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Juno Dawson

Författare till Her Majesty's Royal Coven

27+ verk 2,428 medlemmar 60 recensioner 2 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Inkluderar namnet: Juno Dawson (author)

Inkluderar även: James Dawson (1)

Foto taget av: Photo of author Juno Dawson.


Verk av Juno Dawson

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Associerade verk

I Am Heathcliff: Stories Inspired by Wuthering Heights (2018) — Bidragsgivare — 25 exemplar
Torchwood: Aliens Among Us 1 (2017) — Författare — 9 exemplar
BSFA Awards 2022 (2023) — Bidragsgivare — 1 exemplar


Allmänna fakta



I'm always up for a witchy read, and even more so if it's a queer one! In this respect, Her Majesty's Royal Coven completely met and surpassed my expectations. Honestly, if I'd written this review immediately upon finishing it, I had been so caught up in it, it probably would have been 5 stars. Yet, as I gave myself some time to reflect a little bit more on it, I realised there were quite a few things that didn't quite work well for me.

The book is centred around Niamh, Helena, Elle and Leonie, a group of friends who have known each other since they were children and, at one point, were all inducted into Her Majesty's Royal Coven, a secret coven of witches protecting the UK from magical threats. Yet, a long war and painful events have left their scars, none of the women is left unscathed, and their friendship is more fragile than ever. The arrival of a mysterious child, Theo, is linked to a prophecy that may destroy the coven itself: dormant tensions will rise to the surface and lines will be drawn in what promises to be a war to eclipse all others.

The story is told in alternating POVs and right from the start I immediately warmed up to Niamh. When we meet her, she has retired from HMRC to conduct a simple life as a vet, at least until trouble comes knocking on her door. Niamh was by far my favourite character and she felt like the best-developed one too. She is well-rounded and complex, fiercely loyal and ready to use her considerable powers to defend those who need help and fight for what she feels is right. I enjoyed every moment spent with her!

In contrast, none of the other characters felt quite as well-developed. I'll keep it vague to avoid spoilers, but one of the witches has quite a dramatic personality shift at one point which, while it certainly serves the plot, felt just a bit too radical in a way that was unexplained. I was also sorry not to spend more time with Leonie and her new coven, which she founded as a more inclusive coven after breaking away from HMRC. The book is steeped in political and social issues, especially those of representation, so to devote so little time to the more inclusive coven and its founder felt a little... off. This is only the first book in the series though, so this may be developed further in future books, but I would have liked to see some of that here.

With only a few exceptions, the secondary characters are also quite thin and mostly interchangeable. This is always a risk when there's a big cast of main characters, but I felt it a lot towards the end of the book when I realised I actually kept mixing some people up and could barely remember their names, let alone any other distinctive traits. This is especially true of the male characters, who are virtually non-existent except as causes of the suffering of the main characters. Now, I'm the first to champion female-centred books and to recognise the harmful role of the patriarchy in society, but the way relations between people of different genders were handled here seemed a bit too simplistic and reductive.

I don't think it's a big spoiler, but one of the characters identifies as trans. I loved this (and this character!), and having this kind of representation is so, so important. However, a lot of the conversations between different characters end up being centred on whether trans women are women, but we barely ever hear directly from this character about her experience and feelings. One POV character is also a TERF and a fair bit of time is spent with her, which is very uncomfortable and might be triggering for some.

Still, the story is extremely engaging and kept me wanting to come back until the ending (that ending!), even despite the multiple UK-centred pop culture references which were cute at first but grew old pretty quickly. I also partly listened to the audiobook for this and that was amazing! Nicola Coughlan is a brilliant narrator and SO good with accents, I could have kept listening to her for many, many more hours.

So, while this wasn't exactly the super-empowering queer feminist witchy urban fantasy of my dreams, Her Majesty's Royal Coven is a highly engaging, page-turning book with some memorable characters and a good start to a series. I'll be looking forward to reading the next book!

Content Warnings: This book contains mentions of death, violence, racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, war, kidnapping, confinement (prison), and domestic abuse.

I received an advanced review copy of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
… (mer)
bookforthought | 13 andra recensioner | Nov 7, 2023 |

The book started off great, I was getting really into it and I felt very validated. But after about a third of the book, the information became severely outdated to the point where some of the information seemed inappropriate to modern day, which was very confusing because at one point in the book there is a mention that this book was reviewed or edited in 2020. I can appreciate the efforts to bring awareness and proper education to LGBTQ for when this book was published, but I would not recommend that anyone reads it for accuracy or education in 2022 or the years to follow.… (mer)
aubriebythepage | 14 andra recensioner | Jul 7, 2023 |
I wish that there had been far less slang. Young people would be better served to read formal names of body parts and terms that describe acts. It's hard enough to try to learn about something that is not easily discussed openly without trying to decipher the slang. The problem is compounded because the readers are international and their local terms may be very different from the ones the author uses. In addition, some of that slang changes over time. The glossary is very helpful, but the author doesn't use some of those terms in the text.… (mer)
pollycallahan | 14 andra recensioner | Jul 1, 2023 |



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Associerade författare

Guy Adams Narrator
Ajjaz Awad Performer
Lee Binding Cover Design
Lisa Bowerman Director
Rob Harvey Composer
David Menkin Narrator
Blair Mowat Composer
Laila Payne Performer
Eve Webster Narrator
Aoife McMahon Narrator
David Levithan Introduction


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