Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. The Hawkweed Prophecy [Book Review]


Title: The Hawkweed Prophecy
Author: Irena Brignull
Type: Fiction
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Date Published: June 16th, 2016
Format: Hardcover/Ebook
Page Count: 368
Source: Author Website

“The babies were born as the clock struck twelve. A bat fell from the air mid-flight. A silver salmon floated dead to the surface of the river. Snails withered in their shells, moths turned to dust on the night breeze and an owl ate its young. The spell had been cast.

Poppy Hooper has managed to deceive her father into believing that there is nothing mysterious or unnatural about her. He ignores the cats that find her wherever she goes, the spiders that weave beautiful lacy patterns for her, even her eyes – one blue, one green with an extra black dot orbiting the pupil.

Ember Hawkweed is a pitiful excuse for a witch. When the other girls in her coven brew vile potions, Ember makes soap and perfume. Fair and pretty, Ember is more like a chaff than a witch. One of the Hawkweeds will be queen of the witches – but everyone knows it won’t be Ember.

When the two girls meet, Poppy discovers her powers, and finds out the truth. Bound by their unlikely friendship and the boy they both love, the girls try and find their place in the world. But the time of the prophecy draws nearer – and the witches won’t give up the throne without a fight.”

Most of you know I have been into witch books recently. This is all probably due to the TV series Salem. I have always been drawn to dark romanticism, dark fantasy, anything dark in general. I just love the dark! It is so mysterious and pragmatic. So, it is no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed The Hawkweed Prophecy. I was hooked from prologue to ending. I felt like it was perfectly paced with just enough intrigue to keep you guessing.

My best friend and I were talking about how we liked strong-willed characters with conflicting emotions. I would have to say that Poppy Hooper and Raven Hawkweed are two characters that fit this description. Poppy was a misfit that could never quite understand why she was the way that she was, but she was a firecracker with a strong personality. Raven was the witch that everyone feared and followed because she was the most powerful, but she had a soft spot for her sister Charlock (which definitely comes into play a lot throughout the book). In a way, Raven’s love for Charlock almost hindered her in some aspects (you will understand this if you read the book).

I loved Ember’s personality throughout the book as well. She is different from everyone else (considering she is not a witch but lives amongst them). She tends to be naive to the problems around her but she still looks at the world with bright eyes. Poppy even takes note of this later on in the book. She is shy/timid, and feels useless (almost like 98% of the time), but in reality she is more helpful then not. She is almost the opposite of Poppy in that aspect. Poppy and Ember form a bond with one another because they both don’t fit in to the worlds they live in. The story is set in modern day times, but Ember’s clan lives in a village that is more like how naturalist live (no technology, uses herbs as medicine, eat what nature has to offer, etc). It is only when Poppy tells Ember what the outside world is like that Ember realizes her life is differential.

Just when you think this book can’t get anymore complicated, (like being switched at birth isn’t hard enough), it does. Enter the male counterpart, Leo. Leo is a boy with no home, no family, no one to love until he sees Poppy one fateful evening. Throw in some serendipitous meetings and BINGO! Leo and Poppy have an electrifying connection (you think I am joking but I’m not…just read the book).  Leo comes from a rough past and doesn’t quite fit into any category either. I think this is why Poppy and Leo are drawn together, because they can connect on their indifference’s of the world. As the story progresses Poppy takes Leo to meet Ember. And what do you think happens after that my friends? Yep! You guessed it. Ember falls for sweet and handsome Leo. (This is due to males not being allowed in the witches camp…like ever). So a love triangle was bound to happen. (I feel like love triangles are inevitable in young adult fiction these days). So what does Poppy do? What every moody and misfit teenager does…she avoids Leo at any chance she can! (A little word of the wise…avoiding your problems doesn’t fix the problem. It sometimes makes them much much worse).

Now I can’t forget Charlock (Ember’s stand in mother) and Raven’s daughter Sorrel. Both are great characters as well! Charlock is the mother Poppy never had (and I mean this literally because Charlock is Poppy’s real mother). She is protective of Ember and supportive in every way possible (because Ember is fearful of everything she can’t do correctly), but Charlock also has this perplexing air about her (you find out more towards the end of the novel). I figured she had something up her sleeve and I do love a good twist! Sorrel is every bit like Raven, brash and almost smug in some instances. She teases Ember constantly and does everything she can to avoid being associated with her cousin. She does everything Raven asks of her but she is also very jealous of Ember (she spies on Ember when she meets Leo and it kind of goes from there). At first Sorrel rubs you the wrong way, but gradually over time you can relate to Sorrel and her emotions. (I am sure we all have felt jealousy at some point in our lives).

The book is called The Hawkweed Prophecy because it was predicted that the Hawkweed clan would give birth to the next Queen. So it was going to be either Sorrel or Ember (but the reader finds out the Ember is not a witch since she was switched at birth). That only leaves one other option. Poppy. The next Queen would be the strongest witch the clan has ever seen, stronger than Raven even. And Raven was a boss ass b**ch! I loved her to pieces, even though I didn’t agree with some of the stuff she did in the book. But with this prophecy came problems from other witch clans. A lot of the other clans felt like it wasn’t fair for a Hawkweed to become the next Queen. So this is where your other conflict comes in. You don’t really get to know about the other clans until the climax of the book (which is to be expected).

Overall, I loved this story because of its unique and fresh premise! I love stories that focus on finding out who you really are on the inside and finding your place in the world. I feel like it is a very approachable and universal topic for authors to write about. I think that’s why I also enjoyed When the Moon was Ours so much, because when you’re a teen you feel like an outcast at times and you aren’t too sure of yourself…but at the end of the day it is okay to be the black sheep of the herd. It is okay to be different and special. It’s all about acceptance. That is what Poppy and Ember realize about themselves at the end of the book. That Ember is a normal human girl and Poppy is a witch with magical powers. They accept each other for who they are. That is a little something that I call the “power of friendship.” ❤


irenaFrom the author’s site:
I’m Irena Brignull, a screenwriter, novelist and mum. I live with my family in London but I was brought up outside the city in the beautiful Chiltern Hills. The other place that has my heart is Greece where many of my relatives are from.

My first novel, The Hawkweed Prophecy, will be published in the UK in June. The sequel, The Hawkweed Legacy, will follow in 2017.

I write screenplays too. My screenwriting credits include the Oscar nominated movie, The Boxtrolls, starring Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning and Simon Pegg. (I was nominated for Best Screenplay for that one at the Annie Awards in 2014.) My adaptation of The Little Prince, directed by Mark Osborne and starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, James Franco and Marion Cotillard, closed the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. I also adapted Skelligfor Sky which starred Tim Roth, John Simm and Kelly MacDonald. 

Before all this, I was a Script Executive at the BBC and then Head of Development at Dogstar Films where I was the script editor on Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, I Capture the Castle and Bravo Two Zero to name a few.

And before that, I studied English Literature at Oxford University.

I don’t have much spare time but, in it, I like to read books and watch movies. It’s kind of my job, I know. But one day I plan to take up lots more hobbies – horse-riding, tap-dancing, baking, juggling…?”

Follower her on Instagram at or Twitter at

If you would like to purchase The Hawkweed Prophecy then click here:

3 thoughts on “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. The Hawkweed Prophecy [Book Review]

  1. This sounds 1000% the kind of book I would ADORE!! It sounds a bit like The Cresswell Plot x The Graces. Which are both my favourite books. 😍 I’m adoring your review and definitely going to add this high to my wishlist!!


    1. I totally thought of you when I read it! I should have emailed you and recommended that you read it lol it was a hidden gem found on a random Barnes and Noble run! You will squel with joy because it’s so wonderful and witchy. There is also going to be a sequel this fall! Yippee! My life has been fulfilled.


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