Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.
Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.
Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison's seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don't quite go as planned, it's a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches' latest vile scheme.
I really did not enjoy this book. While the novelization of the movie was fine for the most part, the sequel destroyed my reading experience. (Most of my rating/review is based on the sequel as the first portion of the story is the same as the film. I gave it two stars because the novelization deserves a three for still being part of the novel, but the sequel deserves one.)
As for the first part of the story which is basically just a novelization of the film Hocus Pocus, I enjoyed it well enough. It was extremely accurate to the books and I believe almost all of the dialogue was lifted directly from the film. While listening to the audiobook, it had the sense of almost watching the film which was very pleasant. I felt it did a decent job of adding some more depth to certain characters such as the relationship between Max and Allison as well as the dynamic between each of the Sanderson sisters. The only turn off specifically related to the audiobook was I have the voices of the film actors so deeply ingrained into my brain, that I was disappointed when the voice/inflection of certain lines did not match my memory of the story. That’s not fault on the audiobook actor or the author – it’s just a result of listening to a different actor than what I’m used to. (Though I desperately missed the spectacular production that is “I Put A Spell On You).
My singular issue with the novelization which leads into the “all new sequel” is that there is ONE change that dictates the entire course of the sequel. It is a very obvious change that is not at all existent in the original story and the only reason the change was incorporated was to be the catalyst for the events of the sequel. This may just be a personal issue I have with the story, but if you are going to write a sequel to a cult classic film, you can’t change the original story to fit your idea of the sequel. I was having a good time reading at first, but this fact really set me off and I instantly became really disappointed in the story.
Moving onto the sequel, I was actually REALLY enjoying the first few chapters. Following the characters of the original story 25 years later added a different level of depth that I never imagined possible when watching as a kid. I felt the author captured the atmosphere of one of my favorite stories from childhood so well. But unfortunately, as soon as the Sanderson sisters appeared, I was totally out.
One of my biggest gripes of the book is that the magic system is not consistent. I would have been really excited to see the Sanderson’s magic used in new ways, but the rules and limitations set by the initial story were completely wrecked and transformed into something new. The spell the entire plot of the sequel is based on was just so nonsensical and dumb – it really set the tone for the rest of the novel. There was one moment where a spell truly mimics the original manner of magic-working and I was immensely excited, but every other spell was a huge disappointment.
The plot was just very simplistic and convenient. It should have had a greater intensity than Hocus Pocus but it was just so bland. A lot of telling and showing and not enough complex action to keep me interested. Certain characters essentially spoon-feed knowledge to the main characters so there’s no rush and no intellectual struggle for the protagonists.
When I started the sequel, I thought I was really beginning to enjoy the new cast of characters, especially given that they are much more diverse than the actors in the film. But as I grew deeper into the story, I realized I didn’t know much about them. They were all fairly one dimensional and not memorable whatsoever. I wanted to love Poppy and her friends so badly, but I honestly don’t know who they are outside of their relation to the original cast and their extremely flat personalities.
A few additional things I really disliked: -The modernization/technology plot line – It was lazy and uncreative. It made the story feel so out of touch from it’s roots. Just plain dumb. - The musical number – I don’t understand why this was included? The audiobook narrator doesn’t even sing it, which might have made it a little bearable. I’m all for musical numbers in film and television but gosh, was it uncomfortable in this story. So out of place. -There were some interesting reveals and twists that could have done well but they were just executed so poorly.
Overall, Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel did not deliver. I knew this book would probably be a flop going into it, but I so desperately wanted to be surprised. Unfortunately, it was even more disappointing than I imagined.
"Hocus Pocus" is such a lightning-in-a-bottle film. Like other cult movies, it was panned on release but managed to gain a wide base of loyal fans...including me! I can't think of another film that manages to capture the joy of the holiday quite as well: the beautiful aesthetic; the nostalgia; the barely restrained sense of adventure; and the big, over-the-top goofiness that's tempered by just the right amount of danger.
