cover image The Book of Witches

The Book of Witches

Edited by Jonathan Strahan, illus. by Alyssa Winans. Harper Voyager, $40 (512p) ISBN 978-0-06-311322-0

World Fantasy Award winner Strahan follows up The Book of Dragons with a darkly enchanting fantasy anthology comprising 29 wonderfully diverse stories and poems. Accompanied by lovely illustrations from Hugo Award finalist Winans, these tales offer myriad perspectives on the folkloric figure of the witch, defined in Strahan’s introduction as “agents of change” whose supernatural powers, whether relished or horrifying, emerge from within. Linda A. Addison’s stirring poem “Seed of Power” opens the book, invoking the figures of maiden, mother, and crone. Things get spooky in Tade Thompson’s chilling and dreamlike contemporary fantasy “The Luck Thief” and Fonda Lee’s Poe-esque “Nameless Here for Evermore,” but take a turn for the cozy in Garth Nix’s “The Unexpected Excursions of the Murder Mystery Writing Witches,” which stars magic-wielding versions of Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Josephine Tey. Other standouts include Darcie Little Badger’s “The Liar,” about a woman with the power to make others believe her lies, and Tobi Ogundiran’s “The Nine Jars of Nukulu,” which bubbles over with potions, poisons, and shape-shifters. These spellbinding tales will have readers up all night, utterly bewitched. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Aug.)