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The Ragwitch

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  2,762 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
From the author of Abhorsen comes classic fantasy set in a world dominated by the Ragwitch, a being of sinister, destructive intent. Quiet, easygoing Paul never expected to be cast in the role of savior. But his strong-willed sister, Julia, has come under the thrall of the Ragwitch, and Paul himself is drawn not only into the creature's world but into a battle for Julia's ...more
Hardcover, 391 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Perfection Learning (first published 1991)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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As it says, I started but did not finish this. I picked it up at the library because I was looking for more Nix after finishing the Old Kingdom trilogy. It's hard to believe that they are by the same author, although as others have written, this is his first published work. Mediocre is the word I would use to describe it. Despite the length, it really is written for older children or younger teens, and not just because of the age of the characters. The writing style is very direct and literal. E ...more
Belen Schneider
While this book doesn't have the complexity of the Sabriel series (it is his first publish, after all), I thought it was a lovely story. It's a great older kid/young adult read, the characters and story are interesting, and the fantasy world centering around being trapped inside a ragdoll-witch is clever and fun. If you have kids, I'd encourage you to share it with them! As an adult, I found it a pleasant way to while away some time.
Nov 26, 2015 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this on a vakation to Sweden when I was 13. I did not like it much but somehow I remember it, which is special, since I don't remember anything else that I read that year. It will always be connected to Within Temptations Jillian, a song I had on repeat when reading this book, even though the song Jillian(I'd give my heart) is about another set of books entirely. Whenever I hear as much as the opening choirds this books comes to mind. So 3 stars for sentimental value.
Jubilation Lee
Not a brilliant book, but not a terrible one either -- you can definitely tell that this was Garth Nix's first published novel, because he hasn't quote honed the storytelling skills that make Sabriel such a fantastic read. Everything about Ragwitch is just a little stilted, from the names of the villains (Really? I'm supposed to be scared of something called a Meeper?) to the stereotypical characters (Helpful knight! Wise but confusing sage! Angry water lord!).

The one thing I will say for this
Standard boy who doesn't want to be a hero? Check.
Standard girl who isn't smart enough/is too strong-willing to avoid the ancient enemy/evil artifact? Double-check.
Standard quirky fantasty side-kick? Check.
Standard helpful kickass hero (with a side of love-lorn maundering)? Double-check.
Standard quizzical oddball wise mentor? Double-check.
Standard deus ex machina happy ending? Check.

What is it with Nix and having great concepts, but not being able to make plots and books that live up to them? Th
I just expected more from Garth Nix, because I love his Abhorsen trilogy, and have been enjoying reading Shade's Children. I feel that the Ragwitch story dragged on and had a lot of unessessary plot additions, and a lot of unbelievablely lucky and slightly annoying circumstances. The main character wasn't even very lovable or even likable. He was always complaining, and I was hoping to see that he grew from his complainyness and became stronger as the story went on, but that didn't seem to happe ...more
Savannah Kiez
I fell in love with Garth Nix's writing during the course of reading The Abhorsen Chronicles (and Sabriel in particular). In comparison to Abhorsen, this novel, I felt, just couldn't stack up.
The idea behind this story is very interesting, Garth Nix has a talent of making his fantasy worlds unfold as if you are there, and this is no exception. Following the journey of Paul, as with Sabriel, the reader is slowly introduced into a world of danger, friends, enemies, and intrigue.
Unlike Sabriel, th
Jan 05, 2015 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Two Australian children accidentally free an ancient evil, and are sucked into the magical world she came from. A little young and too travelogue-y for my taste, but the magic is (as always with Nix) fantastically inventive and oftentimes disturbing.
Vanda Bromwich
Nov 05, 2013 Vanda Bromwich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two children, Julia and Paul are drawn towards a strange mound on a beach. Julia digs in the top of the mound and discovers a ball of feathers which she unravels and finds a rag doll inside - the Ragwitch. The adventure then begins where Julia is assimilated into the witch and becomes a part of her brain and both children fall into a different world. They meet many strange creatures and people in their efforts to rescue Julia and the people from the otherworld from the clutches of the Ragwitch a ...more
May 23, 2008 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-as-child
Not as good as Nix's other works (notably the Abhorsen series and Shade's Children). I haven't read this book in a while, but I remember being bored by it. Where was the dynamic, intriguing world that Nix usually creates? Still, if you're a fan of Nix, I suggest you pick this up anyway. You may not reread it, but it's worth reading once.
Saoirse Sterling
[Quick and short review from memory before I re-read and re-review at a later date:

