In Season of the Witch, Sabrina Spellman was only 15 years old. She hadn’t experienced her dark baptism, she hadn’t signed her name in the Dark Lord’s book of souls, and she wasn’t enrolled at the Academy of Unseen Arts. She didn’t possess a grimoire—she didn’t even have a black cat named Salem yet.
At this point, Sabrina wasn’t much of a witch. She came from a long line of spellcasters, however; and her father was a highly respected and powerful warlock. Said her cousin Ambrose: “You’re such a good girl. Sometimes I wonder how you’re ever going to make a wicked witch.”
Despite her pedigree, Sabrina was never going to be wholly wicked. Her mother, after all, was lovingly mortal. Unlike her pernicious cousin, she had a sunny and indefatigable disposition. She hoped that she would survive her upcoming dark baptism and be a light in the darkness. To her, magic was a way to make the world a better place.
That was the conflict roiling inside Sabrina. On her sixteenth birthday she would have to make a decision—would she give her soul to Satan or renounce the Church of Night altogether? “I wanted to do both,” she confessed. “I felt like I was being pulled in two different directions, and nobody cared that I would be torn in half.”
The main reason for Sabrina’s indecision was her boyfriend Harvey Kinkle. The two met in kindergarten and now as teenagers they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. “I’ve loved Harvey my whole life, and I’ve had a crush on him almost as long,” said Sabrina. “He was my first kiss, and I’ve never wanted another.” When Harvey and Sabrina went on their first date, their chemistry was electric. “That’s how witches burn,” wrote author Sarah Rees Brennan.
Season of the Witch takes place during the summer before the Sabrina Netflix series begins. It’s a fun prequel filled with lots of “Hail Satan!” interjections, quotable Latin incantations and gloriously over-the-top similes such as “The moon shone behind you like a crown of bone, and the night streamed behind you like a cloak of shadows.” Overall, it’s probably the best Sabrina novel you’ll ever read.
The book features alternating chapters that focus on the main cast. It’s on these white-on-black pages that author Brennan really shines. The chapter about Harvey’s older brother, in particular, is especially strong. Like Sabrina, Tommy Kinkle had an all-consuming love for Harvey. But unlike Sabrina, he paid dearly for his devotion. His story will break your heart.
[Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season of the Witch / By Sarah Rees Brennan / First Printing: July 2019 / ISBN: 9781338326048]