I've spent an embarrassing amount of time watching the film, going to themed parties, taking tours, and -- of course -- thinking about what might have happened to Max, Allison, and Dani after Halloween 1993. Of course we all wanted a sequel, but instead of the false Tina Fey rumors (seriously, who would be better to resurrect Winifred, Sarah, and Mary Sanderson?), we got a book.
I'm pretty sure everyone knew a book wasn't the ideal format for a "Hocus Pocus" sequel but hey, after 25 years, you take what you can get, right? So I bought it the first day it was available.
Aaaaand...well, here we go.
The first third of the book is a novelization of the film. It's pretty cute, but suffers from a lot of the same problems all novelizations have.
Movie scripts don't translate well into books, and a lot of scenes that work on the screen just don't work on the page. The worst offender was the "I Put a Spell on You" sequence. I get that it needs to be in there because it's a plot point, but did they really need to describe EVERY ACTUAL SECOND of that scene? Seriously, every time Sarah and Mary sing a backup line, it's translated onto the page. Every time the musicians play a riff, the drummer hits a high-hat, or someone in the audience screams in delight, we're told about it. This continues for about five pages. Like Marcel Proust, I'm in search of my lost time.
Anyway, it's even worse because while the author includes that, she doesn't bother to include the fun, stand-out scenes from the film. There's no silly "Dad-cula" jokes, "watch your language" retorts after Max says "sucks," and no scene with the fake cop who pulls Max aside to ask if he's really a virgin. Why? Why?? It's classic!
The author also doesn't really know how to deal with scenes that revolve solely around the Sanderson sisters. Instead of taking a third-person omniscient point of view, she sticks to a sort of limited third-person narration and can't decide how to describe modern items like televisions, buses, or service vehicles. Sometimes we get straightforward narration, but other times we get long, tortured descriptions of modern objects from the point of the view of the witches...and ugh. It's not funny; it's boring and weird.
The format is also a little odd; it starts out with alternating chapters telling the story of Thackery and Emily Binx as well as Max and Dani Dennison. Thankfully, it only continues until the prologue portion of the film is over, but it's still a weird structural choice and a bit distracting.
Content-wise, there's not a lot new in the novelization. We get a few more details about Max and Dani's move to Salem, their relationship with each other, and how they're adjusting to their new home. We also see more of the burgeoning relationship between Max and Allison, and get a couple of glimpses into the Sanderson sisters' past, including their home life and how they interacted with the village.
The author also fills out the characterization of the main characters a bit more, and we learn a lot more about who Allison is and a little bit more about Max and Winifred. She doesn't bother to flesh out the other characters as much, but that's fine.
The writing is okay. It's a bit better than you'd normally see in a novelization, and there are a few skillful descriptions that manage to create a good sense of place. I also got the feeling that the author really cared about the characters, which was sweet.
Overall, the novelization was mostly included to slip in a few new bits of information and set up for the sequel. It wasn't necessary, but it was still kind of fun. On its own, it probably warrants 3 or 4 stars.
The bulk of the book is the "all-new sequel," which for some reason didn't warrant a name.
It picks up in October 2018, 25 years after the events of the film. Max and Allison's daughter, Poppy, is a normal high school student trying to navigate bullies, crushes, and her own bland-but-pretentious photography (very high school!). She's also got a big secret: her parents and aunt actually believe in witchcraft--specifically the Sanderson sisters. It's all very embarrassing.
We learn that Max has gone on to become a high school history teacher, Allison is now a lawyer, and Dani hangs out a lot with her brother, sister-in-law, and niece.
For the upcoming Halloween (which happens to fall on a night with a blood moon), they plan a big holiday party at their house to keep an eye on Poppy and make sure she's safe. But Poppy has other plans. In order to impress her crush, Isabella, she sneaks out with her, best friend Trevor, and a spirit board to break into the Sanderson sisters' home. One accidental spell later, she's summoned Winifred, Sarah, and Mary back from Hell in exchange for her parents and Aunt Dani.
Now, in order to rescue her family, she and her friends must find the missing blood moonstone and break all the Sandersons' spells for good.
