A Discovery of Witches meets The Craft in this the first installment of this epic fantasy trilogy about a group of childhood friends who are also witches.
If you look hard enough at old photographs, we’re there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters. Why is it we help in times of crisis? We have a gift. We are stronger than Mundanes, plain and simple.
At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls–Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle–took the oath to join Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a covert government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and Helena is now the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she’s a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena perceives as the deepest betrayal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora. And now Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities has been captured by authorities and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. With conflicting beliefs over the best course of action, the four friends must decide where their loyalties lie: with preserving tradition, or doing what is right.
Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of the coven.
Juno.Dawson knows how to weave a tale and build relatable characters!
Told from multiple POV, I loved so many characters!
Leonie featured as POC, lesbian and head of her first coven whose motto was to be diverse and inclusive. She definitely embraces modernity as opposed to HMRC that is firmly rooted in tradition.
Niamh, the vet, no longer part of HMRC but so invested in helping Theo, even if everyone feared that very powerful kid!
Elle with her glamour that she used to appear younger and more attractive. She tried to be normal especially to her husband and kids yet she was a healer at heart. And a mom who hoped that Holly escaped the “gift”. Because if Leonie embraced her status as a witch Elle secretly dreamt of being like everyone else.
Helena, ha Helena! She was what I’d call “psych rigid” and under a lot of pressure, thanks to her mother who had pushed hard to attain excellence. As a result, Helena has a deep need to control everything. She will turn to be a rigid white b*tch according to Leonie.
And Theo, poor Theo who had gone through so much since birth and who was feared by everyone but Niamh, Leonie and Holly. I just wanted to hug Theo extra hard!
Theo was suspected to be akin to the antichrist, bringing one of the big demons, the Leviathan, to this realm!
Switching between childhood of our main characters and present time, we tackle very interesting theories about the power of being female all while there is that looming threat of the demon invasion.
There is horror, magic, tension, diversity, friendship, and so many other things! That book really surpassed my expectations.
Thanks for reading.