Book Review: Enter Three Witches

ENTER THREE WITCHES by Caroline B. Cooney
Publication Date: April 1st 2007 by Scholastic Press

Summary: Lady Mary is a ward of Lord and Lady Macbeth whose life is forever changed when her father, Lord Cawdor, betrays the Scottish king and is hanged as a traitor. In an instant, Mary has lost both her father and future. Now she’s trapped in a castle with a power-hungry couple who will do anything to get what they want and are willing to crush anyone in their way. Including Mary. As the murderous events of Shakespeare’s play unfold around her, Mary must struggle to survive — and do what she can to prevent more deaths. But can a lone girl save lives when a legion of Scottish lords cannot?

Review Overview:

  • Not recommended for people who have already read Macbeth; story tends to get sluggish if you already know the plot
  • Love that Fleance takes a bigger role in this novel because he’s actually in Shakespeare’s original version!
  • Written in prose, it is very easy to read and a lot more accessible than the original text

I wasn’t planning to write a review for this one since I was technically reading it for school, but since some expressed interest in an IMM post where this book was featured, I thought that the least I could do was write one up – however short it might end up. I picked this up for my lit paper. The essay prompt was pretty much open ended and it gave me a reason to pick up a Macbeth retelling. This was the third time I had to read Macbeth for class (the previous was just the semester before!) so I knew I wanted to write something different. So I decided to pick up Enter Three Witches and look at the various techniques that Cooney uses in her retelling to adapt the tragedy of Macbeth.

First of all, I definitely would not recommend this if you have already read Macbeth. If it piques your interest, then by all means go ahead and read it, but if you already know the premise of the play then the book will lack its punch. Cooney does a fantastic job setting up the story. She does give a bit more background info to set the pace and even explains some of the terminology that Shakespeare uses. Did you know that Thane is equivalent to the modern-day title of Earl? Well, I didn’t.

While almost all of the main characters are not found in the actual play, Fleance takes a bigger role in ENTER THREE WITCHES. He is my favorite character just because he exists in Shakespeare’s version. I loved that Cooney created his character into someone that was more three dimensional than kind of just the extra in Shakespeare’s play.

Obviously, the language itself is pretty easy to read. Almost all of Shakespeare’s words are gone, except for the famous line here and there. Unlike the play, the novel is easy to read and does not induce headaches. I wish I could have enjoyed this more but since I did have to read it for school, I had to look more into the book than usual. It does take the fun out of reading but at the same time, it gave me a better understanding of adaptations and re-tellings in YA.


  1. Hmm, just wondering, so is this a complete re-telling, or more of a parallel canon sort of story? ’cause I’ve read Macbeth for school but this one seems interesting enough. But if it’s just a retelling, I don’t think I wanna read it. :)

    1. It’s definitely more a parallel / companion story. The story of Macbeth is the same, it’s just told through someone else’s perspective. Macbeth & Lady Macbeth are still characters of the book.

    1. I was supposed to read that one too! I read this one for a paper, but I didn’t have the time to read Lady Macbeth’s Daughter as well! Hopefully I will read it eventually! :)

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