The setup actually isn't bad. With Max, Allison, and Dani relegated to Hell, the stakes are raised, and the search-and-destroy quest plot is a fun departure from the keep-away game the kids play with the witches in the first film. I also like Poppy and her friends, even if they're a little under-developed.
Unfortunately, the setup just never delivers. The blood moonstone proves far too easy , and the final act drags on and ON AND ON. The teenage characters are also far less resourceful than Max, Allison, and Dani were; instead of coming up with their own plans, they rely on other deus ex machina characters (more on that later) and spend their time reassuring each other that everything is going to be okay,.
The author also tries to shoehorn technology into the plot, with mixed results. Seeing the Sanderson sisters find an iPhone and use Siri was pretty hilarious and felt like something that could have happened in the film, but going on to use the phone to felt pretty stupid and forced. The witches' tactics in the film worked just as well (even better, TBH) and it seemed like a wasted effort to make the sequel feel modern. The kids also list off random social media platforms for no reason and sometimes slip into text speak, which feels less organic and more like an older YA author attempting to be relevant.
Several characters from the film make walk-on appearances, including blonde bully Jay (who has somehow gone on to become a principal), Binx and Emily (who seemed nothing like themselves and whose inclusion mostly felt sad--they should be off enjoying the afterlife!), and the seafood restaurant owner (random, but kind of fun). Binx and Emily, along with new character Elizabeth, mainly exist as deus ex machina plot points, who have randomly helpful and specific knowledge and who tell Poppy and her friends exactly what to do to beat the witches.
The humor is also really lame and forced. The Sanderson sisters repeat all the same jokes from the film, including endless variations of Sarah's "Amuk! Amuk! Amuk!" line and musical numbers that have ABSOLUTELY NO POINT. Seriously! You have to sit through and READ two separate musical numbers that serve no purpose to the plot and take up at least five pages. The witches also ride various "haha, that's not a broom" items, including a rake, a Swiffer, a leaf blower, and a Roomba, and the diminishing returns are so thin that by the end, you'll want to throw the book across the room. There are also never-ending witch puns, including "witch please" and (sigh) "resting witch face."
The narration is pretty poor. The author chooses the trendy first-person present-tense device that's so popular in YA right now to narrate Poppy's portions of the novel, switching to third-person limited present-tense to describe what's happening with the Sanderson sisters. It's so weird. It works for Poppy's portion, but the witches' scenes just fall flat. The present-tense is distracting, and the whole thing feels like I'm reading badly written fan fiction that's describing a badly written fan film.
Finally, the whole sequel ends with a completely unnecessary cliffhanger intended to allow room for a lot more "Hocus Pocus" installments, which...honestly, do we even need those? This franchise was NOT set up to allow for multiple entries. A sequel is perfectly fine, but Winnie, Sarah, and Mary would wear out their welcome REALLY quickly if this became an annual thing.
I wanted to like this so much, especially after the beginning was so promising, but it just...didn't deliver.
I don't know, Disney. I was super happy to get a sequel to (and even a novelization of!) this Halloween classic, but this wasn't the one I wanted.
I liked the characters, I liked the setup, and I even liked a few of the jokes...but you've got to be able to deliver. This book could never decide if it wanted to be scary, romantic, funny, a franchise-builder, or just a light-hearted romp with some old favorite characters. The result is a tonally uneven, sometimes deeply unfunny book that wore me out before it was even halfway through. I probably won't pick this up again, and I definitely won't recommend it to any but the most devoted fans.
Overall, this is probably 2.5 regretful, witchy stars.
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You know those TV shows that continue past their prime and loyal viewers want to pretend the last few seasons never happened because it destroys the magic of the earlier seasons? That's what this book is. I love Hocus Pocus and watch it every Halloween, but this book almost ruins it for me. Just a warning before you read further. I'm ranting here, so there may be some mild spoilers.
The first third or so is just the movie in novel form. It's done pretty well and was exactly what I expected. It was cute.
Then there was the sequel.
Oh boy. Where to start?
