Which Witch?

by Eva Ibbotson

Paperback, 2000

Status

Available

Local notes

PB Ibb

Barcode

995

Publication

Puffin Books (2000), 249 pages

Description

Deciding that he must sire a child to carry on his tradition of Loathing Light and Blighting the Beautiful, the Great Wizard Arriman announces a competition among the witches of Todcaster, one of whom will marry him.

Awards

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

1979

Physical description

249 p.; 5.19 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Mendoza
Arriman the Awful, Loather of Light and Wizard of the North, needs a wife. How else can he have a wizard baby to carry on the family tradition of blighting and smiting, blasting and wuthering? The problem is, wizards can only marry one kind of person--a witch. Arriman dreads the thought. And here
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is our story.

I thought this book had excellent detail and while an adult might get bored - as I did a little - I think that a young adult would enjoy it immensely.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
To the reviewers who complain about the wishy-washyness about why the pretty white witch is good, whether dark magic is evil, whether the blackest of all the witches should win the dark magic contest, let me just say this. Real life is full of contradictions, exceptions, gray areas, and people who
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have trouble figuring out what they truly want. Good books reflect that. This is a good book.

The interior illustrations are much more fitting and interesting than this jacket. The yuck factor exists, but I'm sure most children age 8 up could handle it. (After all, children need a little bit of Grimm in their lives.) The ending is awesome.

I just loved one line and I want to share. Note that in this case we're talking about a non-magical person, so this quote applies irl, too. Happiness is almost as good as magic for altering a person's looks." (I admit, though, that I wish Ibbotson had said 'improving' for 'altering' - and I'm sure that's what she meant.)

A fun, and somewhat thought-provoking, tale for 'tweens and the young-at-heart."
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LibraryThing member FieryNight
THE MOST AMAZING BOOK OF ALL TIME. I HAVE READ THIS ABOUT 10 TIMES, AND WILL ALWAYS CHERISH IT.
LibraryThing member madison5305
It was a great book and you would probably like it more if you like fiction. It was a fairytale about witches, but I am not sure if i can explain much more or i might give it away.
LibraryThing member jnicholson
A slightly unusual retelling of the traditional fairy tale concept of finding a wife by means of a competition. Ariman is looking for a wife because he longs to retire and hand over to the next generation of dark wizards - and since no replacement wizard has appeared, he must father one himself.
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Enter Belladonna, who longs to be a dark witch, but is unremittingly white. A charming tale with a satisfying ending.
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LibraryThing member sdtaylor555
Very Cute book! I'm 24 and I enjoyed every page.
LibraryThing member mstrust
With the threat of another, more powerful wizard approaching, Arriman the Awful decides to secure his lineage by holding a contest to decide which of the Todcaster witches will be his wife. There are only a handful of eligible contestants, as Arriman wants a wife who practices black magic. He
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finds, after his announcement, that those tend to be the dirty old crones and one young witch who fails every time she tries to do something evil, until she befriends an orphan boy. Suddenly, insignificant Belladonna can turn flowers into eyeballs.

First published in 1979, this book feels a lot like the quirkier parts of the early Harry Potter books. The creepier and more horrible the actions, the more the admiration for the character. It's fun yet not childish.
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LibraryThing member Ginerbia
Predictable and long winded. I got bored with it in a hurry but the kids enjoyed it.
LibraryThing member Jiraiya
Re reading is not among my inclinations or priorities. However, I had to make an exception for Which Witch?. I read it first about 20 years ago, and I liked it so much that I didn't forget the small details for a long time. But recently I have had the urge to revisit past favorites. That's why I
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broke my habits and read this book again.

The author's style is ebullient and twisty. Her imagination was spot on. She knew, by instinct, what was appealing and whimsical. The book is not of the fantasy genre. The world is real. And though there are magical people in it, there are no portals to other dominions. The magical creatures and wizards and what have yous keep to themselves, mostly. They don't look for a fight, or a battlefield to settle grievances. There is little world building, which is what attracted me towards this delightful and slim and lean book. There is no bloating, no extra filler. It's rare to find a quick and memorable read. Which witch? is definitely a work that manages to combine these two ascriptions.

