Her majesty's royal coven

Juno Dawson

Book - 2022

"If you look hard enough at old photographs, we're there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters. Why is it we help in times of crisis? We have a gift. We are stronger than Mundanes, plain and simple. At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls--Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle--took the oath to join Her Majesty's Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a c...overt government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and Helena is now the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she's a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena perceives as the deepest betrayal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora. And now Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities has been captured by authorities and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. With conflicting beliefs over the best course of action, the four friends must decide where their loyalties lie: with preserving tradition, or doing what is right. Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of the coven"--

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SCIENCE FICTION/Dawson Juno
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor New Shelf SCIENCE FICTION/Dawson Juno (NEW SHELF) Due Oct 15, 2022
Series
Dawson, Juno. HMRC ; 1.
Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Fantasy fiction
Witch fiction
Lesbian fiction
Transgender fiction
Queer fiction
LGBTQ+ fiction
Novels
Published
New York : Penguin Books [2022]
Language
English
Physical Description
432 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9780143137146
014313714X
Main Author
Juno Dawson (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Dawson, in an impressive flex, uses the rules of the fantasy genre to make a statement about people of color and LGBTQ individuals and how organizations can exclude and ignore them. Witches are always women and are always more powerful than men, or warlocks. Her Majesty's Royal Coven (HMRC) is known to exclude and judge witches of color, who might use magic not approved by white women, and warlocks are excluded as well. HMRC is holding to its exclusionary rules, which could be more problematic than they know. Five friends, Niamh, Elle, Leonie, Helena, and Ciara, are sworn in as witches loyal to HMRC. Twenty-five years later, Helena runs the coven; Elle and Niamh are no longer in HMRC; Leonie has left to form her own inclusive coven; and Ciara is in a coma-type state because of her evil activity. Helena asks Niamh to step in and help with a young and extremely powerful warlock, Theo, who has been foreseen to have a connection to a great evil that could destroy the world; if he is treated with kindness and understanding, Theo could be the renewal of their world. Readers who enjoy witches and watching change ripple through a culture will enjoy this series. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Dawson, in an impressive flex, uses the rules of the fantasy genre to make a statement about people of color and LGBTQ individuals and how organizations can exclude and ignore them. Witches are always women and are always more powerful than men, or warlocks. Her Majesty's Royal Coven (HMRC) is known to exclude and judge witches of color, who might use magic not approved by white women, and warlocks are excluded as well. HMRC is holding to its exclusionary rules, which could be more problematic than they know. Five friends, Niamh, Elle, Leonie, Helena, and Ciara, are sworn in as witches loyal to HMRC. Twenty-five years later, Helena runs the coven; Elle and Niamh are no longer in HMRC; Leonie has left to form her own inclusive coven; and Ciara is in a coma-type state because of her evil activity. Helena asks Niamh to step in and help with a young and extremely powerful warlock, Theo, who has been foreseen to have a connection to a great evil that could destroy the world; if he is treated with kindness and understanding, Theo could be the renewal of their world. Readers who enjoy witches and watching change ripple through a culture will enjoy this series. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

This first adult novel by YA author Dawson (Clean; Meat Market) is a story of feminism, matriarchy, gender roles, and tradition, in which a group of women at a crossroads must decide between what's right and what's easy. Niamh, Helena, Leonie, and Elle fought and won a war between witches and warlocks that drove them to separate scarred futures. The Coven's prophets predict that it's about to happen again and that fighting among themselves will cost them the future they once fought together to save. This opening volume in a projected trilogy is about the breaking of their world, as the prophecies turn out to be self-fulfilling and the ends are proven once again not to justify the means. Three old friends fight the darkness, while one refuses to see that she has come to embody it. As everyone chooses sides, evil is loosed upon their world. VERDICT Readers who love a big fight between good and evil, who enjoy seeing magic in the everyday world, and those who like their heroine's journeys to include all facets of heartbreak will savor the cut and thrust of this battle.—Marlene Harris Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This cleverly constructed contemporary fantasy, the adult debut from YA bestseller Dawson (This Book Is Gay), launches the HMRC series. Witches Niamh, Ciara, Helena, Leonie, and Elle have been friends since childhood. They swore their oath to the eponymous, long-standing coven—a secret mainstay of the British government—together and fought side-by-side during a brutal civil war. When, after years of peace, Theo, an impossibly powerful teenage warlock, is discovered in an orphanage, the portents foretell a new threat. As it becomes clear there's more to Theo than meets the eye, conflict over how to handle the situation erupts among the four friends. Helena's personal biases gradually overshadow her friendships, and she takes increasing risks to secure the safety of her coven. Though at first the story feels run-of-the-mill and seems to lack the emotional intensity that characterizes Dawson's work for teens, a gradually building layer of political commentary ultimately reveals a complex metaphor for the U.K.'s sociopolitical climate and mainstream transphobia. This added texture is carefully balanced with a fast-paced second half and some truly surprising twists, making this an exciting new direction for Dawson. Readers will be eager for the next installment. Agent: Alyssa Reuben, Paradigm Talent Agency. (June) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This cleverly constructed contemporary fantasy, the adult debut from YA bestseller Dawson (This Book Is Gay), launches the HMRC series. Witches Niamh, Ciara, Helena, Leonie, and Elle have been friends since childhood. They swore their oath to the eponymous, long-standing coven—a secret mainstay of the British government—together and fought side-by-side during a brutal civil war. When, after years of peace, Theo, an impossibly powerful teenage warlock, is discovered in an orphanage, the portents foretell a new threat. As it becomes clear there's more to Theo than meets the eye, conflict over how to handle the situation erupts among the four friends. Helena's personal biases gradually overshadow her friendships, and she takes increasing risks to secure the safety of her coven. Though at first the story feels run-of-the-mill and seems to lack the emotional intensity that characterizes Dawson's work for teens, a gradually building layer of political commentary ultimately reveals a complex metaphor for the U.K.'s sociopolitical climate and mainstream transphobia. This added texture is carefully balanced with a fast-paced second half and some truly surprising twists, making this an exciting new direction for Dawson. Readers will be eager for the next installment. Agent: Alyssa Reuben, Paradigm Talent Agency. (June) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"If you look hard enough at old photographs, we're there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters. Why is it we help in times of crisis? We have a gift. We are stronger than Mundanes, plain and simple. At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls--Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle--took the oath to join Her Majesty's Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a covert government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and Helena is now the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she's a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena perceives as the deepest betrayal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora. Andnow Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities has been captured by authorities and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. With conflicting beliefs over the best course of action, the four friends must decide where their loyalties lie: with preserving tradition, or doing what is right. Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of the coven"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

“Superb and almost unbearably charming, Her Majesty’s Royal Coven… expertly launches an exciting new trilogy." —The New York Times Book Review  "Talk about a gut punch of a novel. …A provocative exploration of intersectional feminism, loyalty, gender and transphobia [that] invites readers into an intricately woven web of magic, friendship and power." —The Nerd DailyA Discovery of Witches meets The Craft in this epic fantasy about a group of childhood friends who are also witches.If you look hard enough at old photographs, we’re there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters. Why is it we help in times of crisis? We have a gift. We are stronger than Mundanes, plain and simple.At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls--Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle--took the oath to join Her Majesty's Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a covert government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and Helena is the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she's a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena perceives as the deepest betrayal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora. And now Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities has been captured by authorities and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. With conflicting beliefs over the best course of action, the four friends must decide where their loyalties lie: with preserving tradition, or doing what is right. Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of  the coven.