Hmmm... There are things I remember of this though I also remember it being a bit lacklustre and odd. I am quite excited to re-read it, though.]
Apr 09, 2016 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 19, 2008 Teresa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so uncharacteristically bad that I couldn't get more than halfway through it before I gave up. It pained me but I simply couldn't justify reading the whole thing.
Jan 06, 2016 Jared rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book Paul's sister, Julia has been taken control of by the Ragwitch, a being of sinister and destructive intent. Paul is drawn to follow the creature into it's world, to save his sister's very existence from the wrath of the Ragwitch. When I first started this book I thought I wouldn't like is as much as I liked the Abhorsen series, but after reading it I think that it was good book. One thing I didn't like about the book was how Paul got the elemental pieces for his quest to save his si ...more
Got to page 250 and just couldn't stay with it. Not interesting enough. I would have thought it would be in the juvenile section instead of YA.
Feb 11, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This made my recent flight to Boston just rush by. It's got a retelling of Snow Queen flavor to it, though too intense for young kids.
Nov 18, 2015 Roger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read many Garth Nix books, so was very interested to read this one, which I believe to be his first published novel. It has all the trademarks I've come to expect from Nix, in particular a multi-part quest, not dissimilar to the Keys to the Kingdom and Seventh Tower series. The writing initially felt a bit clumsy, but the storytelling eventually distracted me and I found myself enjoying it much more than I was expecting. I'm planning on reading all of Nix's standalone novels and short stori ...more
Michael Cluff
Are there such things as evil, demonic dolls that consume your essence, your very soul? (And no, this is not about Furbies. And for those of you that had previously forgotten about those, you are welcome.) But what if there were such toys, or at least just one? Well, in the mind of Garth Nix there exists such a creature of pure evil. The Ragwitch.

Paul and Julia are on holiday and are strolling along the Australian shore when Julia finds a rag doll. She loves it. Paul thinks it is evil and he is
Oct 01, 2013 Karl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

well what can I say. It is really really hard to give a book a low rating. I love books so much that it is somewhat disappointing to not really like one. Ugh.
This copy of Nix's The Ragwitch came to me a few months ago in a second hand bookstore. It was there wanted by no one, but it caught my eye at that time in midst of all the I made scouring in the tower of books. Too bad I did not had a chance to buy it at that time. It caught my interest because my girlfriend gave me a copy of Lirael (which
Jan 26, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy and horror fans young and old
The Ragwitch is the oldest of Garth Nix's books that I have read to-date.

I thought it was a good story. You can see his fingerprints all over it. Though there is a clear "good" and "bad" side in the conflicts in this book, the choices faced by the protagonists are neither clear-cut nor easy. Nix's tendency toward the use of horror tropes in his fantasy were also evident.

