Goodreads: Begone, the Raggedy Witches
Series: The Wild Magic Trilogy #1
Published: Feb. 2018
Years ago, Aunty ran with Mup and her mam, taking them from the realm of the witches across the border to the human world. Now Aunty is dead and her magic no longer protects them. And the Raggedy Witches come, stealing Mup’s father. So Mup and her mam cross the border to save him. Aunty always warned them to avoid the realm of the witches at all costs. But suddenly Mup’s mam seems like she might want to take back the throne that could have been hers.
Begone, the Raggedy Witches is a thrilling children’s fantasy that feels like an instant classic. A world-crossing adventure with a hint of Faerie, it takes readers across the border to a land where an evil witch rules by forbidding magic and hobbling language. The elements may seem familiar, but Celine Kiernan uses them to create an original, immersive world sure to delight fans of fantasy.
The story opens strong and never flags, as readers get to journey with three women from three different generations as they seek to rescue Mup’s father from the witches who kidnapped him. It quickly becomes clear, however, that a simple rescue operation may not be their only task. The realm of the witches needs them, even if some of them are not willing to help. The old magic is outlawed and certain males are forbidden to speak except in rhyme, meaning they cannot communicate as effectively as they might like; poor rhymers are all but rendered silent. Questions arise about who gets to wield power and how and why–and why some choose to ignore suffering rather than fight to end it.
Perhaps of all the issues raised, the most poignant stems from Mup’s question of why some people seem to be offered more protection than others. Aunty tells Mup that her family would do anything to keep her safe because they love her. But does that mean those who are unloved or unwanted must not be protected? Who is considered important–and why? Shouldn’t adults work to protect all children, not just their own? In a world at war, how do adults choose who lives and who dies? These questions resonate throughout the book as Mup repeatedly seeks to offer protection to those whom the adults seem not to value. In doing so, she reminds readers that a true hero is one who recognizes the inherent value in every person, not just the powerful or the politically relevant or even the likable.
Begone, the Raggedy Witches the kind of story that reminds readers just how good fantasy can be. Lead by a trio of strong protagonists, set a in magic and wondrous world, and driven by questions of power and ethical duty, this is a book that will have readers eager for the sequel.