It read like a checklist of every YA fad book out there: Mean girl who's dad was the authority figure? Check Side kick "best friend" who happened to be a person of color? Check LGBTQ character? Check Rehash of a popular movie? Check Popular girl who is jealous of main character? Check "Twist" ending that can be used to write yet another unneeded book? Check
The plot for the sequel as EXACTLY the same as the original Hocus Pocus, except there was an annoying best friend instead of an annoying little sister. Even the jokes were the same.
The sequel tried too hard to be trendy. It kept comparing things to when Poppy's parents were in high school, trying to make it seem old. It actually used "IRL" in the narrative. The hashtags flowed like water
I have no idea how the witches' lightning power worked. In the movie, Winifred could "zap" Thackery or Max, but if she wanted anything useful done, she had to cast an actual spell. Here, Winifred, and several other witches, could just zap up whatever they needed to be done. It made everything way too easy.
The story just dragged and dragged and DRAGGED. 521 pages and the showdown with the witches was not complicated or hard. It was just drug out. It wasn't exciting. There was no way that Poppy and her friends would lose. It never felt like the stakes were high. Ever.
Poppy was an annoying spoiled brat. I hated her. I wanted Winifred to zap her into oblivion. Isabella (really, Isabella? Twilight fan much?) was so perfect I wanted to smack her. On top of that, the story tried to make Max seem like the bad guy and the reader feel sorry for the bully Jay.
The ending absolutely did it for me. I won't say more to keep from spoiling it, but I've only ever had one other book's ending annoy me more, and I had to restrain myself from throwing that one.
I literally squealed with delight when I saw this had been made into a book. Hocus Pocus is my favourite movie of ALL time and to see it in book form is a dream come true! And I’m glad to say it did not disappoint, it was absolutely perfect in fact! It was like I was seeing the movie in my head while I was reading and it was such a wonderful feeling. And then getting to see my favourite characters all grown up in the sequel was equally as enjoyable. I loved the new story and I thought it was hilarious how it was modernized, it was just too perfect! This is hands down my favourite book I’ve read this year!
You guys are kidding me!!! This is not going to be a book… Wait it is? In that case... AHHHH!!!!! That was a sequel of delight!!!! Hocus Pocus is one of my all time favorite movies!! The Sanderson sisters crack me up!
Nani i had guess we had better have that heart attack together son because this book is bound to give me one… Remember we said that if we croak then we croak together… Hahaha
I cannot wait for this to hit the library and i cannot wait to check it out!!!!
I’m a huge fan of Hocus Pocus so keep that in mind while you read this review. And also, since the first half is a novelization of the movie, I am not going to focus on that part. It went alright, but what I would like to cover is the second half, the “All-New Sequel”.
First off, I’m psyched that the protagonist is a female into females. A huge main stream movie/now book that focuses on an lgbtqia character is a great thing and I can’t wait until this sort of thing becomes more commonplace. But for now, I consider this a win. Second, I’m glad this is about Allison and Hollywood’s kiddo. Of course as a kid I always imagined they’d stay together forever, so I’m happy to see that they have. Super cute.
Poppy is a decent protagonist and I love how much she’s into Isabella, but that’s about the end of the charming part of the story. The rest was kind of just bland and tried to pull in the elements that made the movie so amazing, but it kind of just fell flat. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t straight up bad, but this is trying to follow a classic that I grew up with and expectations were definitely high. Unfortunately, while there were parts that were interesting, the story as a whole just wasn’t enough.
So while this was okay, I can’t recommend this. Especially to those who love the movie. I’m glad I listened to the audiobook rather than read the book because I feel like at least that way I was able to multitask and not completely waste my time. Too bad. It coulda been amazing.
