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.
I adored this book so much, but it’s not a light or easy read ... Readers should know that this is a moving and deeply empowering book with an uplifting ending, but it’s not an entirely happy ending ... The language in this book is just stunning ... Everything is tactile, there’s a powerful sense of place, and people have real physical needs, so it’s beautifully anchored in reality while also making use of fantasy ... It’s so gripping, so beautifully written, and such a powerful homage to women’s voices and the need to unify against a common enemy. The protagonists are all flawed in ways that make sense and they are believable and relatable.