First Impression Friday: “The Once and Future Witches” by Alix E. Harrow

Why is it that library holds always come in all at once? I’ve been on the waiting list for the next five FIF posts for almost six months now, and of course they all came in at once.

From 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. 

The Once and Future Witches

I tried to read The Year of the Witching (which came in right before this one), but I got maybe two chapters into it and couldn’t get through it (I didn’t realize it was billed as “the next Handmaid’s Tale,” which would have kept me from even being on the waiting list for it), so I turned to this one instead.

The first chapter deals with James Juniper, the youngest sister, and how she’s made her way to the town of New Salem after finally ridding herself of her abusive father. The second deals with Agnes, who’s working in a cotton factory in New Salem. The third deals with Beatrice, who is working at the university in New Salem. All three of the first chapters end with the sister in the main square of New Salem, watching a witching happen. And they realize that they have been brought together for the first time in over seven years – thanks to Beatrice (who has never had the ability to do much witching), who has somehow summoned a tower back from the lost ages.

So far, the book is easy to read, but I absolutely hate the fact that it is written in present tense. I can’t stand books that write in present tense, mostly because there are some scenes that read incredibly weird and it’s hard to pay attention to what’s actually happening in the book because I’m bothered by the grammar.

I’m expecting Juniper’s temper to get them into increasing trouble, and Beatrice’s research is going to be the only thing that’s able to get them out of it at last. Although I’m sure at least one of them is going to die by the end of this, because how else could you bring something long-lost back without a sacrifice of some sort?

We’re moving into Spooky Season! Do you have any other witch-related books to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, keep reading.

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