Okay guys I really wanted to like this book. But here's my take on it... the entire first half of the book is the novelization of the film. the second half of the book as to where the sequel is. I found the writing to be tedious in areas. I'm talking completely over descriptive where it is not necessary. And then in other parts she left out things like little jokes here and there that made the movie funny. I understand having to rewrite some things in order to set up for the sequel (because the film obviously did not) but I feel that all in all it could have been written better. The one thing that the author has going for her is that it is very obvious that she does care for the story and the characters and that is a nice touch. The one biggest issue that I have with the movie novelisation and then switching to the sequel is the fact that the writer decided to choose to go from third-person in the first half to first-person in the second half. It is completely disorienting and it's almost like reading whiplash. I'm going to be honest here and let you guys know forthright that I did not finish this book. It was just too disappointing. I will probably keep this in my library to try to read at a later date but for right now it's a no-go. I honestly can't say that I would recommend this book and that makes me very very very sad. Most people that are going to be reading this book are big fans of the film and if you are a big fan of the film, unfortunately like most sequels, you will be disappointed here.
This was a fun read. The first part was Hocus Pocus, and I felt a lot like watching the movie. I could visualize it in my head. I loved seeing the Sanderson sisters back.
Part 2 was 25 years later and featuring Max and Allison's seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy. I thought it was very forward for Disney to have Poppy's character crush a girl. I love that they did this, even if it was unexpected from the normally uber-conservative Disney name. The adventure was fun, and this time someone became a dog instead of a cat! It was nice to see some newer tech incorporated as well.
Where do I begin?! The first part of the book was word for word the movie and I LOVE the movie and was so happy I could imagine the scenes in my head as I was reading along. Now I was never one for a sequel to this movie but the sequel written I really want it made into a movie but I want all the original cast in it lol. This book made me smile. I loved every single minute of it and highly suggest it if you love the Halloween Classic movie!!!!
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Rating 2.5 Stars
First off I have to say Hocus Pocus was my childhood so I'm going to be a bit biased in my review instead of judging it like any other book. I just can't help it when you really expected something to be good and be true to the characters and the story but it just falls flat in the end...
I went into this "sequel" thinking we would get to finally see the characters more than two decades later and what they have been up to now that they are grown adults. But no Max, Allison, and my favorite Dani, were only in a sliver of the book. The rest of it was all just their kids facing down the witches. A cool concept but Max, Allison, and Dani should have been involved in taking the witches down once again instead of just banished into hell. Reminded me too much of the disaster the unofficial next installment of Harry Potter was but I digress. I can't really express how disappointed this makes me to have to say this is just another failed sequel to a beloved film.
What really made this fail was also the new characters. They didn't have a strong personality or anything that would have made me overlook the fact that the original character were not a big part of the story. They were just a carbon copy of the typical teenager who thought their parents were lame and were destroying their social life. Also not listening to their warnings and doing something stupid and sometimes illegal. Those details could be connected to several books. I can't even remember their names that's how unremarkable they were.
I also had a problem with the half-assed plot. There was no real explanation as to how playing with an ouijia board was able to open a portal that would let the witches back into the present day world. Also the fact that three souls had to take their places in hell. I was just sitting their completely confused as to how this could all happen with no context whatsoever. It would have been way better if Poppy (I had to go look up her name) just got her hands on the black flame candle that was hidden somewhere and lit the candle just like her father had twenty five years ago and that's how the witches were able to come back. It would have been something she would have done since she thought her parents were crazy and the Sanderson sisters never came back one Halloween night all those years ago. There also was the small scene of Emily and Thackery Binx coming back to briefly help Poppy and their friends. That would have been awesome if they were involved more in helping get rid of the Sanderson sisters instead of the witch's sister Elizabeth. But no no dice on that one either all the original characters I guess had to be basically out of the picture. It was also super easy for Poppy to find the bloodstone that has been missing for centuries. But hey it was the key to defeating the Sanderson sisters so it had to be easy to find right? *rolls eyes* There was more problems but I think I made my point clear.
