“Aster’s parents have finally agreed that he can learn witchery with the girls, but he has a lot of catching up to do. So when Grandmother offers her tutoring in exchange for a favor, Aster jumps at the chance – until she asks him to help his great-uncle, Mikasi. Family or no, Aster isn’t ready to face the beast who nearly destroyed him and his cousins. Across town, dark magic has attached itself to Aster’s friend, Charlie. Witches are taught to never create a “Fetch,” a cruel shadow form that only does harm. But the thing following Charlie is a clear sign that someone is breaking the rules. With the help of his family, Aster does everything he can to protect Charlie. But to discover who’s making the Fetch and put a stop to it, he’ll need darker, more powerful magic – from the most dangerous witch he knows.”
-Synopsis from inside front cover
I always look forward to reading seasonal graphic novels this time of year, and this month I’ll be reviewing witchy ones in particular. I’ll be posting them throughout the month of October.
*light spoilers below*
The Hidden Witch is book two in The Witch Boy series. You can take a look at my review of The Witch Boy from last year, for a recap on Aster and his story thus far.
In The Hidden Witch, Aster has finally started taking magic lessons but he doesn’t feel that he’s learning as much as he could. His grandmother offers to help him catch up, and in exchange Aster much help her heal Mikasi, who turned into a monstrous being after becoming filled with hate as a child. Aster’s grandmother expects him to connect with Mikasi and help him heal from his trauma, which is a lot to expect for a kid and felt inappropriate to me.
Aster’s friend Charlie, a non-witch, makes a new friend at school with a mysterious past. When Charlie is targeted by an evil dark spirit, she goes to Aster and his grandmother for help. The spirit, a shadow creature called a “fetch” is created by a witch’s unchecked hatred and anger. Similar to what happened to Mikasi, there is a witch out there who’s anger is growing stronger by the day and the Fetch will take over if something isn’t done about it.
If this sounds like a promising premise to the sequel, I have to be honest it fell flat for me. It reminded me too much of the plot of The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow by Emma Steinkellner, which I reviewed last week. In that book, the concept of a witch’s shadow and alter ego was much more fleshed out and the plot was more compelling.
It’s possible that the simplicity of The Hidden Witch would make it better for younger readers. However, it didn’t grab me as much as I wish it had. I still plan to read the third book in the series, The Midwinter Witch, soon.