When we think of witches—at least here in the States—we most often think of hags with
warts, long noses, and quite the menacing laugh. Wicked Witches explored those tropes and pushed past them, which is something I absolutely adore in a good anthology.
Instead of using the same tired old cliches in these stories, the authors provided a wide variety of perspectives and approaches to witches. In “Access Violation” by Jeremy Flagg, we get witchcraft as a form of hacking. In “Tilberian Holiday” by Izzy Lee, we get a woman who has suffered extreme loss, but a strange hope comes from an even stranger place. And to top it all off, in “Moving House” by Rob Smales you get the story of an iconic witch in a modern neighborhood. There are some very talented writers in this group, and it shows. I also noticed—and thoroughly enjoyed—a theme of witchcraft as a tool to help downtrodden women.
The multiple different perspectives on witchcraft aside, how the anthology was structured was rather sound. It begins with more classic witch stories, then moves into more modern concerns and tropes. The last story puts the classic in the modern, and that was a rather fun way of wrapping things up. There are one or two exceptions to this rule, but that was the overall theme I noticed.
I absolutely recommend this anthology for anyone who is interested in witchcraft and what happens when the intent behind magic goes awry.
All of that said, however, there were some stories that did not burn as brightly as others. The ideas across the board were very sound and very enjoyable, but there were a few stories that could have used a bit more work.
Overall, I adored Wicked Witches. It’s a solid collection that certainly makes me excited to see more anthologies from this group in the future. (Normally it takes me a month to finish a book. This one took me less than two weeks.) I give this collection a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.