Tuesday, April 16, 2013

[Review] Witch and Wizard - James Patterson

Title: Witch & Wizard
Author: James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy 
Pages: 307, paperback
My Rating: ★★

Description courtesy of Goodreads: The world is changing: the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now, kids are disappearing. For 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside down when they are torn from their parents one night and slammed into a secret prison for no reason they can comprehend. The New Order, as it is known, is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager. But while trapped in this totalitarian nightmare, Wisty and Whit discover they have incredible powers they'd never dreamed of. Can this newly minted witch and wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents--and maybe the world?

I'm surprised I finished this novel. I really didn't want to. There were quite a few things that irked me. For one, the writing style was fairly childish, even considering that it is written for Young Adult. Everything felt scattered and the plot was just meh. I mean, it had potential, but nothing was developed enough. It's fast paced, which is nice, but perhaps too much so. It jumps from one thing to the next and doesn't really expand on anything. Everything happens too quickly in the beginning. It's out of nowhere. One minute the world is normal, the next it's taken over by the New Order. Somehow, I think there would have been some sort of buildup.

The character's--Whit and Wisty--names are too similar. I kept getting them confused (you know, when I was trying to speed read through this). Also, I didn't really connect with them. Wisty is supposed to be some sort of smart-aleck who skips school a lot, but I didn't get that out of what was shown. Whit is supposed to be the all-American poster boy or something, but all I really know about him is that he's a quarterback, blond, strong, handsome, and likes to drink. It's told in first person, so we obviously get inside their heads, but I really didn't sympathize with them.

The format annoyed me as well. I enjoy short chapters. In fact, I love them. It makes the reading go smoother. But it didn't work with this novel. Every chapter was like two pages long. There are 104 chapters total. It's only a 307 page book (with huge margins, large font, and lots of blank space). Normally, chapters that end abruptly have OMG moments that make you want to read on. These just seemed to end out of nowhere, for no reason at all.

Whoever likened the novel to Harry Potter needs to have their head examined. The only similarities are that it's from a famous author, is about a witch and a wizard, and happens to be a bestseller. The only reason I can fathom why it is a bestseller is because it has James Patterson stamped on it. 

Witch & Wizard was something I would expect from an amateurish indie author. Not from a well-established author. This is my first time reading James Patterson and I'm not planning on grabbing any of his other novels any time soon. I'm already sad that I spent money on this one. 


  1. I'm impressed. I didn't make past the free sample pages. In fact, I don't think I even finished the sample pages. Glad I didn't waste my time or money, hoping it would get better.

  2. I should start sampling books like that. But I like to think I have a good judgment of books. I usually love the ones I buy. Even when I purchase them without really knowing what they're about. I remember hesitating with this book though. Should have trusted my instincts.

  3. I read Blood Ninja too. I was so excited about it and bought it for my boyfriend, thinking he might like it (though I bought it mostly so I could read it). I mean, how can you go wrong with ninjas and vampires, right? Wrong. The only thing I remember about it was the writing was kind of childish.
    I gave it two stars because I tend to reserve one star reviews for the books I absolutely loathe. You know, the ones you want to burn every last page of. This one wasn't -that- bad. It just wasn't good.
    I agree. I'd like to have an epic cover like that on my book. If I get stuck with a lame real life model, I'll be so sad.

  4. Yikesy mikesy, a hundred four chapters? And such short ones, too...I'm no expert in the field, but I think that something's a little amiss in terms of flow when you've got a setup like that. And that plot synopsis doesn't inspire much confidence; I feel like I've read the book before I've even taken a look at it. I wouldn't say that's an immediate fault, but as I was explaining to my brother the other day, even if your plot's been done before, you can -- and pretty much have to -- use it as a jumping-off point into bigger and better things. That much we can agree on, yes?

    Well, a shame that the book didn't deliver. Maybe next time, then. Oh, wait, one more thing -- is there actually a gigantic burning W somewhere in the story? Because it'd say that's enough to at least partially redeem the tale. Can't go wrong with a smoldering letter the size of a small mountain.

  5. "I mean, how can you go wrong with ninjas and vampires, right?"

    Exactly. The same happened with Vampirates. I saw the book and thought Vampires and Pirates, what could go wrong? A lot apparently. The whole second book dedicated 2 out of 300+ pages to actual action. They talked, talked, and just for good measure talked some more. It was a bore.

  6. ~Argh! I dislike it when people compare books to Harry Potter!(Not that I`ve read HP, but I just don`t like it.) Every time I see that in the cover of a book, I put it right back on the shelf. I`ve heard the name James Patterson a few times though....

  7. Holy balls! It took me 11 days to respond to you. I'm really sorry. School is coming to an end, which means I want to shoot myself. I can definitely agree with that. So long as you create interesting characters and keep the story moving, I don't care whether the plot has been done before. As long as it has its own twists and turns.

    No, there wasn't a gigantic burning W. The girl, Wisty, burst into fire a lot though. :S

  8. Sorry it took me so long to reply! School's been pretty hectic.

    Haha. I have never heard of that book before. I'll have to steer clear. I fear that's what happens in my stories a lot though. That they just talk and talk, and nothing happens.

  9. You haven't read HP?! :O Why not?!

    I don't like it when people compare books like that either, but sometimes its nice just to know what type of book it is. But yeah, by doing that, they're kind of setting it up to fail. Especially when they compare it to something like HP.

  10. ...Well, it's no gigantic burning W, but close enough. Bet she's a hit at parties.