• sujata chaudhury

The Once and Future Witches

The Once and Future Witches is a fantasy novel by Alex E. Harrow. It was first published in 2020 by Orbit. The story starts in 1983 when there are no witches. There used to be witches with their magnificent powers but they were all burned by men.


The book tells a tale of the three Wayward sisters, James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna. Years after getting separated from each other, all three find each other in New Salem as if an invisible force wants them to be together. Despite their differences, the three sisters must find the lost ways and words in a hope that they can turn the womens' movement in New Salem into the witches' movement. But this is not going to be easy. The news that a witch has come to the city has spread like fire. The sisters have to continue their quest amidst a witch hunt where women are getting burned merely out of suspicion.


Each sister is unique in her way. Juniper is the youngest one and the bravest. She will step into dangerous situations without any heed. Agnes is the strongest one, even with a baby in her belly she is the most powerful. Bella is the oldest and the wisest. Bella knows the ways and the words. Let's talk about the good thing about the book. The plotline of the book is one of its highest points. It's fast-paced, complicated, fascinating, keeps the readers on their toes, and makes this book an emotional rollercoaster. This book handles diversity efficiently, it talks about racial prejudice, the LGBTQ community, and obviously the discrimination against women. All these social issues are incorporated into the storyline in a subtle way that do not overshadow the story and yet conveys the problems with the issues to the readers. Another thing to look forward to in this book is that our childhood fairy tales are molded into witch tales where spells and ways to those spells are hidden so that mothers and grandmothers can pass the ways and words to their next generations without getting burned. This new take on fairy tales was refreshing to read. I wouldn't be doing justice to the book if I do not talk about the love angles in the book. By including love in the story the author was able to show that even in the darkest of times, love gives us the strength to fight. For me, the best part of this book was the sisterhood between the sisters. Starting from hating each other due to miscommunication to tolerating each other for the sake of the movement to agreeing to die for the other, the relationship between the three main characters is arced beautifully. I won't be talking about the negative points of this book because there are none for me. 😊


The Once and Future Witches is a tale about three badass heroines who are willing to pull down the strongest enemies to get what they rightly deserve. It is one of the stories this world needs. Be sure to read it.

The Once And The Future Witches

“The Constitution? What, exactly, do you think the Constitution is? A magic spell?. . I assure you it has only ever been a piece of paper, and it has only ever applied to a very few persons.”

Alix E. Harrow, The Once and Future Witches




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