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The War of the Witches by Maite Carranza

The War of the Witches (2005)

by Maite Carranza

Other authors: Noël Baca Castex (Translator)

Series: Anaid (1)

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English (5)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 5 of 5
Le streghe: personaggi inquietanti per la loro accezione negativa e per i ricordi d'infanzia legati alle paure provocate dalle fiabe o dalle minacce di un genitore portato allo stremo (guarda che arriva la strega a ti porta via!). Qui ci sono quelle cattive, ma anche quelle buone. Ci sono pure fantasmi, mutaforma, animali strani, mondi paralleli. C'è anche il passaggio, brusco, dalla fanciullezza all'età adulta. C'è il coraggio di una figlia che farebbe di tutto per salvare la madre.
Tre stelle (bello) perché mi è piaciuto tanto, pur senza lasciarmi affascinata: qualche durezza nella lettura, un personaggio un po' tropo stereotipato e pedante, una protagonista fin troppo perfetta, ma sono dettagli. ( )
  LaPizia | Aug 3, 2017 |
Che il Clan della Lupa fosse un bestseller in Spagna era risaputo. Ma che fosse anche così bello e coinvolgente per me è stata un'autentica sorpresa! Comprato per sfida (non amo romanzi sulle streghe in genere) si è rivelato un ottimo investimento! Lo sfondo storico su cui si svolge l'intera storia è molto bello ed avvincente, ma soprattutto non scontato! La crescita di Anaid da bambina piccola e bruttina a giovane strega nel pieno dei suoi immensi poteri è graduale e coinvolgente. Finalmente un'eroina nuova, appassionata! Ragazzi, fidatevi, non è possibile non amare questo libro! ( )
  Nasreen44 | Jun 8, 2017 |
Originally published in Spain as La Guerra de las Brujas: El Clan de la Loba ("The War of the Witches: The Clan of the She-Wolf"), this young adult fantasy from Catalan author Maite Carranza is the first in a trilogy of books setting out the epic tale of a conflict between two rival witch clans, the Omars and the Odish, and the journey of the Chosen One - the long-awaited witch whom prophecy foretold would bring about an end to their eons-long magical war. Although both descended from the great mother witch, O, through her two daughters, Om and Od, and their daughters, Oma and Odi (both Om's daughters, in reality), the Omars and Odish were as different as night and day. The Omars, divided after all these many millennia into animals clans, were descended from Om and Omi, and were mortals. Although gifted in diverse magics, they refused to use their enchantment for personal gain, or to take vengeance upon others, and kept their lives as witches a secret. The Odish, by contrast, were descended from Od and Odi, and although fewer in number than the Omars, were terribly powerful, for they had devoted themselves to becoming immortal, preserving their lives at a terrible cost, and using their magic unsparingly, in the pursuit of their own ends.

Unaware of this long history, and of her family's place in it, young Anaíd Tsinoulis had grown up in Urt, a small village in the Pyrenees. But when her beautiful and vivacious mother, Selene, went missing, she was suddenly catapulted into a world she never knew existed: a world of women, wild magic, and wolves. For Anaíd, like her mother Selene and grandmother Deméter before her, was of the She-Wolf Clan, and like them, she had an important role to play in the larger fate of the Omars. As she slowly began to learn of the history of her kind, and to master her growing magical powers, Anaíd also learned of her missing mother's destiny, as the Chosen One. Had Selene been kidnapped by the Odish, led by the terrible Countess, and her lieutenant, Salma, who were intent on harnessing her power as the scepter-holder? Or had she gone willingly, in exchange for wealth, beauty and youth, thereby betraying the Omars? Could Anaíd find her, in the depths of the Dark World, and bring her home? Or would Aunt Criselda, and the other Omar matriarchs, convinced of her guilt, get to her first...?

Chosen as our October selection, in the International Children's Book Club to which I belong, War of the Witches is a book I had a great deal of trouble finishing, despite some good qualities, and I have been at a little bit of a loss as to how to rate and review it. First though, the good. I really liked the ideas behind this story, and the mythology that Carranza constructed for her witchy world. The overarching story of O and her descendants, specifically the burgeoning conflict between good witch Om and bad witch Od, is strongly reminiscent of a similar mythology used by American author L.J. Smith, in her Night World books. In the Night World universe, two ancient witches, Maya and Hellewise, gave rise, with their very different philosophies and actions, to two separate magical races: the lamia, or vampires, and the hearth-women, or witches. Maya, the very first vampire in Smith's cosmology, made herself immortal by sacrificing another, and drinking her blood, just as Od did in Carranza's mythology. The Odish are clearly meant to be vampiric, something revealed not just by the fact that they feed on the blood of others - and specifically, on the blood of young Omar witches - and thereby gain power and immortality, but on the oblique references, in the conversation between Selene and the Countess, to the (real life) Hungarian countess, Elizabeth Báthory ("Aren't you known as 'the bloody Countess?'... According to literature, you slaughtered more than six hundred young girls in your Hungarian castle").

