by Anais Alexandre
* I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review *
What a fun, fast read! Baby witches today are quite lucky (and by that, I only mean “witches under age 30” — no ageism here, I know baby witches can be quite knowledgeable and experienced!) TikTok and other social media platforms where this author is an established influencer help baby witches find their people and forge strong bonds to work their craft together — this was not always such an easy task, so in that regard I think baby witches today are quite lucky, because some of those influencers go on to write books like these. I wasn’t aware of the author’s status when I requested book or began reading, so keep in mind my review exists separately from their social media platforms.
I’ve read at least one book on a similar topic lately, and the main differentiators are the branding of each book, and the fact that this book includes an equal representation of non-alcoholic potions and elixirs.
The book is well organized, with an introduction by the author explaining who she is, her path to magic, and some of the struggles she’s had on her way to identifying as an eclectic witch working with various practices, including African rootwork (she is a witch of color, so this is culturally appropriate.) After providing the framework to her approach to magic, she explains what potions, brews, and elixirs are and what they do, provides further specificity about the different kinds of potions, and clears up some common, media-created misconceptions about potions. The next chapter is dedicated to clarifying the steps involved in making a potion — fantastic for novices and a good refresher for old pros.
Everything is written in a friendly, knowledgeable, approachable manner using language that addresses the reader as a friend. One of the most difficult barriers for baby witches in the time before social media was always feeling like your level of knowledge was not enough, and the inaccessibility or secretiveness of older witches willing to share knowledge. Though social media isn’t my thing — I’m glad that this new, inclusive attitude of crowd-sourced knowledge that anyone can access is the upshot. If you are thinking that this book is somehow “less than” because the author is a YouTube influencer, please set aside your preconceptions.
The recipes themselves are well-organized into 13 sections that range from love potions to batch potions for your coven.
I would also like to give praise to the fact that the author clarifies that the love potions are ethical love potions and cannot bewitch someone into loving you; they simply make your “love me vibes” louder to those who are receptive to them. I also appreciate that the author clarifies that potions don’t work instantaneously or independently of doing the actual work.
The recipes are introduced with a pictographic key indicating their level of difficulty, whether they are alcoholic or non alcoholic, and the season in which they’re best enjoyed. Brew recipes are for the most part vegan; wherever a milk is indicated there are notes for using non dairy milks, especially helpful if a dairy/non-dairy milk produces different results. There is also a QR code that will direct you to Anais’s TikTok channel, where you can see how some of the brews are made.
I found more than a few recipes I’ve bookmarked for later, and had everything on hand to make the Burnin’ Love potion immediately. (It was good!)
My only real critique of the book is that some of the ingredients might be a little fiddly or difficult to find in the US, where things like boba pearls and a wide selection of very specific herbal teas aren’t as readily accessible.
This critique is small enough that I saw no need to deduct stars, though it would be nice in her next book to include suggested substitutions for some of the less-easy-to-come-by ingredients.
On a similar note, there is equal representation of non-alcoholic brews, but in a future book is love to have seen a non-alcoholic adaptation for every brew, so that non-drinking witches can enjoy every recipe, too.
The whole book is stylish, attractive, and ready for posting on social media. If you’re an older witch, don’t let the youthful branding of it dissuade you from picking it up– the contents are knowledgeable, ethical, and well-thought out. If you’re a baby witch, lucky you! This is definitely a volume to keep on your shelf, because you’re sure to find more than a few potions to use throughout your practice.