Which Witch? - Eva Ibbotson

Like most ogres, he had only one eye in the middle of his forehead, but so as not to upset people he wore a black patch above it to make people think he had two.

Years ago we listened to Ibbotson's The Secret of Platform 13 on CD, and really enjoyed it. It's British magical fantasy for kids, pretty light-hearted and quirky. Which Witch? fits that model too, although I think I enjoyed Platform 13 a little more. In this book, Arriman the Awful, most powerful wizard of his time, has decided to marry, which of course means he must marry a witch. But his options aren't so great: witches tend to be warty or scaly or just plain creepy. The only one who isn't so is Belladonna ... but she happens to be a good witch, and Arriman is specifically looking for dark magic. Throw in an ogre, an orphan boy, and a worm named Rover, and you have an entertaining book about witches vying to pull off the darkest feats of magic (but not doing a very good job).

It's worth noting that although Ibbotson is still alive and writing, this book and many of her others were written well before Harry Potter came along. (Which Witch? was originally published in 1979.) I wonder if it irks her that the newer printings say things like "perfect for fans of Harry Potter" on the cover, when she predates him. But for you Harry Potter fans, keep in mind that these books are shorter and lighter stand-alone books, so although you may enjoy them they're really not very much like Harry Potter at all.

Fed to jonathan's brain | January 11, 2008 | Comments (0)


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