In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling is the sequel that we deserved when it comes to the story of Hannah Walsh, her Elemental coven, and the young Blood Witch that she fell for in the These Witches Don’t Burn. It’s as gay as the first book. As well written as the first book. As heartfelt as the first book. And I love it to bits because it’s what happens when great representation is given the chance to shine.
Let’s break it down. First up, how gay this book was. Hella gay would be the answer. And my fears, when coming into this book, were that we wouldn’t see the natural progression of a relationship like the one that Hannah had with Morgan. Books geared towards teenagers shy away from the realities of intimacy like it doesn’t happen, especially between queer people. It does.
Glad to say that Sterling doesn’t shy away when it comes to intimacy between Hannah and Morgan. It’s the next step for them that they take quite seriously. It isn’t just an offhand relationship for either of them. Their bond is strong and they want to make sure they are taking their time with each other because of how much they respect the others boundaries. And that respect, that bond they form, is something that left me wanting more from these two.
Then there’s how well written this book was. Sequels are hard. You have to remember and take what worked in the first book and up the stakes, knowing full well that your characters have to grow alongside that story. And Sterling killed it. She killed it when it came to the continuation of Hannah’s story, especially when it came to the grief that Hannah was feeling because of the death of her father and how it was affecting her day to day life.
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Most importantly, when it came to the story and world that Sterling built, she killed it at upping the stakes and making us care for ALL the witches. They were a family, one built on love with a downfall that they were separated from other witches not of their kind, because of prejudice and fear. And the way that everyone came together, the way that they grew as people and witches, is beautiful across the board.
And finally, this book was heartfelt, even more so than the first book. There were many times where I had to pause and get a hold of my feelings just like Hannah was doing. Her pain was my pain even though I’ve never experienced a loss like hers. And the connections she made, the people she lost along the way, and those she gained, became part of my story in the hours that I was immersed in this world.
For that, I want to thank Isabel Sterling. You created a queer witchy world like I’ve never seen before. You included underrepresented groups like non-binary and trans characters in your book. You gave queer people a voice, a hope, and a place to rest our weary heads in a world where we aren’t seen as marketable or important enough. We are of value as queer people. We are important as queer people. And I want to thank you for giving us a space where we were treated with respect, kindness, and all the love in the world.
This Coven Won’t Break is now available.
Add This Coven Won’t Break to your Goodreads HERE.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)
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