Now She is Witch: ‘Myth-making at its best‘ Val McDermid

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Now She is Witch: ‘Myth-making at its best‘ Val McDermid

Now She is Witch: ‘Myth-making at its best‘ Val McDermid

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I think the big topics were given due respect and breathing room for the most part, although of course that feels like a very personal rubric. Now She Is Witch meditates on these issues and Logan's stance is explicitly made clear, yet it never feels like it's too much. The emphasis here is on storytelling, not just in Logan’s approach to her material but through an intricate exploration of roles on offer to women like Lux accused of witchcraft and devoid of social or economic clout - the parts she’s forced to play, and who gets to tell her story. Whether Logan is describing a dismembered bear whose lopped-off parts are handed out as favours at a banquet, or a gory flagellant’s parade, the images we are offered snap and sizzle with portent and possibility.

I have to admit to now becoming a little tired of novels about witches - but I love was Kirsty has done here. The mummers sections had a "Midsummer Nights Dream" feel about it, and loved the way that they were a band of waifs and strays.Not even to mention the beautiful circularity of the story, and the way that shards from the first page fall into place and are mirrored once we reach the ending.

It’s a kind of revenge plot, but being female in a male dominated time highlights the power and powerlessness of women at this time.Now She is Witch is a beautiful, atmospheric, resonant tale that follows Lux and Else as they fight to be heard and to tell their own stories. From the snowy winter woods to the bright midnight sun; from lost and powerless to finding your path, Now She is Witch conjures a world of violence and beauty - a world where women grasp at power through witchcraft, sexuality and performance, and most of all through throwing each other to the wolves.

The book also has enough action to keep you on your toes, while the other chapters; where the author takes the reader to reminisce about her characters’ past are long enough to slow your speeding heart rate a little.To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. It’s little wonder that for a time Lux, who as the novel progresses becomes in turn an actor on a frozen stage, a servant in a hall of delicacies, a food-taster to a lord and companion to a fine lady, is tempted to turn her back on Else’s revenge and set her own dreams of finding freedom in the wild country aside. The plot was so compelling, the pacing perfect, it just flowed beautifully, exactly what I’d expect from Kirsty Logan and her skilful writing. Now She Is Witch is part historical, part fantasy, an entwined mix of the two genres, such that you find yourself not quite sure.

I think one of the scariest points of the book was when one of the kitchen girls was not allowed to be around or tend the food because she was on her period and her unholiness would spoil the food. Although Logan’s take on it strikes some of the same beats, she made it feel fresher, darker and yet more tender than any I’ve read before.I was really interested the the idea of reading a ‘feminist witch’ book but this book didn’t live up to my expectations. She is supremely talented and has a fantastic imagination, and I love that she weaves folklore and other elements into her stories. What follows is her life’s travels, making her way from a group of vagrant theatre plays, to a final position as the kings food taster, all the while accompanied by a mysterious woman named Else, who she grows closely connected to.

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