In The Feast Makers, H.A. Clarke weaves together an odd, bold, and absolutely delightful conclusion to the Scapegracers trilogy.
When Sideways found their coven among the "popular girls" at their school, they never could've guessed what would happen next—witchhunters, curses, friendship, possibly falling in love... and now, the witch covens, and their enemies, gathering in town for a vicious witchtrial. As Sideways and their friends navigate through the complicated tangle of their past and future, danger once again lurks right around the corner.
I have so many things to say about this book.
First: the writing style! While it did take me a minute to catch the flow of the writing, when I did, I absolutely loved it. You can clearly see the author finding their voice throughout this series, and now they have. The writing has an odd, almost disjointed feeling, which adds to the eerie, not-quite-but-almost-horror vibes of the story and perfectly captures Sideways' personality. I LOVED IT. Unique and beautiful and absolutely delicious.
Second: the characters. I can't put into words how meaningful it is to see queer representation like this in YA books. These queers are messy and feral and confident and WEIRD and they love each other so unconditionally it makes my heart hurt. (Also, I saw this in another review and completely agree: We need more butch lesbians in YA?? Where are they??? Especially genderqueer ones??? Sideways is so cool???)
Third: the plot. This was the only part that was even close to iffy for me, and that was just because it's more character-focused than I usually enjoy. The real conflict is hinted at throughout the book, but Sideways has other, pressing emotional issues, and the story doesn't really pick up until the end, which was a bit rushed. But honestly?? The tension slowly building in the background made me sit even further on the edge of my seat, and the unique take on a "coming of age" story meant a LOT to me. So its worth it. Every word.
Apologies if this review is a little incoherent, I'm fighting off a cold right now and trying to make sense of my thoughts. All you really need to know about this book is that it's unique and bold and I adore all of these characters with all my heart. I already want to reread the whole trilogy. If you're looking for something that captures both the whirlwind adventures of being a witch AND the emotional chaos of being a queer teenager, this is the book for you.
The Feast Makers is the conclusion to the Scapegracers series, a supernatural series featuring anarchist sapphic witches and their coven of sisterhood. I absolutely adored the previous one which introduced us to Shiloh and Sideways's gender troubles. I did go into the Feast Makers without a reread of the previous two which meant confusion in addition to the series' flow of consciounness writing style.
The Feast Makers opens with Madeline's trial. If you remember she tricked Sideways and stealed their specter in book 1 after Shiloh's actions. This lead to Sideways' horrible time and pain in book 2. And here it's all about forgiveness or at least, a less punitive justice. I was once asked for books with more radical leftist politics and I feel confident recommending this series. Sideways doesn't like Madeline (or complex) but they don't want her to suffer like they did (again). While they forgave and befriended Shiloh, they will not reconcile with Madeline but tolerate her. As for the rest of the book plot I'm not sure what happened: we tied up the witch hunters plot, sideways thought about college.
I've seen reviewers complain that the book should end with the characters in a poly relationship and yeah it definetely felt like the book was setting that up until the end where Sideways ended up with one of the girls. This particular pairing had been set up from the beginning of the book but due to another pairing that also felt likely I thought we were going the poly route.
Oh, that was a VERY Scapegracers ending. I'm so happy and lucky to have gotten to read the conclusion to this series early, and I absolutely adored most of it. Like the rest of the series, the plot structure was more about the relationships and emotions between the characters (and vibes, Clarke writes vibes and descriptions perfectly), but I did wish that the climax had been focused on bit more. It just felt a little bit rushed, especially after the pace of the rest of the book. That being said, I still really loved The Feat Makers and HIGHLY recommend this series to everybody I know. I'll be thinking about this series for a long time, and am so excited to see what Clarke writes next!
Also, I absolutely loved that this book told teenagers it's okay if college isn't the right route for them. Other options exist, and that's okay too!! It's something I don't think I've really seen before in YA, and I hope that it's something that becomes more common, because not everyone wants to or has the means to go to college.