Here's what made this have at least two stars. I really liked that the first part of the book was the first movie in book form so I enjoyed reading that and it is a good refresher for people have not watched Hocus Pocus enough to remember everything. I also really loved that were was a LGBT part to this story with the romance between Poppy and Isabella. That was a surprising but pleasant surprise and I thought it was cute despite having a lot of issues with the characters. Then there was the characters I did enjoy was the Sanderson Sister's themselves. The author had them down pat they acted just like they did in the movie and it was amusing to hear Sarah sign song "Amok Amok Amok!!" again as well as new words. So I have to give credit that at least the Sanderson sister's did not fall flat in this "sequel" I wish I could say there was more I liked about this book but unfortunately not and I am just going to forget there ever was a sequel and just love the original story as it is.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This really hurts to include on my DNF shelf but I refuse to let my view of the Hocus Pocus movie be tainted. The retelling was a blast to read but the new sequel was way too fan fiction-y for my liking.
I may try to do a reread of this in October, it's a big maybe though.
Overall 2.5 stars This was my most anticipated read for October and of 2018!
Part 1: 4 ☆'s
The first part did not disappoint. It was pretty much like the movie.
Part 2: 2 ☆'s
The sequel on the other hand was a disaster for me. The story read like a middle grade book and it just kept dragging..the narration was nothing like the first part. As for the diversity..while I appreciate the effort, it felt very forced..as if this book were trying to hit every single topic in one sitting. Truly disappointing. If you're thinking about this one, seriously. Just borrow it from the library and save your money for a better book.
I'm abandoning the sequel for now. It feels like the author is trying too hard to relate to the differences in the new time period instead of focusing on the story. I'm rather disappointed. I did have high expectations though, and I guess there are just some things that shouldn't be touched.
Being a 90’s kid, the story of Hocus Pocus has been a favorite of mine. I completely devoured this book from beginning to end and I loved the retelling of the original film. It gave readers a more in depth detail of the original story and first person point of view. And I enjoyed the small details from the movie that were included in the retelling story. I thought the sequel was great! With the majority of the original characters returning 25 years later with their children and friends. Poppy, Max and Allison’s daughter is the main character of the story. She and her friends, Travis and Isabella, accidently bring back the sisters with a spirit board. The three of them race throughout Halloween night trying to find the Blood Moon Stone hidden somewhere in Salem and defeat the Sisters once more. It’s interesting to know how Max, Allison and Dani feel about Halloween since their encounter with the Sanderson sisters. They are physically taken away from earth and are not able to join Poppy and her friends in their quest. But with the help of Binx, Emily and a new character, they are able to connect with them. This sequel kept me on my toes with its many twists and turns in the plot. I enjoyed reading it and this story kept me waiting in suspense! I truly hope for a movie adaption. It would be the ultimate nostalgic movie in the 21st century.
Everything is going wrong again when Max and Allisons (stupid) daughter Poppy summons the sisters (trying to be brave) and ends up with her parents in hell and all of salem at the sisters wicked command. Elizabeth though the misunderstood sanderson sister is here to help Poppy and her friends in hopes to save Salem and her parents
The writing was fine but the story was really good. Because i love the story of hocus pocus i didnt need the details of how the characters acted or what they looked like (the author didnt go into detail for those things anyway) i didnt read the attitude and wicked smirk but i knew it was there. Because i love the movie characters and know them so well i was able to put their personalities into the bland book. That being said i did really enjoy it. Maybe it was just getting back into the hocus pocus world again or because i never thought of what would their lives be like in 25 years.
I think this book actually ruined one of my favorite movies for me. I don't even want to watch Hocus Pocus on Halloween this year. That's how bad this was. This is why I never purchase books full price before reading them first from the library. What a waste of money. This book is so stupid I feel like I've lost brain cells.
"Isabella turns around and smiles at me . 'Gumption. I like it.' 'Oh, gum? I'd like a piece, please!' says Travis."
This is the kind of dumb fuckery I paid to read. When I got to the part where Poppy couldn't find her mother with her father and Aunt Dani in hell because she was looking for the manager of that wing of hell (not even exaggerating, that happened) I had enough of the stupidest story line I've ever read and decided to skim the rest. Surely there is better fan fiction out there somewhere they could have published into a book.
