Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: Green Heart (Green Angel & Green Witch)

Green Heart (Green Angel & Green Witch), by Alice Hoffman. The GoodReads summary:
When her family is lost in a terrible disaster, 15-year-old Green is haunted by loss and the past. Struggling to survive in a place where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings, she also begins to destroy herself. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters that Green relearns the lessons of love and begins to heal as she tells her own story.

As she heals, Green lives every day with feelings of loss. Her family is gone, the boy she loves is missing, and the world she once knew has been transformed by tragedy. In order to rediscover the truth about love, hope, and magic, she must venture away from her home, collecting the stories of a group of women who have been branded witches for their mysterious powers. Only through their stories will Green find her own heart's desire.
So the book’s called “Green Heart,” but it’s actually a compilation of two novels, “Green Angel” and its sequel, “Green Witch.” Both of the two novels are short, like less than 150 pages, so reading them together was basically the same as reading one full-length book. In Green Angel, Green is dealing with the grief of losing her family and slowly finding her way back to herself. In Green Witch, she’s searching out the women known as the Enchanted and ends up on a mission she wasn’t expecting. The stories pull together elements from both the dystopian and fairy-tale fantasy genres, which was a bit of an unusual mix, but it worked for me.

So now that those explanations are out of the way, can I just fangirl over this book a bit? Cuz I liked it quite a lot. First off, the writing was dang gorgeous. Writing styles that draw attention to themselves can go either way for me, but in this case, I thought it shaped the atmosphere and tone of the story really well. It made me feel like I was being told a story, rather than simply reading one. And speaking of stories, the plots of these two novels clicked with me. They aren’t super complex or detailed or anything—after all, the two books are short. But despite that, they feel complete and satisfying and not at all simple. Plus, I’m a sucker for stories about girls who have hit rock bottom but manage not only to survive but to bloom, despite their circumstances.

I don’t have that much more to say, actually. Some books just reach me on a level that I can’t express with words. And I’ll admit that elements of these two stories reminded me a little of certain Robin McKinley books, and once that connection was made, no matter how tenuous, my adoration of these books was pretty much cemented. But Robin McKinley aside, these are wonderful stories in their own right.

Overall, two gorgeous stories that I totally fell in love with. I was trying to decide if I prefer one over the other, but nope—I love them both. They’re both quiet stories, but Green Angel is especially so, since it focuses on Green’s inner journey while Green Witch deals with an actual physical journey. So actually, having both novels together in one book was really nice, because together they have a good balance. Anyway, moral of the story, I wholeheartedly recommend both.

Rating: 4.5 / 5


  1. These stories sound exactly like my kind of thing. The fact you've given the 4.5 says a lot!

  2. This sounds really interesting. I don't think I've read anything like a dystopian/fairy tale mix. :)

  3. I'm so surprised I haven't heard of this one before! I love how it's two short stories into one, I haven't read something like that. I'm glad the writing was able to be so resonant with you, and the MC sounds equally as fantastic!

    Lovely review, Karen! <3


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