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Which Witch?

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  11,960 ratings  ·  608 reviews
Arriman the Awful, feared Wizard of the North, has decided to marry. But his wife must be a witch of the darkest powers . . .

A sorcery competition is held to discover which witch is the most potent and fiendish, and glamorous Madame Olympia conjures up a thousand plague-bearing rats Belladonna, the white witch, desperately wants to be a wicked enchantress, but her magic pr
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Paperback, 186 pages
Published June 5th 2009 by Pan MacMillan (first published 1979)
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[Name Redacted] Ibbotson's books never have a traditional singular antagonist. In many cases the "antagonist" is the protagonist(s) his/her/themselves. Even in a book…moreIbbotson's books never have a traditional singular antagonist. In many cases the "antagonist" is the protagonist(s) his/her/themselves. Even in a book like this, life is rarely that simple. XD(less)
Amelia I'd say there are three. Belladonna, Arriman and Terrence are the focus of the story.…moreI'd say there are three. Belladonna, Arriman and Terrence are the focus of the story.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  11,960 ratings  ·  608 reviews


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Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jeanette (Ms. Feisty) by: Cadiva
This was just a ton of fun. Ibbotson is like a tamer Roald Dahl, with a twist of Monty Python. The part about the rats, though? That was pure Stephen King. *shudder*
Jackie
Sep 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised by this quick read. My daughter told me I HAD to read it, after she had read and enjoyed it herself. So I took it along on a long train trip, and read it in one sitting. While Ibbotson will never win any awards for character development, she does have a way with both words and plot; her turns of phrase continually gave me pleasure, and her silly plot made me laugh out loud several times, drawing bemused looks from my fellow train passengers. A good book for younger mid ...more
Lisa
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is... this is the jewel of my childhood!
My mum was just telling me the other day how, when I was younger (about 5 or 6, I think), there was a book I used to love. I would always read and reread and reread it again... constantly, apparently.
Though I haven't read this book in years and YEARS, I recently found it in a box in the attic and thought "OMG this is the book mum keeps telling I used to love!" and decided to read it again.

Unsurprisingly enough, I still love it! It brought back many
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Luffy
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Re reading is not among my inclinations or priorities. However, I had to make an exception for Which Witch?. I read it first about 20 years ago, and I liked it so much that I didn't forget the small details for a long time. But recently I have had the urge to revisit past favorites. That's why I broke my habits and read this book again.

The author's style is ebullient and twisty. Her imagination was spot on. She knew, by instinct, what was appealing and whimsical. The book is not of the fantasy
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Simcsa
It's hilarious, I was laughing so hard while reading it! It's like a parody of all the today's YA paranormal romances. (yeah I know it isn't the intention of the author - just look at the year when it was written, but still..) If I'm to be fair, this book doesn't really deserve four stars, but I'm feeling generous. So what? Does it matter if it's predictable? I mean it didn't stop me from laughing out loud, so who cares? ...more
Michael Campbell
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hilariously dark and clever, with surprisingly well thought out and realized characters. The concept of a dark wizard holding a "The Bachelor" style contest to choose his bride to be from the assorted local witches sounded interesting enough, but the execution and comedic timing were wonderful. Light hearted with several dark twists throughout, definitely a fun read! ...more
Cadiva
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time favourite books, both as a young reader, a teenager and as an adult, I think I must have read it at least 50 times over the years. It was a regular check out for me while at school from the library but, bizarrely, I never owned my own copy.

The book focusses on the white witch Belladonna, who is secretly in love with the dark and broodingly handsome Arriman the Awful, the most feared and fierce wizard of the North. He had decided he must marry as he needs an heir to pas
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Amalie
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you haven't yet discovered Eva Ibbotson, this is a great place to start. This is one of the charming, intriguing, hilarious, and outright pleasurable books I have ever read!

