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WesternSFA


Mother of All
The Women's War Book 3
by Jenna Glass
Del Rey, $18.00, 656pp
Published: July 2021

An evil new magic threatens to undo all the progress women have made in the third and final book in Jenna Glass's riveting feminist fantasy series, following The Women's War and Queen of the Unwanted.

In the once male-dominated world of Seven Wells, women now control their own reproduction, but the battle for equality is far from over. Even with two thrones held by women, there are still those who cling to the old ways and are determined to bring them back.

Now into this struggle comes a darker power. Delnamal, the former King of Aalwell, may have lost his battle to undo the spell that gave women reproductive control, but he has gained a terrible and deadly magic-and he uses these new abilities to raise an army the likes of which the world has never seen. Delnamal and his allies seem like an unstoppable force, destined to crush the fragile new balance between men and women.

Yet sometimes it is possible for determined individuals to stem the tide, and it falls to a unique triad of women-maiden, mother, and crone-to risk everything . . . not only to preserve the advances they have won but to change the world one final time.

In this third novel of the series, Jenna Glass has brought the trilogy to a stunning conclusion. Each viewpoint, each character, is written to highlight the struggle of the women in the world of Seven Wells and bring the arc of the women to a brilliant end.

Not only does Jenna Glass intelligently explore the issues facing women in the male dominated world she has created but she also uses it to explore the many issues facing women in our world, themes that will resonate with female readers and also educate men who may not understand those issues. In the female rulers, Alysoon and Elywynne, they must face challenges such as the men around them giving them respect or trusting their judgement. Alysoon must face grief and find a way to come to terms with her daughter's loss, and find a way to move on. Elwynne faces balancing her desires to aid her husband with what is best for her kingdom. The other women in the novel must find a way to stand up for what they need in their lives versus what is expected. This is a complex book with complex characters, none of whom are black and white in their motivations or actions.

The novel encapsulates the past events from the previous two novels and carries forward, creating challenges that are authentic and expected. The women of Seven Wells must find a way to create a resolution that will save women from the men who would force them back into their previous roles but also save Aalwell. Jenna Glass stunningly wraps up the various threats facing the characters in a beautiful and creative fashion.

Readers who've enjoyed the previous two novels will love this one. The pacing is fast and the action well-constructed. The characters are engaging and dynamic. I would not recommend reading the third novel without reading the first two, the pacing works because I'd read the previous novels and there is information that is critical to the novel that you can only obtain from the previous books. But that layering is what makes the story so compelling. I loved reading this wonderful conclusion.

Rating: 5 out of 5 wells ~~ Andrea Rittschof

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