HMRC: Her Majesty’s Royal Coven
⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 4.5 out of 5 stars
Twenty-five years ago, a group of girls, united by friendship, took an oath to join Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. Now, they all lead separate lives, married or single, inside or outside the Coven. When the Oracles prophesy the rise of the demon Leviathan and the end of the world, they are forced to take a stand for their beliefs. Soon, they find themselves on opposing sites…
This is an exciting position. It is full of magic, intrigues and action. On the other hand, it is also full of descriptions of quiet village life in Hebden Bridge. This is possible because of the varied ways the characters have chosen. After a brief introduction describing their childhood, we move into their thirties, learning gradually about their past. Somewhere along the path, they separated, built their individual lives and identities and even learned to resent each other. Helena became a High Priestess of the bureaucratic HMRC, while Leonie created a rivalry, more inclusive coven called Diaspora. Elle hides her magic from her unsuspecting husband, and powerful Niamh chooses a quiet life of a country vet. Their paths cross again when a young boy threatens the existence of the world as they know it.
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven touches on the surprisingly multiple ideas and choices that modern women face. These include family versus successful career, keeping true to your identity and beliefs, relationships with men, honesty, friendship and feminism. An essential element of the book is Dawson’s exploration of gender, tolerance, equality and inclusion, especially in the context of the LGBTQ community. The characters and ideas in the novel are so diverse that sometimes I felt like the book could benefit from focusing on one issue instead of the constant shifting between the ideas and points of view. It seems to touch on various topics but does not explore any in real depth. It feels like Dawson, who is also a screenwriter, wants to show her readers the world she imagined and tell them an increadible story with a vital lesson included, but does not give them time to get familiar with it. We move along quickly as we would expect in a movie, but in a literary form, it feels like sliding on a surface instead of plunging deep into the fascinating world of HMRC.
Still, I liked this witchy read. There are breathtaking epic scenes described in a very vivid and cinematic style. I would love to see it on the screen one day. I recommend this book to fans of fantasy and stories about witches in the modern world.