It's about Arriman the Aweful, a wizard famous for both his power and his good looks has decided to marry a witch. From a long list of candidates the winner must be: the fairest of them all the most evil of them all. Belladonna is is determined to win the competition but the problem is she is a distressingly good witc
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Amelia
Delightful fun! Never before have I been charmed by a bat making up stories about his family when chatting to a young witch or felt maternal towards an orphaned kraken who just wants someone to care for him. Nor have I seen a German princess complaining because a witch turned her into a penguin, not a swan or maiden-aunt mermaids haranguing their part-human niece. Ibbotson has created this world that makes magic into such an everyday part of life. It's a bit like Spindle's End, if it were set in ...more
Chelsea
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
A fun read - silly and sweet, and yes, charming.

I should just start writing "CHARMING" ten times in a row for all of my Ibbotson reviews. I can't seem to come up with another word for her. She's charming and delightful. Go read her.

My work here is done.
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Namratha
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Arriman the awful, Grand Poobah of all things nasty and mighty dark wizard of the North has had many happy years of blighting, smiting and wrecking a great deal of havoc. But there comes a time when even the darkest of wizards gets tired of the "monotony" and wants to pass on the mantle to a more sinister and deserving wizard.

The great hunt begins and Arriman creates a kindly, three-headed monster called the "Wizard Watcher" for the task. But with not even the faintest squeak of a dark wizard fr
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Jean Menzies
I really couldn't decide whether to give this book a 3 or 4 star rating so consider this a 3.5 that would probably have been a 4 if I was still a child. The book was just straight up great fun! It has been a while since I read a new children's book, that isn't a re-read from my own childhood, and I now realise I have been missing out. The process of reading this book was such good fun; Eva Ibbotson has constructed a really fantastical world with amusing characters and lots of plot twists. I was ...more
Rauli
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was inspired in re-visiting this book by my cute little sisters playing witches in our backyard. There they were strutting around the grass sneering disdain and blurting out curses on "unwanted visitors" commenting on how annoyingly good so-and-so was. And I just sat there and smiled, smart little creatures' I thought who at their young age already understood the beauty of a good-old bad guy.Then I remembered this book. I remember reading this when I was about 9 not really understanding half ...more
Anna Nesterovich
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
"...there really was no way of telling which witch was which." I picked up this book because of the reference in the Castle Hangnail, where Ursula Vernon mentioned Which Witch? as an inspiration. And since I really liked Castle Hangnail, I couldn't miss this one.

I guess the author was a pioneer in the genre. Though he book is a bit out-of-date now, it's still not like the lot of children's books. It's really very amusing.

Only four stars is for being just amusing, nothing more. It was a good read
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Juli Anna
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidlit, fantasy-scifi
This was a delightful romp--honestly one of the funniest children's books I've read in years. Every time Mother Bloodwort turned herself in a coffee table I about peed myself. The plot is very simple, but tightly woven, and the characters are so very dear, even in their evilness. And the humor is spot-on. This would be a fantastic read-aloud book for any child who is not easily perturbed by slightly scary silliness. ...more
Dyah
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: witch-and-wizard
It's fun and hilarious.
OH, I'd like to know what happens next to Madam Olympia and Sir Simon! How they will try to kill each other!
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Krithika Sundar
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Krithika by: NITHYA
This book was adorable so thanks to Nithya. Belladonna is so adorkable and I didn't find her annoying even once :) I got transported back to my childhood!! ...more
Anubha (BooksFullOfLife, LifeFullOfBooks)
A book about witch competition to marry the Great Wizard. Each witch has to show her darkest magic and she becomes the Great Wizardess. The Grand Wizard wanting a successive heir so he can give his position to the next great wizard. The book is so cute and amazing. You read about dark magic and instead of detesting it, you actually enjoy it cuz obviously its all fiction and bit funny too. Oh and there's a villain as well who cheats in the competition, totally enjoyable!