This was a long awaited read for me. I really enjoyed the end of the Scapegracers journey, although i am sad that this is the last instalment in the series. I really appreciate it when i see myself represented in books and i wish to read more of these characters that ive come to love so much, especially Sideways. It really meant a lot to me as a butch person. I wish we saw more of the final battle between the witches and the witchfinders cause i felt like it was rushed. But, otherwise i really enjoyed it!
Thank you so much to Netgalley, Erewhon Books and of course the author H.A. Clarke for allowing me an advanced reader copy.
The final installment to the deliciously weird and at times borderline horror series The Scapegracers! This picks up a few months after scratch daughters and continues to follow the poignant story of Sideways and her coven. Like the other books in this series it can be a heavy commentary on feminist and justice. As they deal with the outcome of Madeline and what kind of punishment she deserves for her actions in the first and second novels. How do you punish a girl who has also suffered trauma at the hands of witch hunters?
As always Sideways is the center of the story. They are loyal and fierce and caring of her coven and can also be reckless. Daisy, Yates and Jung are the perfect co conspirators for all of the covens high jinx. I’m so attached to these characters
HA Clarkes writing is fun and different which I thinks adds to the story in the best possible way. Describing walls as drooling with sludge just adds an element to the story that other writing styles cannot capture.
A perfect end to a fantastic series. I’m sad to see it end.
Okay, so let me start by saying that I didn’t realise that this was the final instalment in a trilogy. For that reason, I’ve tried not to focus on the story itself in this review as I think that would be unfair.
The syntax and grammar in the book do drag away from the story. I think at one point someone was making pancakes for character an and character b and character c which doesn’t really flow well and kept breaking me out of the story.
The characters, especially Sideways, I found quite frustrating. It may have been different if I’d read the other two stories but I found them to be melodramatic. It is nice to see some strong non-binary representation and other characters being corrected, fairly, when they misgender a character.
I will admit that the story tied together what I’m presuming are the strings from the previous stories. Without reading them, I was able to follow along and guess the storylines of the previous books so it did well at connecting the loose ends (I presume!).
This was such an excellent final installment in the Scapegracers series! The Feast Makers picks up a couple months after the ending of The Scratch Daughters, with Sideways's magic having been restored and the coven just wanting to get through senior year (and perhaps avoid confronting the inevitable separation that will come at the end of it). When the time comes for Madeline Klein to be put on trial for the crime of stealing Sideways's magic, however, the group knows they have to intervene. As Sycamore Gorge becomes a meeting-place for witches from all over just as witchfinders begin convening in town, causing the tensions boiling in the earlier books to come to a head.
First things first, I ADORE the characters and their relationships in this series and it was lovely seeing them developed even further in the final installment. Shiloh and Sideways having a sibling relationship with genuine love and support (but also an understanding of Shiloh's past and how far they've come) are a dynamic I *never* would have expected in the first book, but is truly one I came to love. The romance that developed between Jing and Sideways in this installment is also just *chef's kiss*. The protectiveness? The hesitation and tenderness and snark? The flirting via book recommendations? Utterly perfect!
This series also has really insightful and nuanced examinations of justice and redemption, themes that were introduced in The Scratch Daughter's via Shiloh and are expanded more on in this one. How should Madeline be treated as a witch who had her magic stolen and then stole another's? What kind of justice or punishment exists that an acknowledge both the trauma she endured and the pain she inflicted on Sideways? And who gets to decide that?
Sideways is, of course, the the beating heart of this trilogy and I continue to love them so much as a character. They're fierce and loving, spiky and loyal, afraid and reckless, and also have such a pitch-perfect, instantly recognizable voice as a narrator. I loved seeing Sideways grapple with both their past and how to move forward (and, spoiler alert, their plans for the future are perfect).
Also, as befits the final installment in a trilogy, there are some GREAT plot twists. I won't elaborate on them here, obviously, but there was more than one moment that genuinely surprised me and added new stakes to the story.
