Once upon a time, Alix Harrow wrote about three sisters ... She gave this second novel many gifts: charm, grace, and gorgeousness; feral wonder, clear vision, an ardent heart. She gave it history, awareness of injustice and will to survive it ... I unabashedly, unreservedly adore The Once and Future Witches . I adore it with the kind of passion that prickles at my eyes and wavers my voice. I adore it in a way that requires purchase of a giving copy, for friends in need ... Harrow revels in many-layered mysteries, in a story of many acts, in wordplay. Characters respond so organically to surprise that it is a wonder to read ... Even minor characters are replete with full sets of motivations, fears, longings ... my only criticism was plot sometimes fell together too neatly or people in love too quickly.
One thing that has become clearly evident is that when you read a book by Alix E. Harrow, you are in for lyrical prose and a story that will reach into the core of your being and squeeze. The Once and Future Witches is a tale about sisterhood and the fight for rights, and it is a story that is very relevant in the here and now ... [Harrow's] way with words and ability to turn a phrase is nothing short of magical ... Each sister is complex, but Harrow builds them expertly, giving them each different voices while still keeping their sisterhood at the forefront ... The world that Harrow creates is well-built and immersive.
Harrow’s story lies firmly within the feminist tradition, reflective of the social commentaries of modern feminist thinkers like Kate Manne and Rebecca Traister and reminiscent of women’s recent and growing exercise of their political power ... an homage to the endurance of stories and storytelling ... If I had just one criticism to level against the novel, it would be that the suffragette story thread was dropped early on. A book about suffrage and spells became a book about spells. I would’ve liked to spend more time with the members of the New Salem Women’s Association and watch them interact with the Eastwood sisters’ coven. But this misstep was minor. The Eastwood sisters are deftly characterized, and glorious in their imperfections; the world is imaginatively built; and the tale entertains. I found myself lingering over some of Harrow’s figurative language, which made the associative networks in my brain sing ... I rooted for Bella, Agnes, and Juniper every step of the way. I yearned for them to find that which they’d misplaced. The words and ways are powerful, and Harrow proves she has both.