This gif basically sums th
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QNPoohBear
Arramin the Awful is the biggest, baddest, black wizard around. He's great at what he does but he sure wishes he could retire and let someone else do all the work. His attempts at necromancy fail and his Wizard Watcher does not see a new wizard cometh for over 900 days. That leaves Arramin no choice but to marry and beget a baby black wizard to take his place. To find a wife, he decides to hold a contest. Arramin needs to marry a witch from his hometown, Toadcaster, and the pickings are slim: Ma ...more
Jessica {Litnoob}
I can’t rate a book that was a childhood favorite because, how does one pick apart their childhood love with actually reviewing? Impossible

Still this book is just dark enough to make you cringe and sweet enough to make you smile. It’s engaging and magical and I’d recommend it to children and adults alike.
Erin
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
"a life of loneliness, begonias, and pain" ...more
Qt
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Amusing, a bit ghoulish, and entertaining--I thought it was lots of fun for Halloween reading. In retrospect, it wasn't too hard to guess the ending but I wasn't *sure* what would happen, so it was never boring, and there were some surprises along the way. ...more
Dinah
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Overall, this book was OK. (In my opinion.)

What I disliked:
I couldn't really understand what the book was trying to say. It had some kind of accent or something I didn't understand. But that is probably because it was originally made in 1979. I also felt like this book put too much detail. Like the sentences were extremely long when it comes to describing. I am a visual person but I also like books that would just get to the point. I also felt this book was predictable (unless that was just me.)
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Jessica
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In elementary school, I read so voraciously that I regularly picked out books from the library based just on their cover art or title or alluring book jacket. One such book that I borrowed from my elementary school's library had a plot that stayed with me, but I hadn't been able to remember the title until one day in the paperback section of the children's library of the main Chicago Public Library branch when, quite by chance, I found the book. It was called Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson and I i ...more
A.M.G. ☮Hippie/Fantasia☮
Rating: 5+ / 5

I suppose what I like best are the dark undertones of this book. At heart, perhaps it's a lighter story for children and has moments of comedy like a baby kraken going around yelling "Daddy!", but it is about witchcraft at its darkest and in competitive form!

Arriman the Awful, Wizard of the North is seeking a bride, much against his own will. "Darkness is All", so the competition is set to test different forms of dark magic, and the winner becomes the new Wizardess of the North. Yo
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Marina (Sonnenbarke)
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, austria
This book was a great read. I missed it as a child (actually, I didn't even know of its existence), and I only got to it thanks to a group I'm member of. A memeber chooses a shelf each month, and we read a book from that shelf. I had little to no idea what to read for our November "Witches" shelf, but then, browsing through the books on the shelf, I found this book that looked interesting. And I bought it. And I read it. And I loved it.

It is obviously a book for young kids, this is clear through
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Carissa
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read and re-read this book so many times, even as an adult. Eva Ibbotson is my all time favorite author, I have read almost all of her books, and own most of those. She writes in such a clever, yet familiar way, it reminds me a bit of the way my mom tells me stories.
idiomatic
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: important-kidlit
while we're on Very Important Sorceresses ...more
Cassandra
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Recently, I have been in an Eva Ibbotson reading phase. While The Countess Below Stairs is my favorite, I still enjoy many of her other young-adult and middle-school stories. Which Witch? is a super cute and funny middle-grade book about a big witch competition. Arriman the Awful is tired of being an evil wizard. He just wants to rest and write a book, but in order to retire, he needs to find a powerful successor. After waiting in vain for a couple of years, his secretary suggests Arriman to mar ...more
Nina Clare
I love Eva Ibbotson's humour and quirky characters. I put off reading this one for a long time, just because witches and ghosties aren't my thing, I prefer Ibotson's YA romances— but I love her writing so much I'll even read her 'scary' stories, and despite lots of inevitable ickiness (warty, fly-ridden witches, giant cannibalistic rats, etc...) this was a lot of fun.

When Arriman the Awful, Loather of Light, dashing and dastardly Wizard of the North decides he needs a wife, he sets up a Miss Wor
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Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy.

She was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, her family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in education in 1965.
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120 likes · 11 comments
“Stupid women were lured into it and assured they would become young and beautiful if they let themselves be pummeled and pounded and smeared with sticky creams, and have their faces lifted and their stomachs flattened. They paid a lot of money to Madame Olympia, who would put a little bit of magic into the creams and ointments that she used so that at first they did look marvelous. But it was the kind of magic that wore off very quickly, leaving the women even uglier than before so that they would rush back to her and pay her more money and the whole thing would start again.” 10 likes
“But of course he knew, all of them knew. There is only one kind of a person a wizard can marry, and that is a witch.” 10 likes
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