The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow was a whimsical, beautiful and unique book – I wasn’t sure what it would be like going in, but I ended up loving it. After the slightly slower start it got exciting and kept me reading, and I loved the complex relationship between the three sisters as well as the sapphic romance!
Alix E. Harrow has a real talent for prose and atmosphere that made me adore her debut, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and The Once and Future Witches was no different. Her writing is so gorgeously lyrical, with wonderful, almost playful, imagery. This book is written in present tense third person which isn’t my favourite, but worked really well here. The lush prose really lends to the overall atmosphere of the book, which is another thing that really stood out. The Once and Future Witches is at once visceral and fierce and whimsical and fairy-tale like, and it was this mix of showing the wildness of women and the childishness of magic that really made this book unique.
The plot overall was a great story of feminism, sisterhood and reclaiming magic, and I really enjoyed it. There were some intricate twists I really didn’t see coming that really raised the stakes, and despite the thickness of the book I found myself devouring it quite quickly. There were so many unique ideas in the lore and magic of The Once and Future Witches and this combined with the suffragette movement and a dark evil made the plot wonderful! For me, the book did take a little while to properly draw me in, and the length of it felt almost like it could have been two books, but I guess I’m just used to reading YA rather than adult!
I loved the three Eastwood sisters. Their relationship is convoluted and messy, tangled with misconception and secrets, but seeing the three reconnect over the course of the book was really beautiful and their connection to each other was the driving force of the book. I think Agnes has to be my favourite of the three, but over the course of the book I really came to care for all of them.
Obviously, I have to mention the f/f romance in this book! Our eldest sister, Beatrice, or Bella, is a lesbian and has a love interest who i ADORED. Honestly Cleo was such a great character and deserves a book of her own, she’s charming and brave, wise and witty, what an icon.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to fans of historical fantasy, feminist plot lines and unique magic.
2 thoughts on “Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow”
This review came right on time! I was looking for more books about sapphic witches (and fiction about witchcraft, in general). I was a little worried about how dragging this would be since it’s a slightly hefty book. Also pretty glad to know it’s also in third-person, present tense. It’s actually what I prefer. LOL. Thank you for this review!
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Oh I didn’t realize this was f/f, I think I’ve reached maximum excitement for this book. Thanks for the review!
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