Once and Future Witches was Beautifully Crafted!


***Received from Netgalley in exchange for review- but the blessings I will bestow on this beauteous offering are all from me***

once and future witchesCast your mind back to January. Before we all fell under the corona curse, I was blessed to read a wondrous book called Ten Thousand Doors of January. Such was the enchantment of the narrative, I was sure that no other book I read this year could surpass it… Until now. For, Once and Future Witches has utterly bewitched me.

Before we get started, I must confess I lost my notes for this review. No matter how much I hunted for them, those devilish scribblings couldn’t be found. Never fear, however- I shall scry my memories to tell you why you should read this wickedly clever twist on Arthurian legends and fairy tales. With legendary skill, Harrow roots this story in the oral tradition, telling of ancient tales resurrected and revived into something new (actually, given all that, it’s kind of fitting that my notes vanished into the aether).

Masterfully written, this has the kind of charm you cannot put into words. Dressed in darkness and showing off its witchy wares, this captivated me from the start. Weaving its magic steadily through the pages, I was cloaked in its mystifying atmosphere. Hinting at history, yet entirely made up- this ties threads together that don’t really belong in one story. It shouldn’t really work- and yet, as if by magic, they all blend together in a remarkable tapestry. In fact, the story snaps so many conventions in its crooked fingers, pointing us in a dazzling new direction… which I suppose just shows that some rules were made to be broken 😉

witchy monkey2I’ll admit, I’ve always had a soft spot for witches. Unconventional and with pinch of dubious intent, they feed my need for anti-heroines. And these were no exception! They weren’t your average “good girls” nor were they cackling caricatures- they were entirely fleshed out as individuals. Mirroring archetypes, they came to life thanks to their distinct personalities, steady development and most importantly their relationship with each other. Beyond the romances and friendships, my favourite part of this story was how it explored the complexities of sisterhood. Evil brews throughout the story- yet they learn to stand together in the face of it.

The plot was quite something to behold. For a spell, I did wonder where the story was heading. But ultimately, it comes full circle, setting a blaze of drama and thrilling me to the core. And there are real costs at the end of it. The results were haunting; it left a shadow in its wake.

Stories are layered atop of stories here. While some of these will be familiar, others are utterly unique. Covering the woman’s suffrage movement and more, this delved into areas I usually prefer not to see in my fiction… but given Harrow’s talent I can’t pretend to have been all that bothered by it. Whether I agreed with every bit of its themes or not, this was a tale that held a great deal of power. It enthralled me even in its gloom. It conjured more beauty than I ever could have imagined possible. And you really can’t ask for more than that.

Rating: one eye of newt, three dead mans toes, some serpents teeth…

Just kidding: 5/5 bananas of course!


So, have you read either of Alix E Harrow’s books? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Ten Thousand Doors of January Opened up a Wondrous World of Storytelling

ten thousand doors of januaryWhat a wildly impressive story! After seeing an amazing review on the Witty and Sarcastic Book Club, I simply knew I had to check it out… and I wasn’t disappointed! Exquisitely rendered, the world building was so stunning, I instantly got lost in whole other worlds.

And it was just this that made the book such a marvel. The narrative voice captivated me from the start. With astounding skill, Harrow draws you into her unusually layered tale. Stories are layered within stories, doors lead to more doors, until I found myself transported far beyond my bedroom.

I did like the way this drew on different time periods and cultural events in an unusual fashion. Yes, this deals with hard historical events, lending something of a modern touch to it- yet it does so in somewhat of a unique way that I still felt the authenticity within the fantasy.

Gripping and entertaining throughout, there were surprises hiding in plain sight. And even if I thought I had a handle on the twists, the story would then turn in another direction and take me on a new adventure. Not letting up for a second, I was delighted by the journey it took.

Best of all, the distinct characters felt grounded in reality and the relationships were beautifully done. Both the romance and the family dynamics were handled in an unbelievably sweet way.

In the end, this book was an absolute pleasure to read.

Rating: 5/5 bananas


So, if you’re looking for something a little special to check out this January, why not treat yourself to this? And if you have read it- what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!