Her Majesty's Royal Coven by Juno Dawson
Hello everyone. A new book to talk about today, ]
This time it is Juno Dawson's adult fantasy debut. I have wanted to read this one for a while. So, what is the book about?
About The Book
THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
The first in a supernatural new series from the author of Wonderland, Her Majesty's Royal Coven follows a top-secret government department of witches and the deadly threat to the nationt they must confront.
Dawson is at the top of her game in this vibrant and meticulous take on
witchcraft. Her characteristic wit and grit shine through'
Hidden among us is a secret government department of witches known as Her Majesty’s Royal Coven.
They protect crown and country from magical forces and otherworldly evil, but their greatest enemy will come from within…
There are whisperings of a prophecy that will bring the coven to its knees, and four best friends are about to be caught at the centre.
Life as a modern witch was never simple … but now it’s about to get apocalyptic.
Prepare to be bewitched by Juno Dawson’s first adult series. A story of ancient prophecies and modern dating, of sacred sisterhood and demonic frenemies.
Hubble bubble toil and trouble!
And trouble there is in bucketfulls in this the first adult fantasy by Juno Dawson. I was quite excited to receive this Audiobook from the publisher’s Harper Collins through Netgalley.
Now I have to say that this was on my list of ‘Oh my gods, I really need to read that!’ And doubly so after listening to Juno Dawson’s recent Dr Who Adventure on BBC Sounds.
The story starts on the eve of the solstice as we join five young girls who are about to be inaugurated into the service of Gaia and Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. A secret branch of her majesty’s government established by Anne Boleyn in order to protect the country from magical threat and unnameable evil.
We then quickly move to the five girls as they are grown up. Helena, is the youngest ever high priestess of the coven. Leonie, mixed race and gay has become disgruntled with the predominantly white, middle class leanings of the HMRC and has formed her own breakaway coven called Diaspora. Irish born Niamh, widowed in the civil war that shook the HMRC is a vet in Hebden Bridge and is trying to come to terms with her grief and fight her attraction to six packed veg man, Luke. Whilst Ellie has turned away from the coven to become a nurse and raise her family. Meanwhile, Niamh’s sister, Ciara lies incarcerated in a coma like state after she fought on the opposing side in the civil war.
The friends are drawn back to the coven when the ‘Sullied Child’ who is prophesied to bring about the raising of the evil that will destroy both the world and the coven, Leviathan, is found and is being held with the HMRC’s prison.
Niamh, appalled at the treatment of an innocent convinces Helena to let her try to get through to the child and hopefully turn him from the dark side. However not everyone is convinced, especially Helena, who believes that the child will bring about hell on earth.
Set against a nuanced backdrop of intricate world building, Juno Dawson writes an entertaining tale of friendship and magic.
I have to say that I enjoyed this. If you are going to be offended that women can have a starring role in fantasy and that men play second fiddle to the female stars of the book, or discussions of trans or gay rights or social inequality and think that things like this shouldn’t be in a fantasy book then walk away now because Juno Dawson is not afraid of having these discussions. Me? I have no problems with these topics being included in the fantasy that I read and couldn’t get enough of Juno Dawson’s writing. However, I knew that I was going like this after listening to Dr Who Redacted on BBC Sounds.
The first half of the book does take a bit to get into as there is a large amount of set up in the story, not just in the alternative setting that Juno Dawson has created, but also in the friendships and the power dynamics of the group. However, when we do get past this act of the book, the story sets up a gear as the plot takes over characterisation and we move towards the end of the tale.
I listened to this on audio, and Nicola Cochran does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life with her narration. She was able to portray all of the characters and manages to convey the differences in each of the characters. The production was spot on, and there were no times where I got lost in the story.
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