BOOK REVIEW | THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES BY ALIX E. HARROW & NARRATED BY GABRA ZACKMAN

Hello Bookish Folk!

Today I’m happy to be sharing with you my review of Alix E. Harrow’s second book The Once and Future Witches. I would firstly like to thank Orbit for approving an eArc of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can order this book through any of the affiliate links attached to this page, in case you don’t know Bookshop.Org is a great store that supports independent book stores from all over.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Once and Future Witches
  • Author: Alix E. Harrow
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Series: Standalone
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 516
  • Narration Length: 16 hrs and 3 mins

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

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.

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Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from :

  • A lush and powerful historical fantasy;
  • The most engaging and fascinating trio of sisters you could read about;
  • Themes of family, sisterhood, love, forgiveness and so much more;
  • An incredibly immersive and atmospheric setting; and
  • An amazing story which is winding, wonderful and a pure delight to read.

On to the full review…

I must confess I actually avoided this book like the plague, I read the blurb and was sold, I though yes I want to read this but every time I was choosing my next read I reread the blurb but never chose it. I don’t know why but alas I picked it up and I am so sooo glad I did. I think I enjoyed this as much as I did because it was totally fitting to my mood at the time, though that isn’t to say this book isn’t incredible in its own right. See being a mood reader isn’t always bad because when you do it correctly you find books like this and enjoy the experience of reading it so much.

I always love the idea of a historical setting in a book and get so excited for them, but they are not always done well. This is not the case for The Once and Future Witches at all. Harrow has done incredible work to really give you that feeling you are in New Salem in the 1890’s, you feel the injustice in the air and the fear of witches. Though, that is not all, Harrow has also done exceptionally well to build a solid setting through the factories, the houses and less than lavish accommodations some people were forced to live in, and the mindset of the people at that time. 

This book is a tale about gaining the vote for women and what happens when these women stood up and said they wanted change, but it is also empowering, and witchy and ohh so good. Harrow has done such an incredible job in The Once and Future Witches at blending the magical and the historical while infusing it with folklore and a whole lot of witchy. Every page of this books is written superbly, it is a very enchanting read, though not in a whimsical and magical way but in a hypnotic and addictive way. It fully immerses you into its world and its people. It is so vivid and thought provoking too.

The pace of this book, in my opinion was great, Harrow knows how to continually raise the stakes. I loved the way this story was laid out in it entirety. It is by no means a fast paced plot but with such incredible character development and world-building the slower pace is by no means problematic nor lacking in tension, suspense or anticipation. It is a winding and wonderful story.

This book follows three incredible sisters; Beatrice Belladonna Eastwood, Agnes Amaranth Eastwood and James Juniper Eastwood. All of whom are utterly distinctive and have their own voices. Harrow has done an incredible job at making sure you, as a reader, can tell who is talking without mention of a name! They are so distinctive and each is so fun. No one falls beneath the other, there isn’t a boring one or one you like the least, they all stand up in their own rights. The sisters and the people they slowly come to form relationships with go from strength to strength in this book, even the side/support characters are memorable and a joy to be around.

The Once and Futures Witches has themes of family, sisterhood, love, forgiveness and so much more. It is a powerful novel and a wonder to read. Harrow has also written some lovely romantic interests in this book, I won’t say whom because they enters spoiled territory in my eyes but know they are wholesome and you will be rooting for them! It is subtle and well presented.

I really loved the insertion of common fairytales into this book. At the start of each chapter you have a tale, one you may know of or one you may not. Some are reimagined and some stand as we know them but it was so fun to see them as spells. 

Also, hats off to the cover art on this one, it is so appropriate to the tale and reminds me of the little herbal grimoire pictures of fresh lavender sprigs and nettle. It is the perfect start of your reading journey and sets the tone of the book brilliantly.


THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

I wold most definitely grab this book in HARDBACK and I have even spotted a copy on BookShop.Org (its cheaper than Amazon, so winning). The Once and future Witches is an amazing historical fantasy book that is so much more than the words on its pages. It is a book with big themes and so much to show you.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 AUTUMNAL RELEASES TO READ…

It’s Autumn!

I love Autumn, it is my favourite season, or at least it is in theory! I say in theory because well, the UK is WET.

The whirling mass of crimson and lurid leaves, mother natures finale exhalation, the mild autumnal breeze drawing everyone to that pumpkin spice latte… You feel them all, the inexhaustible influence to hunker down with a warm drink by the roaring fire. It is the season that draws out all the cosy blankets, fluffy socks or some attempt at wholesome comfort. Until it rains and we have wet slippy orange mulch everywhere. So, you see favourite in theory.

Autumn officially started on Tuesday 22nd September 2020 and is with is all the way through to Monday 21st December 2020, which always throws me because for how cold it get here in the UK you’d think you were in bloody Winter!

Here are seven book, give or take maybe one, that have been or are due to be released this autumn…

Enjoy!


The Betrayals by Bridget Collins

Release Date: November 12th 2020

At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.

Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before.

Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls…

ADD IT YOUR GOODREADS


Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 13TH 2020

I saw this on Twitter a wee bit ago and after reading the synopsis I couldn’t wait to read it, it sounds bloody brilliant. A dark fantasy historical fiction novella that takes the Ku Klux Klan and twists it up.

D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth.

Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls “Ku Kluxes.” She’s damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh–and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it.

ADD IT YOUR GOODREADS


The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

RELEASE DATE: October 13th 2020

I know, I know. Another witchy book, but its coming up to spooky season so I guess it must just be a sign! I can’t wait to read this and I am so happy to have the NetGalley eBook waiting patiently on my Kindle.

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.

ADD IT YOUR GOODREADS


Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

RELEASE DATE: October 27th, 2020

A YA Fantasy filled with all you could want from a supernatural world. I love the supernatural world and find it and its history incredibly fascinating, so this book really attracts me as a reader. It won’t be everyones cup of tea but i’m pretty excited for it.

Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself… And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems… 

ADD IT YOUR GOODREADS


The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter

RELEASE DATE: November 10th, 2020

The second book in The Burning books by Evan Winter is due to release this November. With praise as high as can be found Winters debut received an incredible reception.

Desperate to delay an impending attack by the indigenous people of Xidda, Tau and his queen craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all-out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.

If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne and reunite her people, then the Omehi might have a chance to survive the coming onslaught.

ADD IT YOUR GOODREADS


To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Release date: September 15th, 2020

I know this technically falls before Autumns official start but I couldn’t help it. It’s been what NINE YEARS!

Paolini is back, and from what some of the reviews have said his work is even stronger than before! From YA to adult. From Fantasy to SCI-FI I am super excited to read this!

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds.

Now she’s awakened a nightmare.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. 

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .”

ADD IT YOUR GOODREADS


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Release date: October 6th, 2020

I haven’t read any of V. E. Schwab books before, I have some on of hers on my TBR but as it is with the larger TBR lists, some books just fall victim to the abyss that no mere mortal can come out of alive. However, after coming across this ‘The Invisable Life of Addie LaRue’ I was pretty intrigued. Set over several hundred years always to be forgotten something changes.

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

ADD IT YOUR GOODREADS