Sunday, December 12, 2010

Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson

Which Witch?

Author: Eva Ibbotson

Publisher: Puffin Books

3½ out of 5 stars

What if you were a wizard? A dark one who could smite any foe with the flick of your wrist and concoct the most foul and evil things. You would be the mightiest that ever reigned and would be feared and awed by many. But what if I told you that you had to have a wife? You absolutely must, I don’t care about your protests or your objections. Now is the time, for you must have an heir, a successor to carry on your legacy. But everyone knows that a wizard can only marry one type of person and that is… a witch!

Arriman Canker, mostly known as Arriman the Awful, Loather of Light, Wizard of the North, is in the predicament described above. He is the greatest wizard of all time, but for him the task is becoming tiring. There is only so much smiting and evil-doing one can accomplish. It was foretold that a new wizard would come to take over the task for Arriman, but he has not shown up. For days and days Arriman waited in hope for the new wizard to show up, but sadly no replacement has come.

Now it has come to Arriman’s attention that he needs a wife. For if he ever wants to hang up his responsibilities of being Arriman the Awful he must have a child to take over for him. But who shall he marry? He’s lived alone at Darkington Hall with his servant, the ogre Lester, his secretary, Mr. Leadbetter, the ghost, Sir Simon Montpelier, and the three-headed Wizard Watcher. He has no idea how he’s supposed to find a wife to marry! Oh what will he do?

Then Arriman has a brilliant idea, why doesn’t he hold a contest? It will be a competition to find the best, most evil, darkest wife. He has decided that it will be open to all the witches of Todcaster, his hometown. Little does he know that there are very few witches left in Todcaster, close to a handful in fact. The rules of the competition are simple actually. Each witch has to perform a piece of magic, and the one who performs the vilest, darkest, most powerful piece of magic, shall be his wife! But the selection of wives is slim. One had a mermaid as a mother, a pair of them are twins, one is always sick, another wears Wellington boots, one is very, very old, one of them is an enchantress, and one of the witches is a white witch! Who will Arriman choose? Which witch will perform the best piece of magic? All is revealed in Eva Ibbotson’s delightful adventure of one wizard’s choice, in Which Witch?!

I was pleasantly surprised by this charming and amusing book. This book is just full of fun! Whether it was the quirky characters or the surprising magic, this book could put a smile on anyone’s face. Which Witch? is a fantastic read for kids, with its silly humor and interesting tale. If you have the time, then definitely pick this one up.

I enjoyed that even though this book was supposed to be about dark and sinister magic, it still had an entertaining side to it that is great for kids. Whether it was the quirky spells the witches would perform, or just the good-natured humor throughout, I inadvertently chuckled many a time. However, there was still evil, threatening magic, that’s for sure. The work of the enchantress was definitely quite appalling and may be a little scary and upsetting for younger readers. I would just like to give fair warning, as this is a book more-so for kids.

I also loved the characters as they were each very interesting, in their own special way. Each witch, and even Arriman himself, all had the most unusual habits. But these were the things I loved about the characters, mainly because of what life they added to the story. I always looked forward to reading about the characters, and especially being introduced to new ones. They were the life of the party!

Sadly, I would have liked to have seen the story of Which Witch? develop through other characters’ eyes. For example, I would like to have known what the other witches’ all thought of their competition. It would also have even been interesting if I got to know more of the witches better, such as learning what spell they were going to perform beforehand and such. I feel that this would have enhanced my experience reading Which Witch? and would have made me feel much more connected.

Overall, Which Witch? is a pleasurable read with magic, humor, and even some romance thrown in. It’s an engaging read for kids of all ages. Join Arriman and the witches of Todcaster, as they all wait in apprehension for who is to become the Wizard of the North’s new wife, in Which Witch?!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

Check out the Which Witch? website at
Which Witch? is available from Amazon here.

1 comment:

  1. This one sounds really cute and fun! It's going on my TBR, thanks!


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