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The Ragwitch Paperback – March 30, 2004

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The Ragwitch + Shade's Children + Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Reissue edition (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060508078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060508074
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #806,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Garth Nix "[Garth Nix is] the coolest read in the playground." Amanda Craig "Sabriel is a winner, a fantasy that reads like realism. Here is a world with the same solidity and four-dimensional authority as our own, created with invention, clarity and intellience." Philip Pullman "I think Garth Nix has created a really remarkable and persuasive wold, and done it in the grand style of high fantasy and heroic romance, with some wonderful twists and turns. His Sabriel is a heroine truly worthy of that role." Lloyd Alexander "By turns rousing, charming and slyly funny, Sabriel is an engaging tale that slays sexual stereotypes along with its monsters." San Francisco Chronicle "What makes LIRAEL a delight is the magic that Nix brings to his story and to his characters. It is filled with twists and turns, playful inventiveness and dark magic, and is sure to satisfy his many readers." Locus

About the Author

Garth Nix grew up in Canberra, Australia. Besides being a full-time writer, he has worked as a sales rep, publicist, editor, marketing communications consultant, literary agent, and part-time soldier. He is the acclaimed author of the internationally bestselling Abhorsen Chronicles: Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, as well as the story collection Across the Wall and the novels Shade's Children and The Ragwitch.

He currently lives in Sydney, a five-minute walk from Coogee Beach, with his wife, Anna, his sons, Thomas and Edward, and lots of books.

More About the Author

Garth Nix has worked as a bookseller, book sales representative, publicist, editor, marketing consultant and literary agent. He also spent five years as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. A full-time writer since 2001, more than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into 40 languages. Garth's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly (US), The Bookseller(UK), The Australian and The Sunday Times (UK). He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
This is a book that cries out to be read.
W. A. Thurston
I would suggest this book mostly to a younger audience, from around 8-13, though I was 15 when I read it and I love the story, along with all of Nix's other books.
Kevin Thomson
Garth Nix is an amazing author with wondrous worlds trapped in his head.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading Sabriel and Shade's Children, I was hungry for more Garth Nix. When I came across The Ragwitch, I bought it immediately. It wasn't nearly as involving as Sabriel and Shade's Children and even lagged in areas, even though The Ragwitch seemed to be an amalgam of these two books. The Angarling and the Meepers reminded me strongly of Myrmidons and Wingers. The Ragwitch was just an Overlord in an indestructible body. The main characters (Julia and Paul) were vividly developed, but not really very sympathetic. A few chapters of Paul's whining was more than enough. At the end, I was left unsatisfied, especially by the Deus ex Machina (i.e. the Patchwork King). I would have preferred an ending more along the lines of those of Nix's other books.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 2, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably Garth Nix's most uneven book, which still puts it a notch over the majority of fantasy out there. While not as textured or carefully developed as Sabriel, it is nevertheless engrossing and convincing, and -- yes, indeed, far better than almost every kids-get-sucked-into-fantasy-world-to-battle-evil.
We open to see Paul and his sister Julia, playing on a beach where Julia finds a rag doll embedded in enormous black feathers and a bunch of sticks. Though Julia seems thrilled with the doll, Paul immediately gets "bad vibes" from the doll -- and hears a sinister voice calling it the "Ragwitch." Within minutes, Julia is taken over by the doll, and begins a transformation into an enormous living version of the Ragwitch -- a malevolent creature who surpasses C.S. Lewis' White Witch.
The Ragwitch escapes into another world, and Paul follows her. Julia is trapped inside the Ragwitch's mind, constantly hearing the Ragwitch's voice and seeing/hearing what she does. Upon arriving at her destination, the Ragwitch summons her hideous army of unnatural, distorted creatures. They begin to attack the innocent people nearby -- including an old witch who has a strange effect on the Ragwitch. Julia gains unexpected allies locked within her enemy's memory: the witch Lyssa, attacked by the Ragwitch; Mirren, a king that the Ragwitch locked into a shambling animalistic form; and a mysterious red-haired woman who may be the key to helping defeat the evil hordes...
Paul refuses to give up on his sister, and learns from a peculiar old hermit that he must gain the help of the wild magic Elementals -- Fire, Water, Earth and Air. The problem is that all four may or may not choose to help him.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on January 20, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Julia and her brother, Paul are two perfectly ordinary children who happen to discover a ragdoll in a midden heap. Julia is sucked up into the mind of the ragdoll who is really a powerful and evil witch. When Julia and the ragwitch disappear through a ring of fire, Paul bravely follows them. From then on, "Ragwitch" follows the ancient fairy-tale structure of children versus evil---a `Hansel and Gretel' story where the witch actually devours one of the children. Garth Nix adds a ferocious edge to Paul and Julia's adventure. I never knew what was going to happen next.
Both children actively oppose the ragwitch, although Julia's situation is far more horrific. She is wired into the ragwitch's nervous system while the evil, old sorceress shambles from atrocity to atrocity.
(Actually, I grew fond of some of her minions, called the Stone Knights. If you've ever seen the movie, `Monolith Monsters' you'll be able to figure how the Knights pounded into combat).
Once Paul is transferred to ragwitch's original world through the ring of fire, he suffers more than his share of perils, including a battle or two. He finally finds friends and sets out on a quest to locate each of the four Elementals, Wind, Water, Fire, and Earth. If he can talk a good line, they might help him defeat the ragwitch and her destructive minions.
This is my favorite part of `Ragwitch.' The Elementals are not the usual clichéd characters found in other fantasies I could mention. The author expends lots of imagination on them---I was never certain whether Paul was going to succeed in his quest, or die trying.
It isn't every boy who gets to meet Mother Earth, while digging for potatoes.
I can't remember how I would have handled this horror-fantasy mixture when I was under the drinking age. The book certainly veers toward the gruesome edge of Young Adult fantasy ---think of it as `Hansel and Gretel' on steroids.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
The "Abhorsen" trilogy by Garth Nix is one of the best sets of fantasy books out there, and so when my reservation for "The Ragwitch" *finally* came through at my public library, I sat down fully expecting another exciting, original, fascinating story. And I got it...kind of. Though I was aware it was aimed at younger readers than the target audience of the "Abhorsen" trilogy, I was a tad disappointed by Nix's tale in comparison to many of his other books - though this is unsurprising considering this is one of his earliest published works.

Julia and Paul are two holidaying siblings, when Julia uncovers a strange ragdoll on top of a sinister beach-midden. Julia is transfixed by the macabre little doll, and to her brother's horror she is consumed by its evil and sucked through a ring of fire into another dimension. Despite his fears, Paul follows. From there, the children's paths divide: whilst a disoriented Paul tries to find his bearings and allies in a medieval realm, Julia finds herself deep within the Ragwitch's mind as she summons up her dormant armies once more.

Finding a range of unusual friends, including a boy who can talk to animals, a young girl who can breath underwater and a wise man more interesting in gardening than helping, Paul seeks out the four elusive and dangerous Elementals of the land in the hopes that they can give him aid in the realm's war against the invading Ragwitch.

Meanwhile, Julia is waging her own battle inside the Ragwitch's mind, aided by a humanoid Rowan tree that has purposely allowed herself to be consumed by the Witch and the former King of the land that is also trapped within her memories. Together, they go in search of the last vestiges of the Ragwitch's humanity, which may hold the key to defeating her from within.
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