Saturday, May 14, 2011

"They're afraid of change, and we must change. They're afraid of the young, and we are the young. They're afraid of music, and music is our life. They're afraid of books, and knowledge, and ideas. They're most afraid of our magic."

Witch & Wizard – James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

314 pages

Genre:  Juvenile/YA; Paranormal; Urban Fantasy

Summary:  On a seemingly average morning, siblings Whit and Wisty are jolted awake after government officials break into their house and place them under arrest.  Whit and Wisty are terribly confused, and the confusion only gets worse when the “New Order” government informs them that they are “extremely dangerous” criminals who wield extraordinary powers.  Will the duo find their way out of this mess, or will they meet their demise all too soon?

Review:  Ever since reading the first Harry Potter book as a twelve-year-old, I’ve enjoyed reading any book about wizardry that I can get my hands on.  When I saw Witch & Wizard, I really couldn’t wait to read it:  a corrupt government, kids with exceptional magical abilities, and lots of action…where can one possibly go wrong?  Sadly, Witch & Wizard definitely did not live up to my expectations. 

Stylistically, I really didn’t understand why the narrative kept switching back and forth.  In fact, I was downright annoyed by it most of the time.  The switch made a bit more sense towards the latter part of the book, however, but at the beginning, I felt it was completely unnecessary to continuously shift voices, especially when the chapters tended to be three pages long.  I enjoy dual narratives quite a bit if they’re done well, but for me, it just fell flat in this case.  Since the narrative kept switching, it was hard for me to get a feel for who the characters were as people, thus making it hard to care about what happened to them.  Had this book been written in third person, I think I would have enjoyed it much more.

I was also quite bothered by the fact that everything seemed incredibly easy for the characters to deal with.  Nearly every obstacle Wisty and Whit encountered, no matter how great, was easily resolved in just the nick of time.  Boring!  I also found it hard to believe that Whit and Wisty were still really calm and smart aleck-y after they were first arrested, as their means of escape were pretty much non-existent.  Their world looked absolutely bleak, and they were still acting like everything was a big joke?  Really? 

Granted, some of the dialogue was rather funny, and I could see a 9 - 12-year-old kid enjoying the humor quite thoroughly.  I also liked the way in which Patterson played with words from popular culture; I laughed out loud a few times when I pieced together the reference, and I especially liked the nod to his Maximum Ride series (it was something along the lines of “Children with wings?   That’s ridiculous.”)

The opening of this book, as well as the attention to magical kids, is very akin to the Maximum Ride series, so Witch & Wizard would probably be a worthwhile read if you’re a fan of Maximum Ride.  This book would also be great for reluctant readers, as there is quite a bit of humor and action throughout.

Rating: 2.5/5

Other Books in this SeriesThe Gift (Book 2)

Read-alikesMaximum Ride series – James Patterson, Magyk - Angie Sage, Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling


  1. I don't hold out much hope for this, but I'll probably try it at some point, because of my dystopia obsession.

  2. It's a really quick read; I don't think it took me more than two or three hours. It'll probably keep you entertained, but it definitely won't blow your mind or anything, especially if you're kind of ambivalent about Maximum Ride.

  3. I kind of enjoyed the Maximum Ride things, but they did not have good worldbuilding. I mean, how the wings work is never explained. Which drove me crazy.