The Ragwitch
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The Ragwitch

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3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  2,169 ratings  ·  91 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 v...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by HarperTeen (first published 1991)
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Suzanne
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.
Monica!
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...more
S.
It was an enjoyable romp, but I didn't like it as much as his other books, mostly because I had serious issues with Paul: What a whining little twit he is.
He reminds me very much of Peregrin Took, in his continuous grumbling at his discomforts, when's dinner, do I really have to work to get things done and why doesn't someone more capable than me take away my responsibilities already.
Well written, then, he just annoyed me that bit too much to gain any empathy along the way and I didn't see him n...more
Holly
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...more
Vanda Bromwich
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
Ashley
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.
Teresa
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.
Erica
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.
Rebecca
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.
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...more
Karl

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...more
Eric
Jan 26, 2008 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Marsha
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
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
H.J. Harper
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...more
Branden Meyers
This book has a lot of flaws, but I still managed to enjoy it. It was Nix's first novel, which is why it has these flaws, but even then his talent was obvious behind them.

My main complaints are the very predictable plot, the whiny main character, and the constant Deus-Ex-Machina. Children would enjoy his Seventh Tower series more, and adults would be better off reading the Abhorsen series.

But once you're a fan, go ahead and check this out for posterity's sake.
Robyn
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
Ungelic_is_us
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...more
Nancy
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....more
Elizabeth
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...more
Lainey Welsch
This was one of my very very very favorite books growing up. I have practically worn my copy out! Yes, it has a lot of classic fantasy tropes, but with that style and flavor that only Garth Nix has. It is about Paul and Julia who discover a rag doll while on vacation who takes over Julia and forces Paul into a strange fantastical land where he must help the people stop the Ragwitch and save his sister. Garth Nix uses such wonderful detail to describe the land that Paul travels through to find he...more
Baal Of
This book is light and fun, but not nearly as great as the Abhorsen trilogy. The world building is much weaker than in Abhorsen, and the characters don't have as much depths. It seems like it would be satisfying for younger children, but obviously from the reviews here on goodreads, doesn't do it for the adults. Still, it wasn't as terrible as many people seem to think.
Kathy
Being a fan of all Garth Nix's work, I had expected this one to be great, and it was. Solid fantasy. Although it doesn't have that amazing quality of his later books, it is still a great story of a boy and his sister being thrust into a strange world to save it. Typical of Nix, the world is well thought out and populated with a bevy of interesting characters and creatures.
Mara Balcombe
As a child I read this book and it did give me nightmares. I have to say it took a couple of years before I could read this. Enjoyed it but I loved his later books.
Olean Public Library
The only downside to this book is the lack of description in the main character’s house, and the creature called the meeper. They are the only things I can’t view clearly in my mind. The rest of the book is marvelous, and the world in which it takes place is wondrous and vast. The character descriptions for both the main and non-main characters, is done with richness and detail (not including the meepers) that only a great author can accomplish. Especially when one stops to consider that there a...more
Zaphodd Beeblebroxx
Not his greatest tale, but since they are all pretty damn spectacular. . .I am not complaining. This is a fun one.
Elise
The story still haunts me. Creepy in a Coraline way.
Jenn
If I had read this story when I was 12 it would have been a fantastic 5 star book. It is geared to that age group and is appropriate. Even though there is violence (there is a war with realistically a lot of death) it is not graphic. I think it would be a good story for young teens and older "tweens".

As an adult I thought it was an interesting enough story and would give it 3 stars. It is not one that will make it to my favorites list now as my teens are thankfully far behind me. So I give it th...more
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8347
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.

De...more
More about Garth Nix...
Sabriel (Abhorsen,  #1) Abhorsen (Abhorsen, #3) Lirael (Abhorsen, #2) Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #1) Drowned Wednesday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #3)

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