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 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.
A femme-forward story of power, morality and fate that is not shy about its politics. While the political arguments in Her Majesty’s Royal Coven are couched in magical terms, they closely align with issues in our own world. Dawson explores the complexities of modern feminism with particular poignancy ... What especially makes Her Majesty’s Royal Coven shine is its impeccable voice. Dawson’s conversational, matter-of-fact tone calls to mind writers like Neil Gaiman and Diana Wynne Jones; it’s at times funny, at others heartbreaking, but always perfectly calibrated ... Her Majesty’s Royal Coven is a thoughtful entry into the witch canon that intrigues and challenges as much as it delights.
Readers who love a big fight between good and evil, who enjoy seeing magic in the everyday world, and those who like their heroine’s journeys to include all facets of heartbreak will savor the cut and thrust of this battle.
Dawson, in an impressive flex, uses the rules of the fantasy genre to make a statement about people of color and LGBTQ individuals and how organizations can exclude and ignore them ... Readers who enjoy witches and watching change ripple through a culture will enjoy this series.