The Ragwitch by Garth Nix
Finished: July 30, 2008
First Published: 1991
Genre: YA/Children's fantasy
Reason for Reading: I'm reading all of the author's works.
"Come on, Paul!" shrieked Julia as she ran down the dune, the sand sliding away under her bare feet.
Comments: Julia and her brother are playing on the beach when Julia finds an old rag doll. She takes it home with her and starts to act strange. When she leaves the house before the break of dawn one morning, Paul hears her and follows. The doll has taken over Julia's body and become a massive mix between Julia and the doll. The Ragwitch is free! She opens a door to another world and Paul quickly follows. Now Julia must fight from inside the body of the Ragwitch, while Paul is sent on a journey to obtain items from the four Elemental Masters to kill the Ragwitch.
I feel a bit guilty for giving this book such a low rating since I just love all of Nix's other work. But this is his first novel and it shows. I really had a hard time staying interesting and forced myself to finish the book. The plot is simple fantasy fare that any voracious reader of fantasy will find mundane. The characters are flat and it was impossible for me to care what happened to them. However, the writing itself is good and dialogue flows nicely, and it is interesting to see how Nix developed as a writer. There are glimpses along the way of what was to come next for him, The Old Kingdom Trilogy.
This book does contain the typical Nix darkness and death but not nearly as much as some of his other books and I could easily recommend this book to a younger age group (10+) and as a first fantasy outing this book may please. I do not recommend this as your first Garth Nix read but I do recommend that fans eventually read at some point just to see how his writing has progressed and to catch a glimmer at where his future writing came from.