The Witches at the End of the World

Sourcebooks Landmark. Oct. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781728275789. pap. $16.99. FANTASY
DEBUT Thirteen years ago, Kaija and Minna watched their mother burn to death in their coastal Norwegian village, for practicing witchcraft. They spent the next decade hiding with their grandmother deep in the birchwood forest and learning more about the magic flowing through their veins. The sisters grow up to be young women, and Kaija announces her plan to return to their family’s village. Minna, in a fit of rage, curses the village and starts a harmful cascade of unintended consequences. The sisters serve as predictable foils to each other: Minna, impetuous and volatile, would rather die than give up her witching, and Kaija, eager for acceptance, suppresses her magic in order to fit in with the villagers. There is a gratifying symmetry to their relationship throughout the book that supports their otherwise unsatisfying character development as they each deal with the consequences of Minna’s curse.
VERDICT Iversen’s debut may appeal to fans of The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow and For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten, but unfortunately, this take on the village witch hunt doesn’t have the same depth of character or engaging conflicts.
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