Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Begone the Raggedy Witches (The Wild Magic Trilogy #1) by Celine Kiernan

Aunty Boo had always been the one who protected Mup and her family from the evil raggedy witches by by trying to keep them safe in the mundane world. But no sooner does Aunty pass away, and a bunch of raggedy witches arrive at their home, with the intention of kidnapping Mup's Mam, Stella, and bringing her back across the border to her birthplace in the Witches Borough in the Glittering Land where Mup's tyrannical grandmother rules as Queen. With Aunty gone, the Queen is afraid that Mam will want to claim her right to the throne as the heir.

When Mam couldn't be forced to return with the raggedy witches, they kidnap Mup's father instead, who is on his way home from the oil rig he works on in the North Sea. Luckily, Aunty's spirit is still around when Mam, Mup, baby brother Tipper, and Badger, the old faithful family dog, set out to rescue Dad, held prisoner in the Witches Borough.

Once across the border, Mup and her mother are amazed at the powerful magic Mam suddenly seems to acquire. First, she transforms Tipper into a playful, talking puppy, then kidnaps a raven to prevent him from telling anyone about her crossing the border. The crow, nicknamed Crow by Mup, has been order to speak only in rhymes. But when Mup frees Crow, and he's captured by the raggedy witches, she learns he is really just a boy around her age. Soon, however, Mup is also quickly made aware of the dangers her family faces in the Witches Borough.

There's a lot going on here. The raggedy witches want to bring Mam back to their Queen, Mam's mother, to eliminate her as a rival the throne. The rebels living in the Witches Borough want Mam to stay and be their new queen. Crow wants to find his father and have a family just like Mup has. And Mup and Mam, well, now that their world has been turned upside down, they have to rethink who they are and what they want. All this makes for an exciting, action-packed novel that I personally couldn't put down.

The Witches Borough is a place where magic is no longer permitted by the Queen, where all rebels are required to speak in rhyme, and where men can only transform into ravens, and women into cats. But those who remember what it was like before the tyrannical Queen took over want to return to the time when magic was allowed and people could transform into whatever they wanted.

Mup, whose real name is Pearl, is Irish and Nigerian, a fact which (at least so far) has nothing to do with the story other than that is who she is. The story is told from her point of view, and readers will quickly find themselves enchanted by her. She is a kind, caring, rather quirky character, whose family is very important. I loved the anything-but-mundane outfit Mup chose for her excursion across the border from the mundane world to the glittering world - a pink tutu covered in spangles over a red wool dress, and her green frog wellies.

Begone the Raggedy Witches is the first book in The Wild Magic Trilogy by Irish author Celine Kiernan, but she is certainly no stranger to writing great fantasy. And while this may be fantasy, Kiernan address familiar and important themes of family, friendship, and be able to live an authentic life. If you love middle grade fantasy, this is a book for you.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, I'm really curious about this book! I've had it on hold for awhile...I've read lots of good things about it.


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