I didn’t really know what to expect when I opened The Witches’ Kitchen up. Honestly, I was worried it would be a little too “midMy Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I didn’t really know what to expect when I opened The Witches’ Kitchen up. Honestly, I was worried it would be a little too “middle grade” for me (if that makes sense). At least that’s the impression I got from the blurb. But to my surprise I got sucked into the story from the beginning and found myself really enjoying the characters, the writing, and the awesome illustrations.
The Witches’ Kitchen is about a dark and magical kitchen that houses some really fantastical and frightening creatures. Among those creatures are two witch sisters that are up to no good. The book opens to the two of them dangling a poor toad over a bubbling cauldron. The toad isn’t too sure why she’s hanging upside down or why she’s even in the clutches of the witches. She’s not even sure what her name. After escaping from the witches, Toad sets out to recover her memories and somehow get away from the dangerous world that is the Kitchen. She ends up finding some unforgettable companions that help her with along the way.
Like I mentioned earlier, I had no idea that I was going to pretty much love this story. The writing style was simple yet really engaging. I was a little worried after the first few characters were introduced because they were crazy. Like out of this world crazy. Williams has a brilliant imagination and the illustrations were not only helpful, they were really well done! Of course, I had an ARC copy of the book so all the art I had wasn’t final. I can’t wait to get a finished copy and see the art in its entirety.
Toad’s character was timid at first. Of course, she has no idea who she is and why she’s in Kitchen in the first place. But she grows in development and becomes a strong-willed character soon enough. It’s hard to trust the supporting characters at first because nothing is what it seems in the Kitchen but those characters are just as important to the story as Toad is. The witches are nuts! They are power-driven, crazy, and just flat-out scary. Williams did an excellent job setting up the world of the Kitchen as well. It was never-ending, dark, creepy, and I know I would freak out if I found myself trapped there.
The Witches’ Kitchen is a book I never thought I’d end up liking. I’m so glad I won the ARC because I don’t I’d ever have read it on my own despite the interesting blurb. I recommend this to anyone who likes imaginative characters, great story-telling and beautiful artwork. ...more
So I pretty much feel like a retard. I knew that reading this before reading the Cirque du Freak series was probably a big mistake. Okay, so it wasn’tSo I pretty much feel like a retard. I knew that reading this before reading the Cirque du Freak series was probably a big mistake. Okay, so it wasn’t really a big mistake because I really enjoyed The Birth of a Killer. But I think it would have been pretty great knowing about all the characters before reading this. I know for a fact I would have enjoyed the story even more if I had the Cirque du Freak series under my belt. Since this new series is a prequel to the Cirque du Freak series, having prior knowledge is always a plus! But don’t fret, I’m just being anal. The Birth of a Killer can still definitely be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.
I did have a small amount of prior knowledge going into The Birth of a Killer. I actually caught the movie when it was playing on TV and enjoyed it. I think John C. Reilly is hilarious. And while the movie wasn’t the best ever I knew I would like the books. Now after reading Shan’s writing I definitely know I will.
So The Birth of a Killer tells the story of a young Larten Crepsley before becoming a vampire assistant and ultimately a vampire by Seba Nile. He meets Seba after running away from killing the foreman he worked for. The foreman, who was actually a disturbingly evil man, went a little crazy and killed Larten’s best friend, and cousin, Vur Horsten. He pretty much went too far when he killed Vur but he decided to make an example and show the other boys that he was not to be crossed. In a violent fit of rage Larten goes after him and ultimately kills him. Larten then finds himself on the run. It is in a dark, dingy, and creepy crypt where he finds refuge for the night and where he meets Seba and his destiny…
I loved Larten when he was a young boy. He was eager to learn, loyal, honest, and a great character. I didn’t like the fact that hewas stubborn and pig-headed soon after becoming a vampire. But Larten’s had a tough life and the gradual changes in his personality are understandable. So I don’t hold his bratty tendencies against him…most of the time. Larten does meet another boy, Wester, before he is blooded into a half-vampire and I’m pretty sure he’s a “new” character. It’ll be interesting to see what happens on the next part of Larten’s journey.
With my prior movie-watching knowledge I did recognize some of the characters, which was a great feeling. It actually made me feel more of an idiot not reading Cirque Du Freak first…*sigh* I enjoyed the new-to-me characters in the Freak show and at Vampire Mountain. I loved finding out the reason behind Larten’s crazy hair. I liked Seba a lot. Although he is strict in his teachings he obviously cares a lot about Larten. I thought it kind of funny that Larten’s introduction to the vampaneze involved the same guy that Darren (character) met in the Cirque du Freak series. I really liked Shan’s (author) style of writing. It’s not over the top but still had a horror-type feel that I enjoyed. I’m pretty positive I’ll like his other books. If you’ve read and enjoyed Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak series I think you’ll enjoy The Birth of a Killer too.