Book Review | The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Published: October 2020

Publishers: Orbit

Pages: 528

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction

Goodreads Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Review

I bought this book because it was recommended to me by the staff at Waterstones and I have had my eye on it for a while. The front cover is so nice that you can’t resist taking photos.

This book felt something that I needed, like I needed something that I haven’t had for such a long time and it was an enjoyable ride/day (I listened to most of the book in a day). I really liked the relationship of the sisters, sure they may have gone their seperate ways but it was really interesting how easily they reunited and couldn’t stop being sisters. I really liked how it was set in Salem but also with the Suffrogettes, the whole meaning of the women’s rights and witches being merged together felt so familiar and easy to understand the women’s issues.

I really liked the inclusion of children’s nursey rhymes as spells, it is used a lot at the beginning of each chapter. And sometimes, you would have stories from Sister’s Grim (NOT Brother’s Grim) and it is interpreted differently as to how us readers know, but what I really liked was how this book reminded me of The Book of Lost Things by John Connally (100% recommend) Both books use different ways of fairytales being altered, I still vagely remember the Snow White story which was genius. In TOAFW, I really like the reveal of a certain character’s origin everything about this character made so much sense. This book did feel like a fairytale with how the writter explained each of the sisters and how it was repeated again a few more times in the book as a reminder.

β€œBecause it’s easy to ignore a woman.” Juniper’s lips twist in a feral smile. “But a hell of a lot harder to ignore a witch.”

I did find the book to be info dumpy but it is expected with Historical Fiction novels, there would be people that know and enjoy being reminded, but it can be boring and make the book feel slow. Which isn’t a bad thing because this is a slow pace book and it builds up the tension in the last 10-15 chapters.

β€œBehind every witch is a woman wronged.”

I would recommend listening to the audiobook because it was performed wonderfully by Gabra Zackman, who is really talented for creating different accents and other voices for the characters, it felt very unique and enjoyable to listen to. Not only that, the audiobook also includes some instrumental at the beginning and end of each chapter which was really nice to listen to.

I enjoyed this book and I am even considering reading it again once the paperback book is released. I feel that this month is passing by a lot quicker, I haven’t been reading much but that is due to me back at work and delegating time to read on my days off (might do somthing about it).

Happy Reading xx

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