October was a slightly slower month than usual and I only made it through 8 books.Luckily none of the 8 really disappointed me and I was spoilt for choice when it came to picking my top picks for the month. Did any of your October reads stand out for you, where there any you loved or disliked? Let me know in the comments.
The Once and Future Witches – Alix E Harrow
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.
“All of us grew up on stories of wicked witches. The villages they cursed, the plagues they brewed. We need to show people what else we have to offer, give them better stories.”
“Bella tuts, setting the glass jars in a neat line on the bedside table and clutching her black leather notebook. ‘I’m sure he did. But I remind you that he was merely a man. Whereas we’ – she looks over her spectacles at Agnes and gives her a very small smile – ‘are witches.'”
“James Juniper is just a girl, most of the time. The rest of the sisters of Avalon are just maids or mill workers, dancers or fortune tellers, mothers or daughters. Everyday sorts of women with everyday sorts of lives, not worth mentioning in any story worth telling.
But tonight, beneath the Rose Moon of June, they are witches. They are crones and maidens, villains and temptresses, and all the stories belong to them.”
I could honestly just have copied the whole of the book into my favourite quotes. The Once and Future Witches is so beautifully written and such a brilliant feminist fantasy. I was wholly swept away by the alternate history story and the strength of the characters. This is one book I can guarantee will make my ‘favourite books of the year’.
The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon
For the past two hundred years the Scion government has led an oppressive campaign against unnaturalness in London. Clairvoyance in all its forms has been decreed a criminal offence, and those who practise it viciously punished. Forced underground, a clairvoyant underworld has developed, combating persecution and evading capture. Paige Mahoney, a powerful dreamwalker operating in the Seven Dials district of London, leads a double life, using her unnaturalness illegally while hiding her gift from her father, who works for the Scion regime…
“Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can’t get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.”
“You may not believe it, but it is what I desire the most in the world. This place has afflicted me with a terrible wanderlust. I long for the fire, for the sights you have seen. Yet here I am, two hundred years after I arrived. Still a prisoner, though I masquerade as a king.”
“Nothing’s worse than a story without an end.”
This was an unexpected and accidental add on to my October TBR. I managed to snag a 3 month free Audible trial and figured, since I’ve struggled with audio books in the past, I would try a book I’ve already read. I ended up 50/50 reading and listening to this and I forgot how brilliant the world is that Shannon builds. I’m hoping to read the next two books before the release of her latest book.
Over the Woodward Wall – A. Deborah Baker
Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt. Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.
They live on the same street.
They live in different worlds.
On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures. And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.
“Are you sure you want an ending? Endings are tricky things. They wriggle and writhe like worms, and once you have them, you can’t give them back again. You can hang them on hooks and sail the seas for sequels, if you realise you don’t like where your story stopped, but you’ll always have an ending, and there will always be people who wont follow you past that line. You loose things when you have an ending. Big things. Important things. Better not to have an ending at all, if you can help it.”
“‘ Some monsters speak, child.’ Said the beast,’ The very best monsters speak like Kings and Queens, eloquent and alluring, and the trick is learning not to listen. If you listen to those monsters, they’ll have your heart out before you realise how much danger you’re in.'”
If I had known beforehand that this was an MG novel I probably wouldn’t have picked it up but I’m SO glad I did. This is a brilliant tale for all ages, I was completely swept away on Avery and Zib’s journey and am eagerly hoping for a sequel.
You had such a good reading month, Becky! I’m finally going to start The Once and Future Witches this weekend – so excited!! 🙂
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Ahhh I’m excited for you! I hope you love it ☺️
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