I managed to find one plot hole here, about the oldest witch being eligible for the contest. And I thought Arriman's volte face towards Sir Simon unlikely. He, who never showed signs of guile, manages to come up with a plan out of the blue. These are minor nitpicks. This is an under appreciated book, both by children and adults. Among all quick reads, this book has more substance than most. It has fallen into semi anonymity. But I have the feeling it will never go out of print, as there always will be people to pass on the fact that the book is a keeper.
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LibraryThing member Cadiva
This is one of my all time favourite books, both as a young reader, a teenager and as an adult, I think I must have read it at least 50 times over the years. It was a regular check out for me while at school from the library but, bizarrely, I never owned my own copy.

The book focusses on the white
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which Belladonna, who is secretly in love with the dark and broodingly handsome Arriman the Awful, the most feared and fierce wizard of the North. He had decided he must marry as he needs an heir to pass on his wizardly crown as he's getting fed up of all the smiting and blighting.
He decides to hold a competition at which the wickedest blackest witches will perform their greatest spell and the one which is the most evil will win. Poor Belladonna wants nothing more than to be bad, but she's such a good witch that even when she tries to be bad the opposite happens.
Without going into details, the plot also involves an orphan named Terrance and his pet worm, a three headed sea lion who Arriman has had looking for his successor for years without any joy (hence the decision to marry and hold a competition to find himself a wife), an elderly witch who randomly turns into a coffee table, the seductive Madame Olympia, and a whole host of other amusing and horrible characters.

With a few nice twists added to the plot, the reader is drawn headlong into an amusing tale which draws to a satisfactory conclusion without ever stinting on the story to get there.
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LibraryThing member Cadiva
This is one of my all time favourite books, both as a young reader, a teenager and as an adult, I think I must have read it at least 50 times over the years. It was a regular check out for me while at school from the library but, bizarrely, I never owned my own copy.

The book focusses on the white
Show More
which Belladonna, who is secretly in love with the dark and broodingly handsome Arriman the Awful, the most feared and fierce wizard of the North. He had decided he must marry as he needs an heir to pass on his wizardly crown as he's getting fed up of all the smiting and blighting.
He decides to hold a competition at which the wickedest blackest witches will perform their greatest spell and the one which is the most evil will win. Poor Belladonna wants nothing more than to be bad, but she's such a good witch that even when she tries to be bad the opposite happens.
Without going into details, the plot also involves an orphan named Terrance and his pet worm, a three headed sea lion who Arriman has had looking for his successor for years without any joy (hence the decision to marry and hold a competition to find himself a wife), an elderly witch who randomly turns into a coffee table, the seductive Madame Olympia, and a whole host of other amusing and horrible characters.

With a few nice twists added to the plot, the reader is drawn headlong into an amusing tale which draws to a satisfactory conclusion without ever stinting on the story to get there.
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LibraryThing member ChazziFrazz
Arriman the Awful decides he needs a wife. Being a handsome Wizard, she needs to be a witch. Which witch is the problem. Coming up with a competition among the nearest witches, the one with the darkest magic will be the winner.

This is an enjoyable read, running in the genre of Harry Potter, but
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with some twists. Witches with chickens or an octopus for familiars; witches attempting to do the deepest and darkest trick to win this Wizard's hand; these are just some of the elements that make this a funny and delightful story.
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LibraryThing member Griffin22
This is one of my favourite children’s books ever. Wizard Arriman the Awful needs an heir to continue all the blasting and wuthering so holds a competition to marry the witch with the blackest magic. Unfortunately for him, all the local witches are the revolting warty (incompetent) kind except
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for the enchantress Madame Olympia who already has the teeth of five previous husbands around her neck. Or there is the young and beautiful Belladonna, but she has no chance in the competition because her magic is white. Unless the orphan Terrence and his powerful familiar Rover (a worm) can help her win by fair means or foul.

A wonderful story with comedy, drama, romance, a kraken, an aardvark, mouse-blood poultices, necromancy, and true love.
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LibraryThing member DGRachel
I adored this book. I can’t remember what newsletter mentioned this book, but I’m so glad I bought it right away. It was fun, light-hearted, and sweet. I loved all the different animals used as familiars and the Kraken was an absolute delight! I wish I had read it when I was a young reader as I
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think I would have loved it just as much, if not more.
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Pages

249

Rating

½ (331 ratings; 3.9)
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