Hocus Pocus and the all new Sequel is a delightful read ideal for this time of year (Autumn). I enjoyed reading this book cuddled up under a blanket with endless cups of tea. The first part of the book is the story from the movie which was exactly like the movie I'm happy to say! The second part of the book is the sequel which is twenty-five years later on Halloween night under a blood moon. Max and Allison have a teenage daughter who is the main character in the second part, and her and her friends accidentally bring the three Sanderson sisters back from Hell and all Hell breaks lose in Salem yet again. I loved the mix of characters in this sequel and the diverse characters used too. The ending has been left open a year from the end of the sequel so there could potentially be another book produced which I'd love to read, providing they don't take it too far and ruin the story.
The novelization of Hocus Pocus is exactly what you’d expect, no surprise there.
The sequel is.....cute. It’s a trio of characters again, it’s the Dennison kid trying to impress their crush again, it’s an animal transformation again. Much of it was recycled into newer forms, but not necessarily better. I found Poppy a bit insufferable and Isabella’s convenient appearance annoying, even if I liked their blooming romance.
The rest gets a bit silly. The Sanderson sisters themselves basically rehash the same jokes from the movie, which is great for nostalgia’s sake but didn’t really feel like anything New was brought to the table in terms of funny quips and one-liners.
The flip side of that is the introduction to a whole new Sanderson sister that is never once mentioned in the movies. Sort of like Voldemort having a love child in The Cursed Child—felt too forced and silly.
I listened to the audio version of this and for the first half I could not stop playing the movie over the narrator. The narrator wasn't bad but when I know the characters break out in song... well... I need the narrator to do so as well. Safe to say listening to the narration is basically like listening to the movie. I recommend fast forwarding to the sequel since that is what we are all here for.
I know the die-hard Pocus fans probably hate this sequel since the end of the first one basically should have been it. However, putting all differences aside while envisioning this as the typical Disney movie prequel it is AND embracing the idea of the original cast existing in this make believe film had me liking it. It’s cute. It’s typical Disney cute. I enjoyed the new generation, I loved the fact there was a budding LGBT romance “brewing” in the background and it was just splendid how they delivered the plot. Most readers hated the plot. I'm not most.
Would I recommend this in book format? Probably not. Would I watch this on TV? In a heartbeat. Some things are better left to producers in the end even if I loved getting my Hocus Pocus fill in a new way this year.
Sigh. I wanted to love this so much. I've always loved the the Hocus Pocus movie and was excited to be back in that world with a new familiar faces. I didn't really pay attention to the blurb heading in so I didn't realize the first like 1/3 of the novel would basically be Hocus Pocus, in book form. It's extremely accurate to the movie and was fun to read. Could it have dived deeper into the plot and characters? Perhaps but obviously it was setting up the main sequel portion that takes place 25 years later with Max and Allison's daughter as the star. Parts were very reminiscent of the first story, especially when Poppy does something stupid in regards to calling on the witches all to try to impress her crush, Isabella. It was fun to see the Sanderson witches back, desperately trying to stake their claim on the world. We even see a reappearance of the beloved Binx and his sister, Emily. But I don't know, some of the plot seemed a little too ridiculous to me - a Boston Terrier transformation, characters being transported to Hell, zombie like kids doing the witches biddings. And okay, I get some of the original had that fun quirkiness too but it just seemed like it was trying a little too hard with the sequel and didn't hold that fun magic at quite the same level. Of course there were a few great moments too and I think readers will enjoy seeing the witches take to even newer technology than the last one. But on a whole, it didn't live up to my expectations, sadly.
I legit got a little woozy from the shock of finding out about this novel. I never thought there would be an actual book on my favorite movie ever and a sequel to go with it. It also comes out less than a week after my birthday so happy birthday to me but July has never felt so far away.
Hocus Pocus is one of my all-time favorite movies and I was equal parts excited to revisit the beloved characters with a continuation 25 years later and terrified that it wouldn't live up to the nostalgia I feel for the film. As such I went into this with very low expectations and overall found this to be an enjoyable read.
Full disclosure:I skipped the first 196 pages as I wasn't interested in reading a novelized account of the movie. Which was a good choice for me personally, 10/10 would recommend to others looking for a trip down nostalgia lane. This review solely focuses on the All New Sequel part of the book.