The villain of the piece is the Ragwitch, a horrible creature who once devastated an entire kingdom before being forced out of
This isn’t a great novel, by any means. True, it has action, adventure, magic and bloodshed. But there is a hurriedness to the story that made me feel rushed along with barely any exposition, a style more suited to a children’s tale than one designed for young adults who presumably have a longer attention span. In the space of one chapter, young Julia finds a doll and gets consumed by the malign presence in it. Her brother Paul sees that it’s evil (how does he know?) but Julia doesn’t. The Ragwi ...more
Lia Marcoux
Jun 25, 2013 Lia Marcoux rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This felt like a very amateur effort from Nix. The story has an ostentatiously spooky beginning and goes downhill from there. There seems to be no structural reason for the two main characters to hail from Earth instead of the land of the story, except to give other characters the excuse to explain things to them (and there's other ways to shoehorn that in there; amnesia, sheltered home life, prologue). Instead, because it begins in Australia but immediately jets off into FantasyLand, the story ...more
Alex Porter
Torn from his life, family, and world, Paul has to become a new man to be able to save this world and get back to his own. Rescuing his sister Julia from the clutches of the most powerful and evil witch ever is going to be a challenge so Paul gets the help of some new friends and some intense magic. I enjoyed this book because of the magic and fantasy aspect but didn't really enjoy how perfect everything was able to work out for the main character. I would recommend this book to people.
H.J. Harper
Jan 16, 2010 H.J. Harper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wasn't sure about this one at first - I'm a huge Garth Nix fan, but when I first started it I was a bit thrown by the age this was aimed at. It seemed scary enough to be twelve plus, but the main character's voice felt younger than that. But hey, I'm all for scary stuff for the young'uns, the scarier the better.

As I read on I liked it more - it's true to Nix's style of familiar fantasy done in refreshing ways. So here we have the old quest to find the spirits of earth, air, fire and water, but
Mar 21, 2012 Robyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Even when he's not sure how to write a book yet, Garth Nix knows how to build a world. In this book, he doesn't really know what to do with the unique and fascinating place he has created in his head: the dialogue is a bit stilted, the ending swoops up too quickly, and the pacing is rather atrocious, lagging and then rushing and back again; BUT I could feel the bones of his world underneath all of it. Perhaps because of the pacing, I kept getting the feeling that there was so much more to this t ...more
Lou Nixon
Oct 21, 2015 Lou Nixon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found 'The Ragwitch' in a charity shop, having read The Abhorsen books by Garth Nix and loved them, I snapped it up. It was such a disappointment in comparison. Maybe it is aimed at a younger audience, the book just seemed to point out the obvious too much and didn't focus on showing what the characters were like through their actions but explaining in a simplified manner. The villains were comedy-esque as well. I lost interest about 150 pages in and skim read the rest. Life's too short.
Nov 30, 2014 Regan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love Garth Nix. This isn't my fave of his, nothing can touch the Abhorsen Trilogy in my mind, but he's just a quite solid writer and I like his stuff.

I especially appreciate that he writes for young people and doesn't sugar coat the fact that life can be hard, yet he's not cruel or even unkind. Just honest, in some very creative ways.
This was a good read, but I'm not sure what I might have made of it if I'd read it when I was a teenager. The idea is genius and I daresay justifies the thoughts of some that dolls are evil and to be feared.

Paul and his sister Julia find a ragdoll in a pile of feathers on the beach, and Julia can't bear to leave it behind. The doll, however, turns out to be much more than fabric and straw. She is, in fact, a sorceress who has become trapped in the doll, and she uses Julia as a means to escape.
Jun 12, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting YA novel about a sister and brother, Julia and Paul. Julia accidentally wakes up the Ragwitch, an ancient evil being from another world. The Ragwitch takes over Julia's body, something Paul notices but their parents miss completely, and then takes Julia to her home world. Paul, usually the one to follow Julia, sneaks into the other world in an attempt to rescue Julia.

The story alternates between Julia, who is stuck inside the mind of the Ragwitch, and Paul, who is trying to find a
This book wasn't bad, but it's really obvious that this is Garth Nix's first book. One of my friends told me that this is Garth Nix's best work, but I beg to differ. The pacing is a bit rushed at times, and only half of the fantasy world is fleshed out. Also, you never learn Julia's age, or what she looks like at all throughout the whole book. You can kind of see her personality, but I have no idea if she's Paul's older or younger sister, if she has long or short hair, NOTHING! I had no idea how ...more
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Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, to the sound of the Salvation Army band outside playing 'Hail the Conquering Hero Comes' or possibly 'Roll Out the Barrel'. Garth left Melbourne at an early age for Canberra (the federal capital) and stayed there till he was nineteen, when he left to drive around the UK in a beat-up Austin with a boot full of books and a Silver-Reed typewriter.

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