Each month, I trawl the internet and social media to discover newly released books. More often than not, there are whispers – or even shouts – about a whole host of titles. By November, I was already hearing about The Light Jar and Sky Chasers. Similarly in January, social media Tin and Eye of the North were plastered all over social media.
Yet one book I hadn’t heard about was Begone the Raggedy Witches. I hadn’t seen any reviews appearing, nor had anyone mentioned it on Twitter or Facebook. It was all strangely quiet. In fact, I only first heard about whilst writing my New Books for February post. Thankfully, I took the plunge to add it to my list and buy a copy. I seriously urge you to take your own plunge!
The book, which is the first of a trilogy, begins with Mup travelling home one evening with her mum and brother, Tipper. The action instantly begins when witches begin to mysteriously follow the family. Within the first few chapters there have been unexpected visitors, a death and a kidnapping. It is a dark, dramatic start which sets the tone for the rest of the book. I was hooked!
What follows is the family’s quest as they cross over into the witches’ realm. Here Mup meets a host of intriguing characters, all living under the fear of the queen. You will meet rebels who must always speak in rhyme, women who turn into cats and men whose alter-egos are ravens. It is a world where magic is forbidden, but is also the only hope of overcoming the queen. As the story unravels, the power of magic, family and friendship are each revealed; each sucking the reader under their own spell.
This is an exceptional book. Celine Kiernan effortlessly asks you to suspend reality and enter her world. Her language is immaculate and has a certain lyrical quality that so few writers possess. As mentioned there are dark themes, yet these are perfectly balanced with some lighter moments. In Mup, she has created a character fit for any adventure. She is quirky, full of determination but also fragile. She is a character who grows before your eyes as she tries to control her raw emotions and cope as her world is thrown upside down.
The front cover proclaims that Celine Kiernan is Ireland’s JK Rowling. This is a high accolade indeed, but one that is truly deserved. Truth be told, I much preferred this to the Harry Potter books. It reached out and grabbed me. It hooked me and held my attention from start to finish. But most of all, it took me an emotional rollercoaster. I experienced everything from anger to that warm, tingly feeling that believing in magic brings.
Whether you are a child in your final years at primary school, a lover of children’s books or an adult who loves magical stories, I cannot recommend this book enough. Get yourself a copy and prepare to be transported to another world.
Pages: 288 pages
Age Recommendation: 9 and over
Publisher: Walker Books