Summary: A 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.
My Thoughts: What a cool book. As everyone knows, I love witches, so I snapped up the chance to read this collection of short witchy stories as soon as I saw it on Netgalley. It is a collection of 15 short stories, all written by different women, involving magic, witches, and femininity. The most amazing thing about this collection is the diversity. Every story is vastly different from the one before, including the characters, writing styles, forms of magic, concepts, etc. We got so much variety, and yet they all worked well together as a cohesive collection. There were definitely some stories that I enjoyed and connected to more than others, but I think there is truly something for everyone in this collection. My favorite stories were “The Gherin Girls” by Emery Lord, “Beware of the Girls With Crooked Mouths” by Jessica Spotswood, and “Why They Watch Us Burn” by Elizabeth May. “Beware of the Girls With Crooked Mouths” was so captivating, and I loved the system of magic and the plot of the story. I could have easily read (and want) an expansion of this story into a novel. “The Gherin Girls” I loved because of the sisterly relationship (I really connected to these characters) and the subtle, yet well developed magic in it. “Why They Watch Us Burn” was an incredible way to end the anthology. It was completely haunting, terrifying, and scarily relevant. I rated each story with a star rating and then averaged them to get my overall rating for the collection and it came out to a solid THREE STARS, but some of these stories are worth so much more to me. There was a quote from “Why They Watch Us Burn” that really resonated with me, and I’m sure will with a lot of women. “The most terrifying thing in the world is a girl with power. That’s why they watch us burn.”