This decided similarity, in the foundational mythology of Carranza and Smith's series - the existence, in each, of two magical races, one witchy, and the other vampiric (even if not called that), descended from two ancient witch sisters who came into conflict with one another - was quite interesting to see, and made me wonder: had Carranza read Smith's work at some point, and been influenced by it? Was the similarity entirely coincidental? (It's not inconceivable that two authors could both envision such a world). Or were both drawing on some other source - perhaps mythological? - unknown to me? Just as these questions, raised by such parallel themes, were of interest, so too were those motifs unique to Carranza's work, specifically, the Iberian mythology upon which she was clearly drawing. I'm not as familiar with this material, although I recognized terms like anjanas (a kind of fairy creature, from the mythology of the Celtic-influenced Cantabrian region of Spain), and names like Gargoris and Habis (some kind of epic legend from the area...?), and was immediately struck with a desire to know more about this folk tradition.

I was also struck by the strongly matriarchal aspect of Carranza's world. This is a world of women - not just run by women, but of women, and as far as I was able to ascertain, men had little to no role in it. All the major characters were female, and the central conflict, involving Anaíd's quest to find Selene, was focused on the mother-daughter bond, rather than on any kind of romantic entanglement (as has become all too common in quite a bit of fantasy fiction being written for young adults these days). The other relationships - between Anaíd and her great Aunt Criselda, between Anaíd and the seemingly odious Clodia - are also squarely in a woman's world, and while males do enter into the narrative from time to time, as husbands, boyfriends, or crushes, they seem to be kept in the dark, as to what is really going on.

These themes and motifs, some familiar and some unfamiliar, made War of the Witches an interesting read, but unfortunately, they couldn't make it a particularly congenial one, and that brings me to the bad. First, the writing is uneven, veering between rather pedestrian contemporary teenage issues - Anaíd's despair at her looks, or at her social ineptitude - and sweeping fantastic ones. Of course, there's nothing to say that a story can't address both aspects of the heroine's experience, but somehow the two components never seemed to fit very well together. Anaíd's transformation, from a girl who doesn't even know that she is a witch, to one with a myriad of astonishing skills, felt far too easy, and made her seem like a distinct Mary Sue (particularly when one factors in her sudden change from ugly duckling to beautiful swan). There are plot lines left dangling - just who is Christine Olav, and what is her relationship to Selene? - although perhaps these are resolved in the subsequent two titles in the trilogy. Finally, the language itself - and here I am not speaking of the storytelling choices, but of the construction of the text - was poor. I tried to ignore it, the first few times I stumbled across an odd or incorrect word choice (or the omission of a word that was needed), but finally it became apparent: there were serious style issues here. Powers increase in "size," rather than strength (difficult to imagine, with such intangible qualities), Odish schemers "instigate" a human assassin from the shadows, rather than manipulating her: these kind of errors (and they are frequent), even if they slipped past the translator, should have been caught by an editor, surely?

These issues, of writing style and translation, all detracted from my enjoyment, although not enough to make me want to stop reading, given my interest in the story. Of course, having made my way through the first volume, I now have to stop anyway, as the second two haven't been translated yet... ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 25, 2013 |
Reviewed by Harmony for TeensReadToo.com

Anaid is short, too smart for popularity, and embarrassed by her mother.

But when her mother suddenly disappears, Anaid realizes that she's a witch. And not just any witch, but the daughter of the Chosen One.

She's the one who's supposed to end the bloody war between the Odish and the Omar. As she searches for her mother, Anaid finds out more about her heritage and about herself.

I found WAR OF THE WITCHES to be exciting, though it was slightly confusing at parts. There's a great plot and original characters, and if you're a fantasy lover and can get past some of the details, I'm sure you'll like this book. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
Anaid is a smart, dependable, often overlooked teenage girl. She is the exact opposite of her beautiful, fun spirited and exuberant mother. It’s hard to believe that the two are even related. On the morning of Anaid’s mother disappearance, she discovers that there is much more to her mother than meets the eyes. Selene, her mother, is a witch. “The Chosen One” to be exact, the witch that is prophesied to end the war between the two witch clans.Taught and trained by four other women of her mother’s clan, they discover that Anaid is more powerful than any other witch they have come across. She seems to be the only one that can save Selene from the rival witch clan.Redefining the term of witch, Carranza immerses her readers in the tale of an unlikely girl, whose powers come from the natural elements found around her. Although the cliche of the unnoticed teenager destined for great things is often overplayed, the actual logistics for this transformation is an astonishing addition to the plot! Teen readers will find themselves easily relating to Anaid and her wish for friendship and her perseverance through her struggles.Even though the novel starts out slow, it makes up for lack of intrigue in the remaining chapters! While there are many tales of witches, the mythology relating to the history of the clans is sure to captivate the curiosity of any reader. The multiple plot twits will keep readers guessing until the very end! ( )
  the_story_siren | Jul 2, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maite Carranzaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Castex, Noël BacaTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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After her mother's disappearance, Anaid discovers that she is a witch, and must go on a dangerous voyage to save her mother.
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When her mother disappears, fourteen-year-old Anaíd sets out on a dangerous journey after learning that her mother is a witch, prophesied to be the chosen one to end an ancient war between two feuding clans.

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