🎧 Berls Reviews Once and Future Witches

Posted September 12, 2022 by Berls in Review / 1 Comment

🎧 Berls Reviews Once and Future WitchesThe Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Narrator: Gabra Zackman
Published by Hachette Audio on October 13, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Length: 16 hours 3 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

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 ISBN of this book is 9781549186424

My top thoughts:

I’m really glad this was a book club book, because I probably wouldn’t have ever picked it up and I’m almost certain I would have DNFd it before it got good. This just isn’t the time period I would typically pick up and it was a SLOW start. But damn did it get good!

What I liked/didn’t like:

Okay so I think most important thing to note about this book is that it is an EXTREMELY slow start. The characters were difficult to get attached to (for me) at the start and as we jumped from each sister, I just didn’t fully get/care what was going on. But there were tendrils enough of potential to keep me going – especially since this was a book for book club and I wanted to be able to engage in the conversation.

That being said, once it really got going it got incredibly good. It’s extremely infuriating to be almost 200 years in the past and still seeing women fighting for basically the same rights and protections that we are currently fighting to hold on to. In our current political climate, that made this book all the more poignant. Women’s rights – suffrage, abortion, protection from abuse, equality with men – all show up in this book. Some under the guise of witching, but really being a witch feels synonymous with being a woman with any kind of personal power in this book. That’s not to say the magic in this book was anything less than exciting – it was exciting and fascinating as they were learning to understand and rebuild witching.

I really enjoyed the diversity in this book – we have everything from different races, to a lesbian couple, to a trans individual. And it’s all done so naturally — not like “here’s some diverse characters” but instead “this is the fabric of life, so I’m including everyone.” Just the way I like to see it. I loved the sisters once I got to know them, but it was really the others in their life that made this book. The relationships between the sisters and the others they grew close to had me choked up and tearing a few times.

Narrator thoughts:

The audio was a bit challenging unfortunately. I think the narration was fine, though I really would have liked to see a bit more distinction in the sister’s voices. However, the musical interludes that appeared as a backdrop to the different witch stories/tales was very distracting. To the point that sometimes I couldn’t quite hear/understand. I think the audio actually contributed to my considering a DNF at one point. But I would definitely listen to Gabra Zackman again, as I think she did ultimately deliver a good performance.
4 stars Pretty Great

About Berls

Michelle adopted me as part of her blog when I decided to close down my blog, Fantasy is More Fun. The blog was dying, but my love of reading and the blogosphere was still strong as ever - so I found my new home here at Because Reading!

I'm not just a book lover, but a one time author (that hopes to be more in the future), wife, mom to the cutest, happiest, best 2 year old and step-mom to the craziest, sweetest 22 year old on the planet. My family mean everything to me and they appear frequently in the Sunday Post with Berls. So grab a glass of wine and chat books, blogging, and family with me!



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