat).
952 reviews606 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 24, 2016
I was actually quite enjoying this book in the beginning. I found Irena's prose to be engaging and interesting, and I was super intrigued by the concept and the magic.

But, cat murder is a trigger for me. It's not something I want to read about. And this book went on and on and ON about it, in detail, for eleven pages before I just couldn't take it anymore. I was bawling when poor little Minx was brutally murdered. My heart can't take it, I don't even care how stupid that sounds to anyone else. I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT IT. Period.

After the mutilation I tried to continue. I did. But every time I picked it back up and it was mentioned yet AGAIN, I got upset all over again. I'm putting details in spoilers because I wouldn't want to read them if I hadn't already had to.
Profile Image for Emily.
715 reviews49 followers
September 26, 2016
The premise was interesting, but the insta-love for 3 girls for this one boy was a bit silly. It's like the author was saying, yes you could be all of these things, but BBBBBOOOOOOYYYYSSSSSSS...and you can't have both. WTF? Another reviewer mentioned that there seemed to be no reason for this story to have a love interest, and I have to agree because it seemed forced and painfully cliche. And this presence made no real sense - especially the "big revelation" about him that came as absolutely no surprise.
Profile Image for Harriet.
30 reviews
February 13, 2016
This was a wonderful story. Irena Brignull mixes spectacular magic with a fairly grim reality in a way that constantly surprises and challenges. I loved the dell, full of junk and abandoned things and the way Poppy copes with a miserable school life - by unleashing the most terrifying spells in the school library! The Hawkweed Prophecy gives a well-written, sensitive portrayal of three young adults coping with growing up, discovering who they really are and forming deep and lasting friendships.
Profile Image for nat..
383 reviews181 followers
October 30, 2017
the first time I tried reading this book, I was not feeling it. I thought I was gonna hate it.

but booooy was I wrong!

this was delightful. the world of the witches. Poppy and Ember learning about their true destinies.

all the cats!

it just had that dark, and twisted fairytale vibe that I loved.

also I’m not a huge fan of love triangles but this one didn’t bother much, which was a surprise. I was shook to learn that.

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