I have been looking forward to this book for some time, I love Molly Ostertag’s work, so I was very delighted to see a new book by her. And about witches/magic! About friendship! About finding who you are and where you belong
I liked Aster from the start. He was an interesting character, and I loved that he didn’t let anyone deter him from learning magic. He just kept on trying, either by hiding in trees, or by climbing high up so he could peek into a classroom. But you could see that this sneaky behaviour wasn’t making him happy. All he wanted was to sit with those girls and also learn this magic.
Yes, throughout the story you can see him grow increasingly sadder as he knows that he will probably just have to find a way to shapeshift, even though he doesn’t want to. I just wanted to hug him.
Thankfully, Aster makes a friend. A human girl named Charlie. Even with her broken leg she keeps doing things (and I was shaking my head when we learned how she broke that leg of hers…. Girl, please). I didn’t always like Charlie. When she was practically demanding that Aster fixes her leg with his magic, and then didn’t want to understand that this isn’t just done with a bit of hocus pocus… But she was also a sweet girl and I loved how supportive she was to Aster, but also how Aster was supportive of her. Because just like Aster, Charlie isn’t happy with how roles are set in society. She wants to do sports but her school but the school is stopping with the co-ed stuff, boys get more. Throughout the book we see Charlie and Aster grow closer. Their friendship was just wonderful, and I loved what Charlie did for Aster in the latter parts of the book (with the whole end battle).
The story in the book was wonderful. At first we mostly have Aster and his wish to learn magic, but then the story takes for a turn when boys disappear. When a “demon” appears before Aster the story becomes more exciting. Will Aster accept the offer? Or will he save his nephews/family from that demon with the magic he learned? And no, I won’t spoil what happens. Just read the book.
The end was brilliant (and really exciting, I already couldn’t stop reading, well I was stuck like glue now), I also like the confirmation we got from the demon about Aster.
I was pissed at the parents/clan. I can imagine that they have set roles for females and males, but I think they should also make exceptions if a kid turns out to have a different talent. Not every boy or girl will fit the role set for them. Really, eventually they had living proof of these roles bringing harm, and even then it was hard to get it through their heads that it was a bad idea to force roles on people. I just wanted to shake them a bit, point at the proof, ask them if they want this for Aster. Plus given what happened to those boys, I think that it may be wise for fathers to help out the boys a bit more instead of just telling them it will happen.
Plus I found it urgh that the kids were bullying him because he was different and that none of the adults apparently cared about.
The art was just fabulous. Then again, that isn’t too surprising, I have loved her art for some time now. The art also tells the story, I think that even if one would leave out the text, that they can still get the story. I loved the design of the evil creature (or demon as I would call it). Especially after you find out more about it, it just fits better and better with it.
All in all, I do hope we will be getting more Aster and his family, more Charlie, more adventures, and I do hope that if we do get more Aster that we will also see him finally learn magic the legal/right way. 😛 He deserves that!
And of course I would highly recommend this book to everyone. It is gorgeous, atmospheric, fun, beautifully drawn, has great characters.