It's been 25 years since a virgin lit the Black Flame Candle, and Salem is still as bewitched with the tales of the Sanderson Sisters as ever. Well, everyone except for Poppy Dennison, the 17 year old daughter of Max and Allison. She grew up listening to her parents and Aunt Dani recount their experiences with the Sanderson Sisters and has spent her life hiding her family's secret from everyone, convinced that it is a tall tale. It is Halloween 2018, and things are about to get witchy again in Salem!
The story itself is well plotted and I found the storyline enjoyable to read. The Sanderson Sisters are back on Halloween night, and it is another race against time to save the world. Another trio of unlikely heroes to save the day. Beloved characters return from beyond to help provide guidance. Also there is a delightful spirit board that I absolutely need: HEY GHOUL, HEY; GHOUL, BYE. I have never felt so connected to a fictional inanimate object before, but here we are.
While I enjoyed the plot, I felt a disconnect between the character's ages and their actions that I found particularly distracting. This is categorized as a Young Adult novel but reads more like a middle grade book to me in terms of the word choices, sentence structure, and the actions of the characters. The characters themselves were well developed in terms of their backstories and I rooted for them, but unfortunately I just didn't believe their characters would act in the ways described but would totally buy it if they were Dani's age from the film. If I am being honest, the dialog between Poppy, Isabella, and Travis felt off and unrealistic - like an adult trying to write the cool lingo of today's youth, but no one really talks like that to this extent.
Jantha did a good job of writing the Sanderson Sisters true to the characters of the film, particularly with Winifred. Every time Winnie spoke, the lines played in Bette Middler's voice in my head! However, Sarah felt almost like a caricature of herself and most of her lines were some variation of "Amok, amok, amok!"
It was wonderful to see Binx and Emily again, but they kind of didn't seem like themselves? I don't know how to explain it. I did find the Olde English speech to be inconsistent, and honestly the Sisters kind of figured out how to use an iPhone faster than I think someone from the 1600s would.
Since this is a Disney publication it makes sense that they would want to appeal to a younger audience, especially ones that haven't seen the movie before (hence the novelized account). The movie does a much better job of appealing to both children and young adult audiences, and I feel like they made an odd marketing choice here. In my opinion a huge audience here are the adults that grew up watching this movie looking for nostalgia, and this book really doesn't appeal to us at all.
Overall, I enjoyed my trip back to Salem and the Sanderson Sisters' return. The plot felt well developed and true to the hijinks they would get into for immortality. If you're an adult looking for a bit of nostalgia, keep in mind that this book really wasn't written for you and go in with low expectations. I also recommend just skipping to the sequel on page 198 so as to not taint your movie feels. The book is left open for something new in this world, but I don't know that it is something that I will follow personally.
This will not be a long review, because I am disappointed that this book didn't live up to my expectations. I just think retellings aren't my thing, and this is the second time I've been disappointed by one. Last year, I read Heartless and I was bored stiff. This time around, Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel was just not for me, in the slightest.
The book is broken into multiple parts, and Part I is the strongest. It is a complete retelling of the original movie that we've all come to know and love, however I didn't ask for a retelling of my favorite childhood movie. I wanted the book to initiate in the future as a sequel. Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel is not a sequel at all—we dive into the characters from the movie and they're reinterpreted in their own way. We do get some of the movie quotes in here (Another Glorious Morning!, yaboos, etc.), but it still comes off too immature for fans of the 1990s movie. We are older, and should get something a little stronger to read. I understand that this book is for young adult readers, but still... ugh!
After Part I wraps up, I'm ready for the action! However, the plot felt forced and repetitive from the movie. Similar experiences happen in the sequel that have happened in the original, but changed up for the modern day. Without spoiling, the witches brooms get stolen again and a nostalgic situation occurs. It was funny, but so obviously repetitive. If the story isn't revisiting the movie, it's verging on the side of ridiculousness. After 500 pages, I just felt deflated. womp, womp I'm going to just give this book to my little sister, because I think she will enjoy it more than me.