by Celine Kiernan
reviewed by Sarah Custance
Celine Kiernan is an Irish author famous for her work The Moorehawke Trilogy. The Wild Magic Trilogy is her first time writing for a middle-grade audience. A quote on the cover describes Kiernan as Ireland’s answer to J.K. Rowling but I consider that Kiernan’s Irish heritage plays more heavily in this series and makes it more like a Grimm Brothers story.
Before delving into the plot it is important that you understand that this is the second novel in a series, the first being Begone the Raggedy Witches and I would STRONGLY recommend that you read them in order as I did not and I think quite a bit of the magic was lost to me. If you haven’t read the first then it will take you around 80 pages before you really understand most of what is going on.
The book starts with Mup and her family moving from their house into her grandmothers’ castle in the magical realm of Witches Borough. Mup’s grandmother had been the cruel and overbearing queen of Witches Borough and her castle still holds the pain and torment inflicted within its walls. When Mup notices strange things in the castle like the little ghost girl, pictures that make people sob uncontrollably when they get too close, and snow that seems to block magic powers, she is positive that her Mam (a powerful witch like her mother before her) will be able take it in her stride, but as the situation worsens, it looks as if Mup and her friend Crow will have to face the harm caused by centuries of hurt, anger and despair on their own.
The book is an intricately written twisted fairy-tale full of magic that pulls you into the story. It is perfect for fans of anything a little dark but still full of magic like Neil Gaiman’s novels or the Turnkey series by Allison Rushby. This complex novel’s themes of fear, rage, sadness and loneliness are woven thickly throughout the story and it may take a while for younger readers to comprehend outside of the fairy-tale.
Walker Books Australia 2019 Paperback $16.99 224 pages age 9+ ISBN: 9781406373929