This was, overall, SUCH a fantastic end to a phenomenal series and I am so glad that I was able to read it a few months in advance. I love the snarky, queer, fiercely loving series and it's been a wonderful ride.
A stellar end to a series.
The LGBTQIA+ rep is beyond, it’s pure magic.
Psychedelic, triumphant, weird and wonderful and an absolute trip, I hope more people seek out this wildly unique series.
A fantastic end to a fantastic series! I was so excited to continue with Sideways’ journey! Love the witchy elements, as well! This will be great for anytime of year, but also during the spookier season!
Sad that this is the end for the Scapegracers, but I loved the wild ride. I loved how much Sideways Pike had grown between each book despite the intensity of their fucked up situation. As for Grace Chantry’s big reveal, I totally called it! I do wish there was a lot more backstory there, felt like there was a gaping plot hole on that front.
Super bummed that Sideways ended up with Jing and only Jing. Even more bummed that Daisy didn’t get Sideways in the end, though she was way cool about it and very supportive. I think Sideways was in love with all three of them so I genuinely felt like they should’ve just be one big poly couple.
The last stand with the witches and wotchfinders started off strong, them fizzled out, then we just faded into prom night? Uh uh. I need way more than an abrupt fade to black with zero explanation. Not cool. That alone knocked my rating down a star.
Overall, this book was good. The series is great. 9/10, would recommend.
This series has been such a delight to read and I’m already planning on rereading all 3 books back to back because oh my god I love these characters so much. The relationships the Scapegracers have with each other are so loving and heartwarming to read, and I love Sideways’ growth of accepting the affection they bulldoze into them as the books go on, which is especially clear in this book.
A few of the cons for me were that the group as a whole did not get together as much as I would’ve liked in this addition to the series, especially with one of the Scapegracers I felt was being denied the same amount of spotlight as the other members. The main conflict was also resolved pretty quickly, and Sideways was written as if they were confused/drunk/disassociating the majority of the time, but I think they’re allowed to be a bit out of it after everything they’ve endured in the prior books. I feel that all in all this book concluded the story in a satisfying fashion.
The romance was so cute and definitely hit allll the spots, although still managed to be somewhat slow-burny with Sideways being frustratingly oblivious at some points (no it’s not rocket science that the girl who asked you to kiss her acts like she wants you to kiss her, Sideways).
Small gripes aside, I really did enjoy reading this story from beginning to end, and I am not ashamed to admit that I opened the email containing the status of my ARC request faster than I would have an email titled: “I Paid Off Your Student Loans And Here’s Why” (thank you so much to Netgalley, Erewhon Books and of course the author H.A. Clarke for allowing me an advanced reader copy).
Song on loop: NDA - Billie Eilish
I really do fail to put into words how much I love this trilogy, to be honest. The plot in this one is perfectly adequate to the topics we're dissecting, just like in the other two books - and just like in the other two books, it was completely overshadowed by how much I adore the characters and the writing itself.
Clarke, I think, is writing like nobody else is right now. There's something so stupidly visceral and raw about it - they ALWAYS make me feel, touch, see and taste whatever it is that they're describing.
And my god, this was one of the VERY few books that I read this year that were impossible to put down. It was 3 in the morning and I was absolutely playing the good old JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER mind games - I just never wanted to stop, even for just a second.
Overall, I cried a little bit at the end - the Scapegracers speak to a part of me that I don't reconnect with often and I felt like we reached the perfect conclusion with it. An incredible ending, graceful tone shifts, strong character development, and it made me feel so so so much.
Ugh. It honestly makes me a little bit mad how good these books are.
I’m going to miss Sideways and their feral coven of queer witches. Sideways is such a messy character who makes you want to tear your hair out, it just makes me love them even more.
The way Clarke describes how Sideways navigates the world is so rich and gritty. It’s so vivid I honestly hurt a little while reading but I couldn’t get enough.
