Monday, August 27, 2018

Me on Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

Title: Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
Authors: Tess Sharpe, Jessica Spotswood, Brandy Colbert, Zoraida C­órdova, Andrea Cremer, Kate Hart, Emery Lord, Elizabeth May, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Lindsay Smith, Nova Ren Suma, Robin Talley, Shveta Thakrar, & Brenna Yovanoff
Edited by: Jessica Spotswood & Tess Sharpe
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Are you a good witch or a bad witch? Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth. History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations. Bold. Powerful. Rebellious. A bruja's traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch's healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane. From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely--has long frightened society, to the point that women's rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft is full of magic and wonder, of strengths and weaknesses, of love and fear and despair and power. It's a collection of stories highlighting young women and their abilities, be they accepted or hidden, honoured or feared, as they live their lives freely or in secret.

Sometimes it's a little hard to review anthologies because in an anthology there are usually two or three stories I really like, two or three that I don't, and the rest are okay. In this anthology I, at the very least, liked all of them. It's so much fun, reading all the different stories about everyone's different versions or adaptations of young women being witches or practicing some kind of witchcraft. Whether it was an inate power or something from a Goddess or passed down through families. Whether it was set in the past or in the present. Stories full of complicated politics, star-crossed lovers, moments between sisters, and young women rising up against the men that fear them. Stories about star signs, fear, faith, and fate. There are a few I love more than the others, the ones by Tess Sharpe, Zoraida Córdova, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Emery Lord, but all the stories are magical and powerful. They all speak to the power of young women, whether it be magic or determination or an indestructible combination of the two. It was such a joy to read this anthology and I hope there will be more like it in the future.

(I received an e-galley of this title from Harlequin Teen through NetGalley.)

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