133. The Ragwitch

The Ragwitch by Garth Nix

Pages: 304
Finished: July 30, 2008
First Published: 1991
Genre: YA/Children's fantasy
Rating: 2.5/5

Reason for Reading: I'm reading all of the author's works.

First sentence:

"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.


  1. I didn't enjoy this book either. In fact, I never finished it. I really enjoyed the Old Kingdom trilogy and could see myself enjoying the Keys to the Kingdom (if I gave it half a chance) I even loved Shade's Children. But not this book. It just wasn't for me..

  2. Hmm interesting. It does look good and I do like Garth Nix but will temper my expectations when I get around to it.

  3. Michelle, glad to hear I'm not the only. It was tough giving him such a low rating. I love Shade's Children too!

    Rhinoa, I agree it does look interesting and I've been looking forward to reading it for a long time. Maybe I just expected too much since I love his work so much.

  4. I am working my way through the Keys to the Kingdom series. When I am done I am planning to go back through the backlist. I will have to remember to not get my hopes up too high with this one!

  5. I'd definitely like to read more of this author's work, too, but this doesn't sound like the ideal one to turn to. It's too bad it was disappointing...but on the plus side he got so much better with time!

  6. marg, I love the Keys to the Kingdom series. Suzy Turquoise Blue is my favourite.

  7. nymeth, exactly! It's always interesting to read a favourite atuhor's first book, even if it disappoints.

  8. Oh....that's too bad. I've heard great things about Nix. Sorry this one wasn't up to standards!

    By the way, I wanted you to know I nominated you for a blog award!

  9. stephanie, an award? oh my, let me go have a look!

  10. I thought this book was really good actually... I read it first when i was younger, like 10 or something, and i loved it then. Now im a bit older I don't like it QUITE so much, but i still enjoy reading it :)


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