Thursday, October 11, 2018

Book Review: Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Begone the Raggedy Witches
Author: Celine Kiernan
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: Hardcover; 288
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers of all ages who love a good story about family, filled to the brim with magic.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
When witches kidnap her dad, Mup is swept up in a wild tide of magic that carries her to another world. Can she reunite her family and find her way back?

On the night that Aunty dies, the raggedy witches come for Mup's family. Pale, cold, and relentless, the witches will do anything for the tyrannical queen who has outlawed most magic and enforces her laws with terror and cruelty -- and who happens to be Mup's grandmother. When witches carry off her dad, Mup and her mam leave the mundane world to rescue him. But everything is odd in the strange, glittering Witches Borough, even Mam. Even Mup herself. In a world of rhyming crows, talking cats, and golden forests, it's all Mup can do to keep her wits about her. And even if she can save her dad, Mup's not sure if anything will ever be the same again. First in a new trilogy by Irish author Celine Kiernan, this tale of family and forbidden magic charts a fresh path through the landscape of beloved fantasy tradition -- and promises to bewitch any reader in search of stories to love.

This is my first book by Celine Kiernan, but it definitely won't be my last. Although Begone the Raggedy Witches is aimed at young readers, this is a story that will resonate with readers of all ages. It's a story filled with family love, tough choices, and beautifully created magic. Books like this make my heart sing, because they don't talk down to their intended audience. Kiernan weaves an exquisitely vivid world around Mup and her family, and it's one that I guarantee you won't mind being lost in.

Mup is such a delightful character, that I fell into step with her instantly. She's everything that a young girl would look up to, facing everything that comes her way with a kind heart and a brave face. It was so satisfying to read from her point of view, and Kiernan does a stellar job of making her feel just as real as you and I. Her love for her family is fierce, and her tiny spirit even fiercer. In other words, Mup is the perfect person to face the trials that unexpectedly come her way and it makes this book a joy to read.

There is no lack of action here either, and the plot zips along at a pace that perfectly matches Kiernan's elegant writing. Everything is described just enough to settle the reader right into the dark land that Mup's mother Stella finds herself in. There are no punches pulled as war breaks out, and Mup is unfortunate enough to be right in the middle of it. As I said before, I love stories that don't talk down to their readers and this definitely fits that bill. Kiernan shows just how dark things can get, but how brightly one can shine in the midst of that as well.

What else can I say? This book was just a delight to read, and I'm so happy that I had to the chance to review it. There will always be this special place in my heart for Middle Grade books. Authors like Celine Kiernan, who weave magical places for young readers to visit, are my favorite. So, I loved this! I think you might too.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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