This absolutely beautiful book was a total impulse buy on a recent trip to Brick Lane but oh my, I’m so glad my impulses took over. I read this book in a day or two -I had to get it on audible so I could continuing my reading in the shower or the car too. I just couldn’t tear myself away.
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven is set around a group of four women -childhood friends who have all since gone through their own experiences, facing hardship and even some bad blood, and have all drifted in their own directions. However, these aren’t just any women, they’re witches. Each with their own sets of strengths and specific powers, they are drawn back to one another as a young warlock comes into their lives. With extraordinary and untrained powers, the young boy presents immeasurable danger for the coven and along with it a string of ominous prophecies from the oracles. The four women are faced with a decision that could fortify them or divide them.
Set in present day, I personally loved all the references to our familiar things: Alexa, social media, the spice girls, fashion houses like Prada and Celine. I also love how beautifully this book deals with issues such as racism, homophobia, and any type of queer issues or aversions to ‘different-ness’ within the matriarchy and Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. I love how Dawson portrayed these almost-stereotypical images and elements from the real world in the witchy-world. In particularly, I love the fact that it’s the younger characters who are the bigots while an older character remains accepting, stating ‘Nothings ever fully one or t’other. Sometimes change, although painful in the short term, is very much needed‘. It goes against the notion that our senior generations are resistant to change which I found so refreshing.
Dawson also did a wonderful job of describing the settings and characters, and really summoning wonderful imagery though her language; whilst also refraining from being too long-winded. While I know others have stated that this book feels underdeveloped, I personally couldn’t disagree more. I thought it was perfection. As the first book, of hopefully more to come, I thought Dawson did an excellent job of giving enough background information about these women and the choices that they’ve made, to help us readers understand where they are in their lives now. Another thing I really admired was how there were quite a few characters yet they were all so distinctively different and well developed. I personally found that added so much texture to the storyline.
***Spoilers from this point on***
A coven should be a community, not a haughty members clubp.44
Right, now I can be a bit more transparent with the details. I found it really interesting how well Dawson portrayed the topic and plot-point of transgender within a witch setting. The idea of trying to make a warlock who feels like a girl conform to the identity of a male so as not to change the status quo was such an interesting and thought-provoking thread to weave through. I must say, I did really enjoy the character of Helena to begin with. She was set up as such a pillar of protection and a real savvy-leader for the coven but as soon as she got Snow to spy on Niamh, I started hoping she’d be killed off real soon. Her paranoia that Theo would pretend such feelings in order to infiltrate the coven added such layers and such a divide to the characters that led to so many plot-twists. Honestly, she made me real angry -but thats how bloody brilliant Dawson did with her writing. It was so deep and I found the experience to be quite poignant.
Call me old-fashioned, call me names. I don’t care. You can stick a pointy hat on his head and give him a broom if you want, but that child will never be a witchp. 345
I also really enjoyed the breadth of lifestyles that Dawson portrayed in this book. The single women, working hours and steering clear of romance. The housewife full of pride in serving her husband and family. The radical witch, forging her own path and making a safe community for others while living an authentic life with her partner. The sulky teenagers, excitably one minute and then moody the next. Everything is so perfect. The women of the HMRC and Helena definitely reminded me of Angelina Jolie in Mr & Mrs Smith and the all-female group she worked with. A group of professional, yet badass bitches at work in a secretive and covert way.
Overall, I loved this book. There’s much more I could go on to say but I won’t. I read somewhere that this is the first book in a trilogy so I’m really looking forward to seeing what else is in store for these characters -especially given that ending! I’d highly recommend this book. I think it would make a great read anytime but in particular, the witchy season of October. I will say it’s not witchy-witchy; there’s no black cats and cauldrons but still has a great vibe to it.
Have you read HMRC? What did you think? Let me know below.
Cheerio for now!