When I randomly picked up The Scapegracers from the library years ago I wasn’t expecting to be so invested in a series. I was so drawn in by how unapologetically feral this group of teenagers are. The level of friendship this coven has for each other is inspiring.
While the pacing was a little off I can’t not LOVE the fuck out of this book/series.
I want to read them again and again.
This series will kick you in the gut repeatedly and you WILL ask for more just to spend as much time with these badass teens as possible.
On a personal note, watching Sideways grow into their identity was a breath of fresh air.
Thanks to Kensington Books/Erewhon Books for a free eARC of this book via NetGalley. This review is left voluntarily.
The Feast Maker is the third and final installment in the Scapegracers series, which is a witchy queer fantasy book that I absolutely adored. H.A. Clarke's writing style is sharp, and they have masterfully managed to capture the essence of the story and the characters. The dynamic between the four girls is chaotic and enjoyable. I highly recommend this series to anyone and can't wait to read more stories from the author. I will miss these girls and their chaos so much. Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with an early copy.
Thank you to NetGalley and Erewhon Books for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
I definitely did a little bit of jumping up and down for joy when I saw that I'd gotten approved for this ARC. The Scapegracers series is an oddball little trilogy that came in like a wrecking ball and unexpectedly stole my heart, and this, the final installment, was no different. It's bloody and ferocious. It's fiercely loyal, fiercely anti-establishment, and gloriously queer. It loves hard. And there's absolutely nothing else in YA at the moment that's quite like it, in a really, really good way.
The plot of this particular book felt a little less tight and polished than previous installments, and there were definitely things that I felt could have been a little bit better—the romance is great, but feels like it could have been built up a little bit better, and I felt that overall, we saw a lot less of the Scapegracers together. This in particular bothered me, since the heart of these books has always been the fierce love among these four people, and the terrifying power of them all working together; and particularly in this book, where one of the questions hovering over their heads is how their coven is going to survive the inevitable ensuing separation post-high school, I felt like it would have made sense to see more of them spending time working out that question together. It didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the plot, however, and I really liked the way that Shiloh, who was introduced (in a manner of speaking) in the previous book, had a much larger role to play in this one.
I'm definitely going to miss this world and these characters a LOT, and I hope August Clarke writes more witchy books in the future!
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for review. A satisfying conclusion to a great queer witchy YA series. I love how messy flawed and real all the characters seem. And as always the absolute strength of this series is the interactions between the Scapegracers. Plot points from the previous books are all neatly ties up and the girls really find their place in the witchy community.
so so good. loved all the characters and the plot. so happy sideways and jing ended up together! i love this series and I can't wait to see what H.A. Clarke writes next!
This book was amazing. It's everything I could've hoped for. I understand some reviewers had issues with the pacing but, for me, the minute I picked it up I could not put it down. I inhaled this book and felt it course through me in a way that only good writing is able to pull off. Thank you so much for these characters and their stories, they mean the world to me.
Didn’t love it didn’t hate it. Would I be able to recall anything from this in a day - probably not.
I have never completely lost myself in a series so hopelessly before! I absolutely adored this series and this book was just the most perfect conclusion to an absolutely wild ride. The Scapegracers have the kind of feral friendship that you could only dream of. I felt so connected to all of the characters individually but the friendships are so well written that it just seeps off the page and draws you in, almost like witchcraft you could say. Each character brings something amazing to the story and I missed them when they weren't there.
This book has so many twists and turns and so many bright and vivid characters even on the final book we still meet new people as the Scapegracers get ready to go in their separate directions. There is slow burn romance, action, battles, fights for justice, magic and most importantly what shines through in this book is the importance of being yourself no matter what. I find Sideways one of the most inspiring book characters I've read in a long time, by being unabashedly themselves they bring this group of misfits together. This book is gritty, dark at times, full of magic and fantasy and extremely queer in the best possible way. I will be recommending this series to everyone I know for the rest of my life!