ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



May 2024



The Shadow Cabinet by Juno Dawson

Written by , Posted in Uncategorized

Three Stars

Best for:
Those who enjoyed the first book in the series, Her Majesty’s Royal Coven.

In a nutshell:
Taking place immediately after the end of the first book, we find a witch who has taken over her sister’s body and a lot of men who want to cause a lot of harm to women.

Worth quoting:

Why I chose it:
I enjoyed the first in the series.

Without spoiling the book, I appreciate that the first one had a theme that was related to trans women, and this one was focused more on how men treat women. Obviously this is a world that has magic in it so it’s fantastical (though it takes place in current day UK and not some imaginary world), but the issues around the fear men have of powerful women, and their desire to exert dominance over women are extremely relevant.

(While reading it I was reminded of the discussion taking place on TikTok right now about whether women would rather be trapped in the woods with a man or a bear.)

I rated it a bit lower than the previous book because there is a LOT going on, and at times was a bit challenging to follow exactly what was happening. There are also some great unexpected twists, but that’s a separate issue. I think author Dawson knows the story she wants to tell, and has a lot of ideas that will probably all come together, but with so many different storylines and perspectives I’m still not entirely sure exactly what happened in a couple of areas. I suppose that’s not surprising for a book in the middle of a series – lots of place setting for what is to come next.

Overall, I think this is the type of fantasy book I can get into – there’s some world building but not so much that I have to draw my own map and create a glossary to understand what it happening. It’s largely based in a world I understand and know, so I can focus on the plot and the stories. I know some folks prefer fantasy that is set in a wholly fictional realm, so if that’s your preference, this isn’t going to be for you.

To note: I read a physical copy of the first book in the series, and chose the audio book for his one when I learned that it was read by Nicola Coughlan (over Derry Girls and Bridgerton fame). She does a fantastic job of nailing loads of different accents, and in general is a great narrator.

What’s next for this book:
I’ll definitely read the final book in the series when it’s released.

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