Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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. 

Thank you to the publisher, Orbit, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I’ve been looking forward to this one for so long and I’ve been saving it for autumn to be able to read it. However, this one did really let me down and I just didn’t click with it in the way I wanted to. I quickly realised when I started reading that something was just off for me. I buddy read this one with Alex and she pointed out that this one is told in third person present tense and was struggling with it too, which I think was my problem. It just made me feel disconnected from the story.

We follow 3 sisters who join the suffragists of New Salem and are also witches themselves. This one just sounds great – feminist and witchy, what more could I want? But I actually found myself being constantly mixed up between the sisters and found kind of lost throughout the story.

Every woman draws a circle around herself.

I did enjoy aspects of this book and found it better once I sat down to read big chunks of it at a time. I think part of my problem is that I couldn’t help but compare this to other books which I love, such as Erin Morgenstern’s books. I just couldn’t connect to the writing and it felt like such a long book at just over 500 pages. I constantly felt like the story was too long and I could summarise a lot of the plot in much less than I would want to.

I liked the idea and themes behind this so much and really wanted to like it – the themes of feminism and women’s rights made for an interesting plot. The fact we have women claiming their power is amazing and I loved the historical context too. Parts of the plot were also really entertaining and page turning, but most of it fell flat.

Sometimes she has to be the only thing inside it.

It’s so upsetting when you just really want to love a book but it doesn’t quite live up to expectations and that’s sadly exactly what happened with this book for me! I would definitely say if it sounds like something you’d like then please do give it a go as it has a lot of 5 star reviews, it just wasn’t quite for me.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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One thought on “Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

  1. Pingback: October Wrap-Up – The Books are Everywhere

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