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Can’t Stay Away

The Feast Makers  (Scapegracers, volume 3)

By H. A. Clarke 

11 Apr, 2024

Miscellaneous Reviews


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The Feast Makers is the third and final volume in the Scapegracers modern fantasy trilogy. The Scapegracers trilogy is by August Clarke, writing as H. A. Clarke.

Sideways Pike and the rest of West High’s Scapegracer coven have successfully vanquished their enemies and retrieved Sideways’ soul. Now the soon-to-graduate high schoolers need to consider what they are going to do with the rest of their lives… which, thanks to the consequences of their actions in the previous two books, might be very short.

Item one: what is to follow high school? University? This might scatter the coven if Sideways, Daisy, Yates, Jing, and new associate Shiloh head to different schools. That is, if Sideways could get into good schools (unimpressive marks) or even afford them. The Scapegracers might also be scattered if they join different established covens, as the covens are competing with each other for the Scapegracers1.

Item two: Sideways’ romantic life is threatened by the possibility that their cohort will part ways for schooling. It’s also threatened by Sideways’ talent for making complicated situations far more complicated. 

Item three: Madeline Kline, soul-thief. While Kline acted out of desperation, what she did to Sideways was very wrong. The witch community is adamant that Kline must be punished in a memorable way to deter others. The Scapegracers are justly angry at Kline but are also unwilling to see the teen suffer the draconian punishment that the more doctrinaire witches demand.

Item four: in the course of fending off the local witch hunters, the Scapegracers killed a witch hunter and retrieved all of the stolen witch souls. Now what?

  • What is to be done with the souls?
  • Will the witches survive possible reprisals by the witch hunter community?


In contrast with some fiction starring teens, the parents in this novel are not useless or counterproductive. Sideways’ issues may be outside their parent’s fields of competence but at least their dad tries to support them.

The teens in this book, protagonist Sideways in particular aren’t all that good at making considered, rational decisions about their future lives. They look only at the short term2; they act impulsively and improvise without much forethought. The challenges that they face are often of their own creation. It can’t help that the romantic options open to them are complex and poorly documented. This makes for an exciting plot but it’s not much fun if you’re one of the characters. Good thing we’re readers.

We can still sympathize with them because a) most people have been confused teens and b) the Scapegracers’ enemies, the witch hunters, are monstrous, smug killers. The witch hunters have enriched and empowered themselves by persecuting the weak. They are as happy as a lynch mob on its way to a hanging. This novel isn’t all black and white (it’s nuanced), but this conflict is stark.

I’m not the teen target audience for this book, but I enjoyed it nevertheless; it was an enjoyable conclusion to Clarke’s trilogy. My only complaint is that it is the final book in the trilogy. At least I can take comfort in the fact that Clarke has sold three more books to Erewhon.

The Feast Makers is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Apple Books), here (Barnes & Noble), here (Chapters-Indigo), and here (Words Worth Books).

1: At the risk of sounding sixty-three-years-old, it’s nice that the Scapegracers want to stay together in their future lives… but does that make any sense? The coven formed thanks to a chance meeting of witches in a small-town high school. What are the odds that it’s the only group that the individual Scapegracers will ever need? Want? They’re thrilled to meet the older witches who come to town to deal with the stolen souls. That’s a glimpse of a wider world. Imagine what possibilities might unfold if they head off to college.

Teenagers are famously grateful when adults point out that their plans may not make sense. Probably more of the adults should have tried expounding at length on prudent courses of action.

2: Short-term thinking exemplified by the way that Scapegracers can recognize that an existential threat has rolled into town and then be distracted by issues that are considerably less urgent.