Book Review: Her Majesty's Royal Coven by Juno Dawson
“the patriarchy, above all else, fears women coming together, so internal female division only succeeds in greasing that machine.”
A very important tale of finding yourself, respecting others and witchery sisters. This story reminded me a lot of AHS's Coven as it was filled with backstabbing and powerful witches. The story has been described as being *too political* at times, however during times like these I felt that the anger that is described through the many injustices the characters go through is important and relevant to today's changing world. At times I did find the book being too preachy, which took away from the authenticity of the characters. However, overall I feel like the story as important messages on the Black and LGBTQ community.
The story is set in London, years after a deadly magical war overtook the city. The witches' coven is ruled by Helena who is one of the POV's we get. She receives a premonition from one of the oracles that a new demon under the name of Leviathan will rise to destroy the world and their coven. Helena, scared over the last war reaches out to her friends. Niamh, is a vet and a retired HMRC member. However, when Helena brings her a child under the name of Theo and tells her that this boy might be the end of the world she hurries to help her. We also get the POV's of Leonie, who set up another coven called Diaspora since she felt the HMRC only supported white witches and no other type of race or gender, and Elle who is a healing witch whose daughter has recently started showing signed of witchcraft. Together they must fight this child who might not be as terrible as Helena paints him to be.
One of the major plot twists of the story (SPOILER) is that Theo is trans, and thus doesn't feel she should be attending a cabal (which is the coven for the male witches, or warlocks) and also showcases why her powers are so strong (as usually men don't have strong powers.) However, the main issue of the book is how Helena is refuses of her transition and fails to acknowledge her to the HMRC and thus sets of a set of events that begin the end of the world and the rise of one of the most dangerous demons.
The story is great because you get to see the raw and adult issues all the witches face. How they're all not perfect, how they all have failed themselves and each other. However, you get to see them trying to heal from their past and really come together to defeat Helena and her misgivings. It is also great because you get the see Helena's POV, and how her inability to change and accept Theo is what actually sets off all the damage she wanted to stop. Her deranged thoughts and ugly thoughts toward the child are hurtful and raw, and you really understand through her how people with the same thoughts as Theo go through.
The book talks a lot about queer communities and the people's inability to accept them as normal people and although Leonie's perspective becomes sometimes too preachy it does wonders to the book and the explanation of their rights. I really felt for these characters and I became entrapped in a really thrilling world that is unwilling to change with the times.
Overall in this modern and changing world I feel this book does a great job at representing all the voices and really showing the struggle of unrepresented communities. It is an angry book for a reason, a very valid reason. In addition the character development and the actual adventure and secrets the book holds also create a perfect rendition of just enough romance, just enough adventure, and a ton of inclusivity.
Overall rating: 3.5 stars