The Once and Future Witches by Alix E.Harrow

Trang’s back with another review! 🙂 The second novel of Alix E. Harrow is what I call… progress compared to her first novel Ten Thousand Doors of January. While her first publication was not a glorious review, the second attempt was way better, more substance in the story and I give it a straight 4.5/5, which is a pretty high rating.

(c) Trang for Bookidote

I always had a weakness for Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and especially historical fantasy. This story is all about it, witches in the 1800s, dealing with the first suffragettes with a very feminist approach. Harrow uses the stereotypes that we used to impose on witches to reveal something much larger : the place of the woman in the society at that time. She marvelously captured how women used to carve the hideouts of their ideas unto the most mundane things for the men to overlook and even what perceives as a weakness in the men’s world can be a strength.

(c) Trang for Bookidote

This book is more than just a witch story, it’s a redefinition of perception. It’s a tribute to all the women who have been wronged for standing up, for all the women who have been burned at the stake just for the sake of trying something new. Besides the big themes in this book, another tour de force is the character development.

I’ve never encountered anything like the Eastwood Sisters : Beatrice, Agnes and Juniper make a compelling trio in this story. Each has established their own individuality and Harrow has successfully mastered the different point of views storytelling. No characters were left on the side and each has their own spotlights.

(c) Trang for Bookidote
(c) Trang for Bookidote

However, the most amazing thing that comes out of this book is how fun it was for me to read it. If you liked the references in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I would definitely recommend you this book. It addresses the different mythological figures like The Maiden, The Mother and The Crone (which inspired me to do some watercolor paintings, see pictures below) to witchcraft origins in Africa. This book was definitely a feast for me and hopefully it will be for you too.

(c) Trang’s illustrations for Bookidote
(c) Trang’s Illustrations for Bookidote

Have any of you read this book? What did you think? (:

Rating: 4.5/5

Thank you to Hachette Canada for this copy for review!

Review by TRANG TRANG

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