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The Witches of Eileanan

(The Witches of Eileanan #1)

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  5,700 ratings  ·  241 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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 411 pages
Published July 1st 1998 by Roc (first published January 1st 1997)
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Riverstar Eye - Leen - En (-or-) Eye - Lawn - En
Seems fairly pagan/Irish/Scottish to me. My middle name is Eileen which is pronounced like "Eye leen". I assume…more
Eye - Leen - En (-or-) Eye - Lawn - En
Seems fairly pagan/Irish/Scottish to me. My middle name is Eileen which is pronounced like "Eye leen". I assume the "nan" at the end would be said like the name Seanan.(less)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Kate Forsyth
Feb 12, 2010 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!
Lady Luna. ✨
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-books
Really looking forward to rereading this baby soon. Although it is no longer my 'favorite ever book' it's still a favorite & will also hold a very very special place in my heart forever. The only bad thing about this series is the dialogue but when you get used to it, you are seriously in for a special treat <3
Carolyn
Mar 10, 2014 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.
Hack
Oct 14, 2007 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
Apr 07, 2013 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.
Julie
Sep 02, 2007 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.
Doc Opp
May 01, 2007 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
...more
Eleanor Whitwell
Aug 25, 2012 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
Bob
Not that this is likely to surprise anybody, but I feel the need to preface this review with the fact that I read a lot. I’m usually juggling 2-3 review books at a time, with an electronic ARC I can read in bed while my Goddess sleeps and a physical paperback or hardcover I can read on the couch while the family watches TV. Even with all of that, though, I always have an mass-market paperback plucked from the shelves that I can carry everywhere, reading as I walk or while I stand in line. It’s ...more
Alkira
Aug 25, 2012 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
...more
Victoria Rose
May my heart be kind, my mind fierce, my spirit brave.


I’ll admit this was not so high on my tbr list, and I cannot for the life of me think WHY. It has all the things I like:

- Vague Scottish folklore
- Pagan-like witchcraft
- A Quest of Great Import
- DRAGONS
- Weird faery creatures
- A high spirited lady protagonist

This was a book with all the magic ingredients, although I wish I had discovered it a few short years ago in the height of my desperate love for magical-ladies-on-quests phase.
...more
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
...more
Glitterbomb
This is my go to series for when I'm feeling 'done' with the world. I read it through at least once a year and it never fails to cheer me up. They're tattered and worn and falling apart, but they hold so many memories. Its like visiting old friends, or putting on a favorite old sweater. They're comfort reads.

My mum bought me this book for my 15th birthday and I fell in love with each and every character. I hassled her relentlessly every time a new book came out, and to this day, if she spots it
...more
Phrynne
Feb 05, 2014 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 ...more
Anne
Mar 31, 2014 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
Anika Claire
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,
...more
Krystal
I still have a bookmark wedged in this one at page 162 but I don't see myself re-attempting it any time soon.

It's such a dull start and I HATE when spelling is forfeited to convey an accent; particularly here because I can't understand an Irish accent at the best of times. It took me so much extra effort to work out what they were saying.

There's a grand total of three characters, and they're dull and do dull things. I got as far as the old lady going to talk to a dragon but EHHHHHHHHH. Was not
...more
Jessica
Apr 15, 2012 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,
...more
Rach
Nov 13, 2014 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
...more
Blind_guardian
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As most people who know me know, I'm a Wiccan myself, albeit a very eclectic one, so I was fascinated about a fantasy world based on Wiccan magic and Celtic myth. In this book, the witches of Brittania fled the Roman invaders across worlds, crossing over to another world full of magic, fae and strange beasts of legend. They founded a society there untouched by Christianity, and the result is fascinating.

No Catholic Inquisition to dodge doesn't mean all's well in the land of the witches, however.
...more
Rebecca
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. It had magic and dragons and adventure. It was everything that I wanted in a book so I had a really great time reading it. I'm definitely keen on picking up the next book in the series sometime soon.
Alloychar
Nov 30, 2010 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 :(
Karissa
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This was a wonderful fantasy novel; it's very traditional swords and sorcery epic fantasy. This is the first of six books in the Witches of Eileanan series. Previous to reading this series I had read Forsyth’s Rhiannon’s Ride series (which I loved) and Bitter Greens (which I wasn’t able to finish). So I was pleasantly pleased when I enjoyed this book even more than the Rhiannon’s Ride series.

I loved all the interesting characters and world presented here. You switch viewpoint a lot but I was
...more
Shelby
I have put off reading this book for ages, for no apparent reason. It's one of the oldest books on my TBR and probably been on my bookshelf for even longer. That was a mistake. I really enjoyed this story. It was an interesting blend of Scottish/Irish lore and a new and fascinating fantasy world.

So this book isn't perfect of course, but I really enjoyed the elements in it. There were plenty of times I wanted to smack the characters upside the head and say think, but at the end of the day the
...more
Christina Rothfusz
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an epic fantasy tale and has all the normal ingredients.

A Foundling, raised by a powerful witch, her talent developing over time. A cruel and mysterious leader who persecutes all magical creatures with a very dark agenda. Dragons in uproar over the death of a pregnant Queen. Strange and new magical creatures.

I love stumbling over a (new to me) fantasy series and this one was a great find. I did struggle to find the story initially and found the build up over the first few paragraphs
...more
Riotkittin
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A nice book. Somewhat har to read for a non native English speaker. Some bits are glossed over in a way that bothered me and some bits could have been clarified in a better way. But that's really minor bits. It was an okay read, it could have been easier.
Michelle
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book!!! Oh m goodness. It’s a dream to read. Everything is amazing, from the world
Building to the character development to the original storyline. So much to praise!!

Jennifer Daniells
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had read Kate Forsyth's novels a while ago. I discovered Rhiannon's Ride years ago. I wanted to read fantasy and thought longingly of those books... and remembered that she had written a series that I should have technically read before Rhiannon's Ride. The Witches of Eileanan is an amazing coming of age story. I could not get enough of all the magical elements this book contained, and Kate Forsyth's story-telling is unreal. I loved the Celtic language that was infused within this book. I'm ...more
Tigress (Warrior Elf)
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Anne Bishop (in particular her Tir Alainn trilogy)
This book was really lovely. I don't really have much to say about it outside of that--it was lovely, the writing was beautiful, lots of talking animals and nature, and I really enjoyed all the Wicca/paganism, Celtic mythology, and Gaelic words. Also, lots of badass female characters. And matriarchal dragons. I'm mostly reviewing it to give a trigger warning, so others won't get freaked out the way I did, because the rape scene really just jumps out at you out of nowhere.

As I said the book was
...more
Ithlilian
Jan 11, 2011 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
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1,880 followers
Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling author of 40 books for both adults and children.

Her books for adults include 'Beauty in Thorns', the true love story behind a famous painting of 'Sleeping Beauty'; 'The Beast's Garden', a retelling of the Grimm version of 'Beauty & the Beast', set in the German underground resistance to Hitler
...more

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)
“May my heart be kind, my mind fierce, and my spirit brave.” 170 likes
“To light a candle is to cast a shadow” 14 likes
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