Title: Begone the Raggedy Witches (The Wild Magic Trilogy #1)
Author: Celine Kiernan
Illustrator: Victoria Semykina
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Older children’s/middle grade, Fantasy
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: Mup’s dad has been kidnapped by witches, and Mup – along with her mam, brother and dog – must journey to an enchanted world to rescue him.
Danger awaits them.  Witches Borough is a beguiling place of rhyming crows, talking cats and forbidden magic, ruled by a tyrannical queen and her band of raggedy witches.  And Mam seems strange on this side of the border – striding, powerful and increasingly distant.
Even if they can save her father, Mup knows that nothing will ever be the same again.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is such a brilliant and exciting fantasy children’s book that I found myself engrossed in it right from the start! On their way home on the day her Aunty died, while her mam drives, the car Mup is in is followed by strange shapes and creatures. When they get home strange things start to happen and Mup knows there are raggedy witches outside the house, watching and waiting. When her dad goes missing the next day, she knows something is wrong and she must follow her mam to the magical land of Witches Borough where mam was born, to bring him back.

This book is just the perfect fantasy adventure read and I can’t believe how much I’ve enjoyed it. The spooky eerie atmosphere is obvious from the first pages as the strange raggedy witches follow Mup’s car home and the rest of the story just continues with this magical and slightly eerie feel. The book, written in the third person perspective, follows Mup as she and her mam, brother and dog cross over the border into a magical land where scary creatures lie. I love what happens to the characters, especially what happens to Tipper, it was both funny and unexpected and added a great slightly humorous element to this tale.

I don’t want to go into the details of what happens as I really think it would spoil the enjoyment but as the story progresses and the adventure deepens you really start to feel for Mup and some of the other characters in the tale. The deeper the family go in search of Mup’s dad the more complicated things become for them and I loved the interesting twists and turns this book had. I never knew what was happening and couldn’t easily guess which characters were truly good and which bad until later in the story. I also loved the animal element in this story, it made everything both more interesting and fun given what happens.

The ending of this book is a good and satisfying one and although it is the first of a trilogy I like the fact that this book also has a proper ending, no cliff hanger ending, as well as having enough to make you look forward to the sequel. Being a children’s book there’s nothing offensive in the story. It’s a very magical tale and at times has a bit of a creepy atmosphere with occasional death, but it’s all described in a way children can understand and handle. There are some lovely illustrated headers to each chapter, like a little ink picture next to the chapter heading (which look like the black inky creatures on the front cover), and each chapter is titled rather than numbered.

I really recommend this book to all fantasy adventure fans. Although a children’s book and Mup is very much a young girl, it’s a story that will be loved by older ages too as the magical fantasy element is so well written and imagined. I don’t think I’ve been so engrossed in a children’s book as this one for a very long time and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

-Review first appeared online February 2018 – now republished here.

Read review of book 2 – The Grey Girl by Celine Kiernan by clicking here

Have you read any books in this series?  Do you like books featuring magic or other fantasy elements?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