The Hedgewitch of Foxhall

HarperTeen. Mar. 2024. 400p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063083578.
Gr 9 Up–Ffion lives her life as a Hedgewitch, fueling her magic by gathering from nature, unlike the Foxhall coven who destroy for their gains. All magic is fading within Wales, and neighboring kingdoms are on the brink of war. King Cadell tasks his two sons with destroying the enemy King Offa’s wall, believing that this could bring back magic and aid their cause. Whichever son completes this mission first will become his heir to the throne. Prince Taliesin, who would prefer magic not return, finds himself teaming up with Ffion to bring down the wall. Prince Dafydd, the favored son, half-heartedly makes an attempt as he wants to live simply and not as King. Bright’s writing weaves together multiple aspects of Welsh folklore, which provides a distinctive setting. Readers may struggle however with some of the character, creature, and location names, even with the provided pronunciation guide. The magic system is well thought out and described; however, the same cannot be said for the overall arc of the plot. The characters’ relationships with one another fuel the story, but there is little depth given to each individual. The multiple points of view make it challenging to really get to know them beyond the surface level.
VERDICT Fans of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle or Catherine Bakewell’s Flowerheart may enjoy this one, but it’s not recommended for general fantasy readers.

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