Witch of Ware Woods by Sonja F. Blanco
Updated: Apr 21
Five Star Review! 5/5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Hey, readers! It is time for another great book review! Grab your tea and your cozy spot. Let’s dive in!
I was truly excited to read this new book by Sonja F. Blanco. I am drawn to most YA Fantasy books about magic and witches. (Go figure, right?) What I did not expect was to be hooked on this book from the start. Usually, it takes me a few chapters in to get interested in a read. This was NOT the case with this read. But first let me give you a bit of a summary from the Author.
Dark secrets. Dangerous power. And a fate bound to a forest entwined with magic.
Eighteen-year-old Sara is not normal, and she’s losing her grip on hiding her inexplicable power. Hunted by a dark witch and facing devastating losses, Sara finds refuge in Ware Woods—a spellbinding forest protected by witches, shapeshifters . . . and thorny secrets. Here she discovers true magic and an electric connection with Thomas, a wickedly charming and equally headstrong witch from a dangerous family.
But Sara is an outsider who has brought darkness and a fatal prophecy to the forest. To prove she belongs in Ware Woods, Sara is tested and pushed to master new magics, all while concealing the monstrous force that makes her undeniably different.
As the dark witch closes in on her and an insidious blight threatens Ware Woods, Sara must release her full power—and either save the forest and everyone she loves or destroy everything.
When I began to read, Witch of Ware Woods, there was no real expectation. I came into the book with a small idea of what it was about. The beginning of the book became really clear that it was not just a normal quick read. This book was something so much more. It is not often that I find myself in my old teenage reading feels. A young girl sitting back reading a fantasy book without any knowledge of the world she is about to enter. A young heart eager for knowledge on falling in love, self-confidence, and balancing life. I remember that feeling being young and getting into more detailed books of love and fantasy. The main character (MC) Sara was so relatable from the very beginning. Her constant battle between her abilities and her need to figure out if she was evil was intriguing. I kept reading every day after the kids went to sleep. I wanted to read this book for myself and for my daughter who is thirteen. I Eventually it became so intense I began to just read for the fun of it. You know that moment when a book has your full undivided attention. The more I read of the story the more I began to remember a part of my old self. The young teenage girl I used to be who could not stand to close a book. The girl who hated to stop to eat because she just “had” to know what was going to happen next. This book made me feel that way again. It reminded me of why I enjoy reading as a hobby. It reminded me why I write and why it is important I never lose sight of the young girl in my heart. Her magic that she was capable of doing was astounding and very intense. I enjoyed reading how she would learn to use them and discover any new ones that lay under the surface. I think my favorite part of the book initially was when she first got to Ware Woods. Sonja did an amazing job at building this forest and visually creating this world for her characters. I can tell that she spent time on creating each section of the forest until every inch of it was just as real to her as it was for us the reader. The description of the trees and the homes were so vivid I could almost see them in my mind’s eye. She basically did what a painter does on a canvas, but she did so with her words. I most enjoyed reading about each relative and person who lived inside the forest. It was very reminiscent to Twilight, when Jacob’s family was introduced. But to me this story does a better job with a back story for everyone. It’s as if Sonja understands exactly how important it is for the reader to know everyone and how deeply connected, they are. I think that is why she chose trees as the main focus because trees are deeply rooted and connected to the Earth. They are strong and steadfast. They provide shelter and comfort on rainy days. Family that is there for you with love so big can do the same thing. Family that is strong like an Oak tree for example, can make anyone fight for their home and for those they love. Sara continued to fight with the monsters within herself through the book, but it was not written in a way that would be annoying or repetitive. The buildup of her frustration within herself and her situation was a natural one which made the book more believable. The pain she felt during a really hard time in the book was also just as raw as loss would be. Loss is dirty, it is messy, it is anger, and it is pain. Sara felt all of those things and she pushed through them. I appreciated that message within this book as well, and I think young readers will find comfort in the story line. Now, I cannot write a review without addressing the love interest of the book.
