Raggy Maggie, the second installment of the Invisible Fiends series by Barry Hutchison, continues the story of Kyle, the 12-year-old boy who is forced to battle against vengeful, forgotten imaginary friends whilst confronting painful memories from his past. Whereas the first book, Mr Mumbles, dealt with Kyle's own made-up pal, this second book sees the imaginary friend of Billy the school bully returning. She isn't quite what Kyle expected: Caddie, a little girl with a doll named Raggy Maggie. That doesn't make her any less dangerous though and she kidnaps Billy, threatening to kill him if Kyle doesn't play a game with her.
Although this is the second book in the series, apart from quoting short sections of Mr Mumbles near the beginning, it doesn't really further the plot threads started in that book. The "Darkest Corners" is explained a little more and Kyle's father is introduced as a more important character, but many questions about Kyle's parents, his mother's imaginary friend and Ameena's background aren't really even mentioned, let alone answered. That's not necessarily a negative though, as the series spans six books in total and revealing everything in the first two would make the other four somewhat redundant.
Hutchison's writing style is still quite vivid, although, unlike Mr Mumbles, Raggy Maggie definitely seems more like it was written for children and young teenagers. The descriptions of the friendship / fights between Kyle and Billy are particularly written in a style more suited to older children but it is, after all, a children's book. This didn't, however, cause the characters to become annoying. Kyle and Ameena's "battle talk" was once again trying too hard to be sassy and just ended up being embarrassing though.
Overall, I don't think Raggy Maggie was as good as Mr Mumbles, as it felt much like a filler in a series. While it did progress the plot surrounding Kyle's father a little, missing out this book wouldn't be greatly detrimental to the set. Still, it was an enjoyable and easy read and I'd recommend it to anyone who liked the first Invisible Fiends book. On the other hand, if you haven't read Mr Mumbles yet, then definitely start with that one instead.
Posted as part of the Month Before Halloween event: