Review – Toil and Trouble

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

cover129871-medium.pngA young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.
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.

5 Stars

I was absolutely floored by this anthology. I don’t normally enjoy the majority of the story stories in anthologies but I loved all but two of these stories. I skipped the story written by Tristina Wright because of the scandals surrounding her. I won’t support her or her writing. There was another one that just wasn’t quite my cup of tea. However, all of the other stories were lovely. They were across all different time periods and different worlds, even those that were made up. I loved the included queer representation.

I also really loved the different variations of witches. I loved that there were witches who were aware of their powers and others who were coming into their powers. There were witches whose mother’s disapproved of how they were using their powers and others who supported them in their actions.

I loved Emery Lord’s story and as always Anna-Marie McLemore’s. These were delightful. I also loved that I saw old faces, such as Andrea Cremer, who I haven’t seen a book from in ages. All of these styles fit together well and I loved the order that these came in. I specifically loved the sentiment of the ending story. It reminded me of the witch doesn’t burn in this one by amanda lovelace and I think it fits the political climate of the times. It fits with the #MeToo movement and I think it’s just an all-around book of female empowerment.

However, there is a story in here by Tristina Wright. I have skipped that story and will not be reading or reviewing it. I don’t think it’s fair to all the other amazing authors to boycott this book because of their involvement, however, given their track record, I am really disappointed to see them included in such a magical and uplifting anthology.

*Thank you to NetGalley for this review copy*

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