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Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan
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Begone the Raggedy Witches

by Celine Kiernan

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I always get excited for books about magic and witches and I was excited to receive this one. It is the start of a trilogy for Middle Grade readers about a girl named Mup whose father is taken by witches in order to lure her mother back into the magical realm she was born in.

This was a fun read and it was fairly short. Mup is a wonderful main character for younger readers and her support of others and overall attitude in a time of crisis was encouraging. The story follows her as she goes after her father with her mother who has recently learned she is from this magical place and was taken to live life normally by her aunt. There was drama and magic, and an overall sense of urgency throughout the story so the pacing worked well.

I liked how the world was built and how the readers are able to fall right into it. An added bonus was also that the ending was not a complete cliffhanger so you can read it as a standalone if you so choose to.

Overall I think this will be a fun read for younger readers and since this is the first in a trilogy, there are more stories to come if you enjoy this one. ( )
  sszkutak | Oct 18, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is definitely aimed toward younger-middle school children. Along the lines of the first couple of Harry Potter books, but maybe even a year or two younger than that group. As such, it's not an age group I usually read, but that didn't hurt my opinion of it.

Similar to Potter, this is a story with characters steeped in magic and fantasy. Celine Kiernan has written this with a wonderful balance of language that reflects that magical tone, but in a way that children will be able to understand it. Also, the language is just beautiful enough to make this seem "different" to the kids, adding to that fantasy edge.

At the core, Begone the Raggedy Witches has morals about family, equality, and other things kids should know, but it doesn't beat them over the head with it. I can also appreciate a story that has a heroine and (mild spoiler) a dad in peril instead of a 'damsel in distress'. Similar again to the Harry Potter series, there are points in this book that root it in reality, to build that sense of "it can happen to me" in children.

All in all, if you know kids that love magical fantasy stories or are a tad too young to fully grasp Harry Potter (even if they already have read and love Potter), this is a wonderful book. The pacing is quick and will hold even short attention spans with bursts of adventure. Definitely look at it if you get the chance! ( )
  derek.stuhan | Oct 7, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Full disclosure, when I bid on “Begone the Raggedy Witches” by Celine Kiernan I didn’t know it was a children’s book. That being said, this was a really fun and interesting read. Being geared towards much younger readers than I, it obviously had a tone that was different had it been written for adults. But Kiernan did a wonderful job creating this world and the dark areas were sufficiently dark to interest an adult reader. The general plot revolves around a secondary world from ours that is populated by witches and other supernatural beings. A woman (Stella) who was spirited away as a child from that world to present day Ireland, is now an adult with her own children and is drawn back into a civil war in the witch’s world.
Kiernan is a very talented world builder, and her main protagonist Mup (child of Stella) is a character that I think children reading this will love and relate to. The language was perfect for middle school children, and the serious nature of the witches war is presented in a way that will scare those readers but not terrify them. This is a Harry Potteresque novel, that is nowhere near that scope but still a fun and quick read. ( )
  erikschreppel | Sep 24, 2018 |
Mup, Mam, Tipper and Aunty – I followed them on a magical journey filled with witches, lost clans, and the fight to understand the meaning of family and home.

Mup is a little girl who has the largest moral compass in the world. She is bright enough to ask all the hard questions; “What if no one loved me? What if I was all alone… Would I still be important enough to keep safe?” She understands “how much it robbed from someone, to make them bury their feelings in the hunt for the best or safest word.” She wonders if it is OK to “have a warm and comfy life when other people didn’t”. She is committed to making sure that “no one ever, ever, ever gets left behind.” She teaches all of us that we can be much better.

While this is marked middle grade, I think young children would enjoy having this tale read to them. I loved this book and look forward the next book in the series.

Thank you NetGalley and Candlewick Press for a copy ( )
  kimkimkim | Sep 24, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Received as ARC
I had never read Celine Kiernan, and now I'm quite excited to get my hands on more of their work. This book has that wonderful very sparse yet very vivid and rich language and description that Irish writers seem to manage so beautifully. The clearest brightest images come to mind with every description, and it feels so effortless and lightweight. The exposition and establishment of the characters is equally so. This gives the whole book almost a magical-realism feel, even though it's well and truly a fantasy story. The antagonist appears only briefly and yet is very nicely frightening. I found the villains and the plot to be wonderfully spooky without being the stuff of outright horror, and without being generally too scary for its intended audience - in the same vein as Coraline, if you'd like a point of reference. I would maybe caution the more sensitive young reader to be aware that it is a spooky book.
Overall a quick, gorgeous, and very enjoyable autumn read. ( )
  scarylullabies | Sep 24, 2018 |
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From multi-award-winning Irish author Celine Kiernan comes a fantasy adventure about witches and forbidden magic. Ireland's answer to JK Rowling. Sunday Independent A middle-grade fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Frances Hardinge, Katherine Rundell and Sally Gardner. On the night that Aunty dies the Raggedy Witches come for Mup?s mam. Pale, cold, relentless, they will do anything to coax Mam back to Witches' Borough, a suppressed magical realm. When they kidnap Mup?s dad, Mup and her mam must leave the mundane world to rescue him. But Mam is strange on this side of the border - striding, powerful, and distant. Even if they can save Dad, Mup is not sure anything will ever be the same again?.… (more)

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