The Bagman tells the story of Abigail Cobble, an orphan, who in a moment of despair agrees to play a game with the Bagman. If she loses, the Bagman gets to feast on the misery of her soul.
The Bagman is a childrenís book that we thoroughly enjoyed. It starts with beautiful prose then works its way into a great story for kids. We especially liked the fact that the story is a cautionary tale for children. The moral of the story is that you should be careful in what you believe and the choices you make, because they can have big consequences for you and others in your life.
Rachael McKay does a great job of setting up the story and the mystery slowly within Abigailís backstory. She mixes the backstory and the present with some nice philosophy to build Abigailís character. Hereís an example of a few simple sentences that have a large impact on how we view Abigail: The Bagman wasnít real, and if he was, she didnít believe in him. Sometimes she didnít even believe in herself. It made life easier.
The author uses a sassy narrator voice to weave a fun story with immediate risk and future mystery. Add to that a child living in an orphanage with hostile guardians and we have the setup for plenty of conflict and anticipation.
Here are some examples of great prose that scored some extra points:
The Bagman lived in a castle made from the tears of children, the bones of the brave and the sighs of the dead. In his garden, he grew abhorrence, codswallop and bane.
People were frightened. The concoction of anger, fear and sadness made all their feelings particularly delicious.
The book also scored some extra points from bits of philosophy like this one: Money should never be anyoneís heartís desire. It rattles in a lonely heart.
The Bagman is the type of book we find exceptional. It has a great story, told with some beautiful prose, and filled with philosophy and humor. For these reasons, it makes our Must Read Fantasy Books list.
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