The Hawkweed Prophecy and The Hawkweed Legacy by Irena Brignull
Published June 16th, 2016 and August 15th, 2017
I received copies of this series in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads synopsis of The Hawkweed Prophecy:
Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn’t lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don’t belong and seeking escape.
Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they’ve never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other.
Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world. Enter Leo, a homeless boy with a painful past who – befriending them both – tests their love and loyalty. Can Poppy and Ember’s friendship survive? And can it withstand the dark forces that are gathering?
Goodreads synopsis of The Hawkweed Legacy:
Poppy is discovering a purpose for her powers in Africa, but she is haunted by a vision of her own death. Taken in by a boy and his great-grandmother, a healer, they vow to keep her safe-even if that ultimately means holding her captive. But Poppy never stops longing for Leo and, when she feels his magic begin to spark, she will do anything to be reunited with him.
Desperate to regain Poppy’s trust and bring her home, Charlock embarks on a plan to reunite Leo with his mother. What Charlock doesn’t foresee are the string of consequences that she sets into motion that leave Ember all alone and prey to manipulation, the clan open to attack from other witches, Sorrel vulnerable to Raven’s ghost, Betony determined to protect her son from his father’s fate, and which leave both Leo and Poppy in terrible danger.
I rated both The Hawkweed Prophecy and The Hawkweed Legacy 4/5 stars on Goodreads.
This review, like all of my reviews, is spoiler-free.
The Hawkweed Prophecy and The Hawkweed Legacy tell the story of Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed, two girls switched at birth by Poppy’s evil aunt because of her jealousy. Why switch an innocent human girl and her unassuming niece at birth? Well, Poppy is destined to become queen of the witches and Raven would much rather see her daughter, Sorrel, on the throne. (Side note: these details are not spoilers. They’re given in the description of the book.)
Poppy and Ember are drawn together by forces larger than themselves, causing their peaceful lives to collide and shatter. They begin to wonder why they both feel out of place and alone in their respective worlds. Poppy, prone to accidents that can’t be explained, and Ember, the witch with no abilities, inadvertently expose a conspiracy to keep Poppy from claiming her crown. And then things get messy.
On top of trying to determine which life she wants to have, Poppy falls in love with a human boy named Leo. As if her life weren’t complicated enough, Poppy learns that she and Leo cannot be together because witches are forbidden from having relationships. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a character who walked away from true love because it was “forbidden.” You can guess what Poppy does next.
This modern fantasy duo was a lovely combination of the witchy magic we know and love with a handful of grit and a sprinkle of fate. The earthy, gritty magic practiced by the witches in this series was unlike any I’d ever read before. The witches confine themselves to their camp, living off of what nature provides and avoiding contact with any human life, especially men. These women share a sisterly bond that’s tough to break and made me feel like a sister as well.
I wholeheartedly enjoyed the entire cast of characters not because they were perfect, but because none of them were truly likable. They were all flawed beyond repair, but it made them unique and realistic. Reading characters with whom I could identify so easily enhanced my reading experience and made me want to wrap up everyone in one giant hug.
Brignull switches perspectives often in these books, recounting both past and present while changing the central character in each chapter. In The Hawkweed Prophecy, the chapters were not labeled, which wasn’t a terrible setback but did leave some detective work to the reader. However, the chapter labels in The Hawkweed Legacy made reading a much easier experience and allowed Brignull to easily describe both past and present events.
The frequent change in perspective did leave some to be desired. After investing so much time reading these books, I felt as if I were only reading half of each story rather than a cohesive work.
Brignull ameliorated this by making the writing style rather synonymous so we switched plot lines with each change in chapter, but not style. Artistically, this definitely felt like the right choice for telling a story with so many facets. This also created an abundance of dramatic irony, which had me gripped with anticipation as I approached the climax. I knew what was coming, but I didn’t know when.
The development of Poppy and Leo’s romance was undoubtedly swoon-worthy. Their personalities complemented each other beautifully because they brought out the best and the worst in each other. Poppy and Leo exposed each other’s flaws, making them see even more human than before. The speed at which they fell in love felt somewhat unrealistic for two teenagers, but the magic involved justified it. If it’s true love, why not fall in love fast?
Similar to Poppy and Leo’s romance, the pacing of the book was definitely speedy. This pace was entirely necessary because of the width of perspectives that Brignull had to cover. We learned important snippets of information about each character and then learned another important snippet about another character. This format made for an interesting complexity about the story and gave me as the reader a plethora of opportunities to fill in the blanks and personalize the reading experience.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Hawkweed Prophecy and The Hawkweed Legacy. This duo was packed with interesting, complex characters and a story just as dynamic. If you love a modern fantasy with an adorable romance and fantastically earthy magic, these are the books for you.
Have you read The Hawkweed Prophecy series?