Thomas! Someone go get me a spray bottle of water, because those pages were steamy! Now wait a minute, steamy for a YA Fantasy steamy. There was a wonderful amount of chemistry, flirtation, and such between Sara and Thomas but I feel like it was done in a very tasteful way. Even the steamiest scene was done eloquently, and I feel like it would be okay for my daughter to read in a year or so. The way the relationship develops over time for those two is equally as entertaining as it is captivating. The way she wrote Thomas’s dad was an amazing addition as well as his sister. I enjoyed watching her fight back towards Kane, and her ability to stand up for herself. I found myself wanting to know more about them and what was going to happen. Every day was a new discovery and a new lesson. As a parent I would rate the love interest part of the book about a PG rating. It wasn’t as inappropriate as most and that was very refreshing. I like books my daughter can safely read off the YA shelf in our library.
If you are looking for a YA book with a good villain, well this book has that too. When reading the book, you begin to feel a darkness looming the pages. I felt like something big was coming and Sara the main character did too. The villain in this book was written so well that I truly hated him. Like I LOATHED him. What a jerk guy. I cannot tell you more than that without spilling the tea too much and ruining a good surprise. There was also Kane which was Thomas’s father. He was not the kindest person in book, and he gave me Snape vibes. His distrust in Sara most of the book and his harshness towards his children made me furious at times. I did not understand how he could have been so cold. Alas, this is true with most of the people of the world, isn’t it? Last and final villain
review was the evil, dark witch that seemed to lurk in the shadows. I will not provide any more information other than the fact that she was really nasty. However, just like life, everyone is not going to be kind, or easy to be around. As far as villains go, I believe the ones in this forest were stellar. But in a very good way.
The battle of good versus evil in this book was HOLY RABIES! Talk about holding my breath and flipping pages! I could not read this book fast enough. I was actually getting mad at myself for not being able to read as fast as I wanted to know what was happening next. I remember getting angry and upset during certain highs and lows. If the Author wanted to wrap me up into a bundle of feelings, well she succeeded. I was a freaking mess! At once point my kids came into the room and asked me if I was okay. LOL Yes, Mom is okay. Mom is just worried about Sara and her not DYING! If you like a book that has good imagery and heated emotions of conflict than this one is totally it. I felt it all. And I liked it.
Overall, Witch of Ware woods gets a FIVE STAR RATING. If I could give it more than that I certainly would do so! Sara was an inspiring character, and it was a joy watching her grow. There were times that I wanted to reach into the book and scream at her. All the while I kept reaching for the book to keep reading. It is not often that you find a book that reminds you of who you used to be before the world got heavy. This book was a refreshing read in such a way that it lit a spark inside my heart. I needed this book to stumble on to my path. I needed the reminder that all good stories start with a little magic and a lot of love. Sonja embodied both of these in a very beautiful way. I recommend this book to anyone looking to feel that feeling again. That joy of reading and the quest to find out more. This book does all that and more. I cannot wait to see what happens next in the series.
You guys can mark me down as Ware Woods fan for life.
Sonja, thank you again for the spark I needed and the honor of reading your book. May you always find comfort in the rubies of life. And the people in it that make it worth fighting for.
More about the Author:
Sonja F. Blanco and I met on Instagram many moons ago. We share similar witchy passions. We both enjoy trees and nature. She is truly someone that I’ve come to look up too and admire. She grew up in New England where she ran barefoot through the woods, chased lightning bugs, and tapped maple trees for syrup.
Having an ancestor who was hung as a witch, Sonja is naturally drawn to all things magical and fantastical—trees and cemeteries in particular.
At 5’2” she is often caught climbing tables, chairs, and small children to reach the upper shelves. She likes coffee and tea equally, both of which most certainly contributed to her diminutive stature. She writes fantasy as if it were real, because believing makes it so.
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