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New England Witch Chronicles by Chelsea Luna
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Aug 12, 2011

did not like it

The New England Witch Chronicles
Author: Chelsea Bellingeri

Note: Minor spoilers.

Synopsis: The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 were an embarrassing stain on America’s revered past. Innocent people were persecuted at the hands of a few over-zealous puritans. But what if there were real witches during those colonial hunts? What if there are witches in present day New England? That is what Alexandria Ramsey’s crazy grandmother believes. Grandma Claudia claims Alex descends from a long line of New England witches.

Modern day witches in Hazel Cove, Massachusetts? Unlikely, but strange things are occurring in the weeks preceding Alex’s seventeenth birthday, which also coincides with her family’s annual Halloween party. Alex is haunted by bizarre reoccurring nightmares of a man chasing her through the Hazel Cove Cemetery. On a few occasions, when her emotions have spiraled out of control, inanimate objects have shattered around her. But that’s just a coincidence, right? Alex isn’t so sure, especially after a local girl, who supposedly dabbled in witchcraft, was killed in the nearby forest.

Alex knows something strange is happening to her. With the arrival of a new boy in town, the mischievous James Van Curen, who is making her life difficult and causing problems between Alex and her best friend, Peter, Alex feels like her entire world is on the verge of chaos. Could Alex really be a witch? Is it possible Hazel Cove will become a battleground for modern day witches and witch hunters?

Review: As an extremely curious person and a lover of history, I looked forward to reading a novel centered around the Salem Witch Trials. I join the millions who have always been fascinated with the events that prompted what occurred in 1692 and always look forward to reading a good take on the history. Sadly, The New England Witch Chronicles failed to impress or satisfy me.

The premise of the novel (girl’s family has a big hidden secret and she soon realizes she has magical abilities) was as predictable as the execution of the plot (girl faces a series of weird and dangerous moments before discovering the truth). There is nothing original about either the characters or what happens in the story.

Alex, the so-called heroine, spends more time whinnying and behaving so absentmindedly I often found myself exasperated with having to read about her! She is neither courageous, strong, or wise. Her character reads very flat and lacks personality. She personified the weak female character which instantly turned me off from be able to like her. Emma, Alex’s alcoholic mother, was useless to the plot of the story. She did not help to drive the plot forward nor engage my interest. James had potential to be a good character but was downgraded early on in the book as an annoying character due to the author’s determination to use him to create a twist, which only failed miserably, because any reader who truly loves books will be able to predict where James character will be heading in the plot. Victor, Alex’s cold-hearted father who also plays the villain, was possibly only one of the redeemable characters because he played his part well enough. Peter was possibly the only character I enjoyed reading. He is loyal, even tempered, strong, and kind.

The romance between Peter and Alex was as cliché as a novel can get. Two best friends since childhood finally realize how they feel about each other when a new kid arrives to town (James) and almost comes between them *yawn* The story of who Alex’s real father is was also cliché. I was able to predict that outcome not even half way through the novel.

The New England Witch Chronicles read more like a combination of a variety of what young adult novels sound like today. There was nothing to set this novel apart and I struggled to get through it. The action is lack luster. It took until over two hundred plus pages before anything significant enough to capture your attention happens but the story does not pick up even when attempts at suspense and action are thrown in. This entire novel is far too predictable to capture the imagination and reads like so many other novels that been written before it.

I give credit to the author for trying. The Salem Witch Trials brought to more modern times was a good premise and I did like the history that Alex’s family played in them. I also enjoyed Alex’s grandmother and feel she was not incorporated enough in the story which was also a disappointment.

I would only be willing to read the next novel because I would like to know more about Alex’s family history and for Peter's character, but I’m not sure it’s not enough to entice me to do so.

Best of luck to the author in future installments since there are to be three other novels.
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