Liriel27's Reviews > Witch & Wizard

Witch & Wizard by James Patterson
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Apr 15, 12

bookshelves: lent-by-others, dystopias, fantasy, supernatural-mysteries, young-adult
Read in April, 2012

One of my kids lent me this, and now I'm faced with the dilemma of what to say about a series he obviously really enjoys, which I find...stupid. I think the most I can say is that the idea is interesting - that a totalitarian society suddenly springs up in a world much like our own, and the children of the world have to face both the rising of this and of their to-this-point unknown magical powers. BY FAR the most entertaining thing about this book is the Cockney-rhyming-slang allusions to books, musicians, and artists in the back. The "new-speak" vocabulary used in the book is never explained in the context of the story, though, which is problematic.

The problems with this book, in fact, are manifold. Firstly, there is far too much going on, none of which is backgrounded in any way. The world-building is spotty and incomplete, because the assumption is that it's just like ours, up until the beginning of the story. But if the point (as is made hammer-over-head blatant throughout) is for kids to wake up and take control of their own power and place in the world, then we really need to see how a new totalitarian society is made, with collaborators already behind it, overnight. What exactly is it that they are fighting? Mass hypnosis, general apathy, magical suppression of free will, a really charismatic leader offering escape from current problems, what? All of those issues are fought in different ways, so you can't, as an author, just leave it hanging, especially if you want real kids to do something in the real world.

Also, I find it a little strange to have the protagonists influenced by prophecies in a book which supposedly glorifies free will. But that's just me.

The character development is horrendously bad. We are told about the characters, rather than allowed to get to know them. And what descriptions are there are massively cliched and...well, not like any teenager would speak. Find me one 15-year-old who will describe her brother as having a "washboard tummy." Seriously. Just one. And this problem with dialogue is persistent throughout. The evil, horrible, no-good, vaporizing-kids bad guy actually says the following, apparently with a straight face:

"'You're a beautiful boy, I must say, Whitford. Tall and blond, slender yet well-muscled, perfectly proportioned.'"

and:

"'I am the One Who Is The One [sic]. Just in case you forgot or possibly repressed the memory.'"

and:

"'You see, youngins, I am everywhere, and obviously I am all-powerful, and you are not!' He looked at Whit and actually gave a wink."

Awkward. Also more than a little homoerotic (and, given Whit's age at the beginning, child-molestery), which I suspect was not the intent. He calls the male protagonist "sweet prince" also, but the rest of that quote is kind of spoilery, so I left it out.

So. If the quotes above read to you as menacing and good character-building, then maybe you'll like the uneven, choppy nature of this book. If you wince just reading those sentences, then save yourself the 3 hours it will take to read this. There is no resolution to speak of, and I've had fever dreams with more likely plot twists and coherence than this has.

Now...how do I get out of my kid trying to lend me the sequel?
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