________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 13. . . .December 2, 2016


Julia Vanishes. (The Witch’s Child, Bk. 1).

Catherine Egan.
Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 2016.
375 pp., hardcover & e-book, $21.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-385-68465-1 (hc.), ISBN 978-0-385-68466-8 (e-book).

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Tara Stieglitz.

**** /4



I hear someone at the door and startle; I hadn’t heard footsteps in the hall. Panicked, I put everything back in the drawer and pull back quickly—much too quickly, overshooting that familiar pocket of invisible space. The room fades. Where am I; where am I? For one terrible, dizzying moment, I can see the room from every direction as Mrs. Och comes through the door. Then I find myself again, my own two feet, but I am standing over by the window now. I am trembling violently—I have a feeling, now, about the awful nothingness that lies behind me when I vanish.

Mrs. Och looks right at me, and my blood freezes.

“What are you doing here, Ella?”


Julia lives in a world where magic is feared and those accused of being witches are executed by drowning. While not a witch herself, Julia possess the mysterious ability to make herself unseen, an ability that comes in handy for her profession as a spy and a thief. Julia’s current assignment is to work undercover as a housemaid in a mysterious mansion owned by the enigmatic Mrs. Och. The house is filled with an odd assortment of residents and guests. There is a professor with forbidden books in his study and a need for strange objects and ingredients who, along with his assistant, seems to be conducting experiments on another houseguest who happens to live in a small room in the cellar that Julia is forbidden to enter and clean. Then an additional guest arrives, a young woman with a baby in tow who is being hunted across the city by a malevolent creature who leaves mutilated corpses in its wake. Julia’s job is to unravel the mysteries of these characters and report to an equally enigmatic figure who may or may not be a force for good.

      Julia Vanishes is a highly original work of fantasy with elements of mystery and suspense and a plot that takes many unexpected turns. Julia, herself, is a flawed heroine who gets caught between powerful forces with no way of telling whom she can trust and who is telling her the truth. The ambiguous motives of many of the characters in Julia Vanishes give the book a darker tone and make it stand out as a more thought-provoking young adult fantasy novel than many of its contemporaries. Julia Vanishes makes for a promising start to a new fantasy series.

Highly Recommended.

Tara Stieglitz is a librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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