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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan: A book review by Poppy Fairy

Title: Julia Vanishes
Author: Catherine Egan
Series: Witch's Child
ISBN: 9780553524840
Published on: June 7th 2016
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers


Julia has the unusual ability to be…unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people’s senses.

It’s a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it’s a useful trait for a thief and a spy. And Julia has learned—crime pays.

Her latest job is paying very well indeed. Julia is posing as a housemaid in the grand house of Mrs. Och, where an odd assortment of characters live and work: A disgraced professor who keeps forbidden books and sends her to fetch parcels containing bullets, spiders, and poison. An aristocratic houseguest who is locked in the basement each night. And a mysterious young woman with an infant son who is clearly hiding—though from what or whom?

Worse, Julia has a creeping suspicion that there’s a connection between these people and the killer leaving a trail of bodies across the frozen city.

The more she learns, the more she wants to be done with this unnatural job. To go back to the safety of her friends and fellow thieves. But Julia is entangled in a struggle between forces more powerful than she’d ever imagined. Escape will come at a terrible price.

And even a girl who can vanish can’t walk away from her own worst deeds.


Set in an alternate historical universe in what is called Spira City, Julia Vanishes centers around our protagonist, Julia, who is a spy-slash-thief with the ability to ‘vanish’ or remain unseen.

I’ve been eyeing Julia Vanishes since last year because I thought it was something that I would really enjoy. Spies and thieves are some of my favorite kinds of characters but when it comes to paranormal books, witches are the best. So it was a no brainer that whatever happened, I would get my hands on Julia Vanishes. But this isn’t just about witches and vanishing girls because there are also other paranormal creatures here that I admittedly have been dying to read more of since I rarely read books about them anymore that meet my standard. That said, I am happy to report that Julia Vanishes came out as a total surprise- this did not disappoint at all.

The strongest point of Julia Vanishes for me are the characters. They are distinct and are easily relatable. Julia is independent, headstrong and cunning too.

“I watch them the way I watch every cleansing. I do not leave until the fire is down to embers and they are sleeping underneath their furs. It is not my nature to turn away. Not I- I look my nightmares in the eye. And if my nightmares should look back, they see nothing but shadow. I am not there.”

So much badass in that dialog though. Julia can also be selfish sometimes however. She’s not your holier than thou heroine who always did what was right but this only made me like her even more because it emphasized her realness. It means that she’s still human.

There were dynamics that I would love to be explored more in the coming books especially Dek and Julia’s siblingship. Not that the book lacked in that area, but just because I like reading more about their relationship. They’ve always been close but more so when their mother died through the Cleansing.

And what of Julia and Wyn after what happened? It sucks because Wyn is a likable character. There’s also Bianka and sweet baby Theo who’s just so huggable. I’m like Julia in the sense that I dislike small children, but Theo has his own magic that will make the readers coo over him. But as for the characters, overall, I could relate to Frederick the most. He is nice, logical, and very open-minded. I feel like I can talk to him about the universe for forever and never be bored with it. I honestly felt sad while reading his dialogs about religion because I really want him to be my friend. He is also a tad emotional which IMO is really cute. He’s a genuine character and despite having no powers, is still reliable.

Julia Vanishes is a well-paced and well-plotted book with three-dimensional characters. It packs action and mystery in the best way possible. The mystery will make you second-guessing who the real villain is while the action will push you to the edge of your seat. Truly, Julia Vanishes is the kind of book that you can read in one sit. I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough!

Rating: 4 fairy wings

*A copy was received from Penguin Random House International for review in exchange for an honest review

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