Publisher: Walker Books
The old queen and her raggedy witches have fled Witches Borough, and Mup’s family has moved into the cold, newly empty castle. But the queen’s legacy lingers in the fear and mistrust of her former subjects and in the memories that live in the castle’s very walls. While Mup’s mam tries to restore balance to a formerly oppressed world, Mup herself tries to settle into her strange new home with her dad, Tipper, and Crow. When an enchanted snow blankets the castle, Mup’s family is cut off from the rest of the kingdom, and the painful memories of the old queen’s victims begin to take form, thanks to a ghost whose power may be too much for even Mup and Mam to handle.
I took my time before picking up The Little Grey Girl and I’m not sure why. The only thing I do know for sure that it didn’t have anything to do with any reluctance to read the story on my part. I adored Begone the Raggedy Witches and was very much looking forward to the rest of the story. But, given how ‘only’ reading the sequel now means I literally only have two days to wait before the third book releases, I think I may have accidentally (and subconsciously) made the right decision because I can’t wait to read The Promise Witch, the third and final story in this fabulous trilogy.
I loved reuniting with Mup, her parents, Tipper, her little (doggo) brother, and Crow. The mystery of who the little grey girl might be and what she’s up to or why had me on the edge of my seat. It was fascinating to watch Mup as she tries to figure out what is going on, who is causing it, and overcomes her fear to solve the situation. But most of all I adore Mup. She is one of the most engaging, well-rounded, and fabulous characters I’ve read in recent times because, despite her magical powers, she is a very real little girl trying to figure out life, adults, and herself. I’m so delighted she’s not perfect. She has her moments when she’s unreasonable and reacts or lashes out before thinking, but they are beautifully contrasted with instances when Mup realises what she’s done and learns from the experience.
Why do I love these stories so much, you ask? Well, the short answer, as illustrate above is: because they are captivating and thrilling reads. What’s not to love about a story filled with danger and mystery in which a charming and smart little girl with magical powers saves the day (and her family and friends). The longer answer goes something like this. These books blow me away because there is so much more in them than ‘just’ the compelling story (and trust me, I’d read and love them for the story alone). What makes these books truly magical (pun intended) for me is Celine Kiernan’s amazing skill when it comes to writing books, aimed at juvenile readers, without ever writing down to them. What’s more, she manages to introduce subjects such as friendship, loyalty, grief, fear, and bravery without ever preaching about them. They’re just there, an integral part of the story while at the same time conveying subtle messages to the readers, showing them that it’s okay to be afraid, that there’s no shame in anger, that it is possible to be upset with a friend without it meaning the end of the friendship. And, maybe the most valuable ‘lesson’ in this book, that it is important to try and understand what motivates others, that first impressions don’t always reveal the truth, and that often an act of kindness, understanding, and compassion may achieve what anger and violence can not.
Long story short. I’m in awe of this author. I want to live in her imagination and, failing that, I can only be grateful that she shares her fabulous creative vision with us through stories which are, without fail, captivating page-turners. Only two more days before I’ll be able to get my hands on what will, without a doubt, be a grand finale.
Bring. It. On.
Related review: Begone the Raggedy Witches