I was pretty excited to read this book because I love the TV show it’s supposedly a prequel to, and thankfully my disappointment over this book hasn’t made me love the show any less.
It’s the summer before her sixteenth birthday, and Sabrina Spellman knows her world is about to change. She’s always studied magic and spells with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda. But she’s also lived a normal mortal life – attending Baxter High, hanging out with her friends Susie and Roz, and going to the movies with her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle.
Now time is running out on her every day, normal world, and leaving behind Roz and Susie and Harvey is a lot harder than she thought it would be. Especially because Sabrina isn’t sure how Harvey feels about her. Her cousin Ambrose suggests performing a spell to discover Harvey’s true feelings. But when a mysterious wood spirit interferes, the spell backfires in a big way.
Sabrina has always been attracted to the power of being a witch. But now she can’t help wondering if that power is leading her down the wrong path. Will she choose to forsake the path of light and follow the path of night?
My overall feelings toward this book can be summed up in one word: meh.
I really love the Netflix original The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I love the dark humor, the creepy atmosphere, the bits of drama mixed in with the witchiness, and the plotlines of each episode and how they connect to the larger plot of the series.
This book didn’t have any of that.
Season of the Witch is set up a bit uniquely. The chapters alternate between black letters on white pages and white letters on black pages. The white pages are told from Sabrina’s POV whereas the black pages alternate POV between the other characters from Nick, the woods, Prudence, Tommy Kinkle, Roz, Susie, Zelda, Hilda, Ambrose, Father Blackwood, and more. The alternating chapters themselves weren’t irritating but the white words on black pages were difficult to read at times.
The book tries to give us some spooky vibes with the black pages but it ultimately falls short of the TV show. It was nice to get into some of the secondary characters’ heads and explore a bit more of the setting, but the book itself didn’t really have any plot, creepy atmosphere, dark humor, or anything that I really love about the show. The setting, characters, and basic premise were all the same but I didn’t feel the execution really added anything to my love of the series. It felt like the author was trying to get us to the show’s level but the characters felt flat, the lack of plot made me bored, and the writing itself wasn’t really anything special.
Although the writing wasn’t anything special, it wasn’t exactly bad. The author didn’t extremely change the setting, characters, or motivations of the characters. Like I mentioned earlier, it was honestly a bit fun to get into the characters’ heads (particularly Prudence, Ambrose, and Zelda), though it didn’t really seem like the author 100% captured the personalities of their on-screen counterparts.
So, I give Season of the Witch 3 stars. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. It doesn’t add anything to the show that I couldn’t live without and seems to be more of an echo of what the show is. It also doesn’t really feel like a prequel. Yes, the events in the book take place before the events of the show, but the lack of anything really happening made it feel more like a random snippet of Sabrina’s life rather than a true prequel that adds to the world and the characters. I was hoping it would help tide me over until season 3 comes out, but it just made me want to rewatch the series to really get into the atmosphere of the show again.
I can’t say I would recommend this book, but if you want to know more about the secondary characters or get a small taste of the world while we wait for season 3 this might be a good read for you. I’ve seen a lot of reviewers who really like the book, so you might too! Just go into it knowing it doesn’t pack the same punch as an episode of the show.