Monday, February 7, 2011

Witch & Wizard


Witch & Wizard is a YA dystopian fantasy by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet.

Fifteen-year-old Wisty Allgood and her almost eighteen-year-old brother Whit went to bed that night believing the world was still normal. That they'd wake up the next morning to an ordinary day with an ordinary breakfast with their parents. Instead, they're roughly awoken by swarms of soldiers and arrested for, believe it or not, accusations of being a witch and wizard.

Despite the ridiculousness of the charges and the fact that it's not Puritan times, Whit and Wisty are taken away, leaving their heartbroken, but surprisingly unsurprised, parents in their wake.

It's the New Order - a political party that has slowly but surely taken over every area of government and control and has a tangent against magical powers. But Whit and Wisty don't believe in magic, let alone wield it! Or do they?

Either way, the siblings need to escape before they or their parents are killed - as they are suddenly living in an entirely different world. A world that has taken control over night, while we were all sleeping...

I admit that after the last couple of lukewarm Maximum Ride novels (in my personal opinion, that is), I wasn't sure what I was going to think about this other YA series that James Patterson came out with. But I knew I wanted to give it a shot. Because as much as I can get disgruntled and irritated with Mr. Patterson's books, I can also love them a ton (example, first three books of Maximum Ride series).

I am very happy to say that I actually really, really enjoyed Witch & Wizard! I was hoping the frenetic, exhilarating, entertaining, action-packed start wasn't going to end up disappointing - and it didn't! Whit and Wisty's characters are likable and relatable in their reactions to the crazy goings-on's, and they represent a terrific sibling relationship that I haven't seen portrayed in a YA book for a long time.

The New Order (or abbreviated N. O.), which snuck up on this alternative reality when no one was paying attention is effectively creepy - a perfectly jarring dystopian world that is also highly crazy in the best, most readable way! As you can see, I was pleased.

Witch & Wizard surprised me with its utterly fast-paced, fantasy adventure style. James Patterson may not be quite as reliable as he used to be (again, just my personal opinion), but this time around I found that blockbuster quality I've been missing from him alive and well.

There was only one thing that still bugged me... You know how I have to be honest with you bibliophiles. It's like I can't help it. We're almost like family, connected with our addiction to books and their impact on our novel loving lives.

Why, oh why, does James Patterson insist on having his characters in his YA novels continually refer to themselves as "kids" and the adults as "grown ups"? I'm surprised no one has urged him not to do this. It's one thing when the characters are twelve and under, but once they are in their teens - how many teens do you know who use these terms? It just drives me crazy, as petty as that may be. It dampens the realism a bit, and gives an odd tone here and there.

I'm happy to say, however, that this little hiccup (or pet peeve) doesn't affect the overall novel that much. Witch & Wizard is a picture of dystopian tyranny mixed with magical fantasy and fantastic escapism. The cheesy "kids should rule the world" stuff may have occasionally killed my buzz, but the fun and snappy narrative flow kept me excited to see what will happen next in the series - which will hopefully not get too preachy down the road (*sniff sniff* Will Fang and/or Angel renew my hope in the Maximum Ride series?)!

So - definitely recommended as a great start to what will hopefully be a great series!

*I received a review copy of Witch & Wizard from Hatchette Book Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

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