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Review: Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan (Witch’s Child #1)

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Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan // VBC ReviewJulia Vanishes (Witch’s Child #1)
Catherine Egan
Published: June 7, 2016 (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Julia is a spy and a thief with an unusual talent: she can be…unseen. Not invisible, not really. People just…look past her. While this is an excellent talent for a thief to have, it’s not so excellent in a city where magic has been outlawed and witches are drowned every week to purge any remaining magic.

Julia’s latest job is to spy on a well-to-do lady, Mrs. Ochs, and to report anything she finds, well, suspicious. Problem is, most everything (and everyone) at Mrs. Ochs’ house is strangely suspicious, and Julia starts finding herself over her head in a very short period of time. When her investigation goes off the rails, Julia makes a choice—and that choice will have ramifications that even she could never have imagined.

The characters here are what truly make Julia Vanishes. They are interesting and varied, encompassing a unique blend of mythology, fairy tales, and legends. Witches are a big focus, but they are definitely not the only group of magic-wielders within the tale. Julia herself is a strong female character, who is by no means perfect. She has flaws, she makes choices that may not be good ones, but she does it all on her own terms and struggles to be better. Certainly a character I enjoyed spending time with. In addition, the magic system is quite interesting—witches aren’t speaking enchantments, they are writing them. A pen and a piece of paper is all a witch needs to make her magic, for good or for ill. It’s a fascinating take on the art of writing a novel, or a new article, or a Facebook post; what is written can (and often does) have consequences far beyond the simple act of setting pen to paper.

The story works well, given those characters and the magic. It was quick-paced and fun to read, and would be an excellent summer beach (or pool) book. As with any good series beginner, the question is whether or not I would want to continue the series, and with Julia Vanishes, I can honestly say yes. The story is resolved, but there are certain plot pieces that need more than just this book to wrap up, and I look forward to entangling myself in Julia’s world again to see what happens next.

Sexual Content: Sex

One Response to “Review: Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan (Witch’s Child #1)”

  1. Sarah L says:

    I love VBC’s reviews, I’ve discovered a few favourite authors this way. So I was drawn in by this one, only to find it is £9 on Amazon UK! I don’t pay this even for a top bestseller. What a shame that a relatively new author has had her book so high priced by her publishing house. Still I’ve put it on my wish list and hopefully it will come down some time.

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