Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review: Witch & Wizard series by James Patterson (and others)

Fiction.  This is the first book in the series my son chose for our impromptu book club, formed after I read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (earlier review).  I have read the first three completely and have started the fourth book.  I can say that they improve as they go along, but I have no idea why they wrote past the third installment (Patterson always lists another author with him for these books).  Like most young adult fiction these days there is an evil totalitarian regime and kids are the great hope for stomping them out.  In this series it is a brother and sister team and the chapters alternate between them (Whit and Wisty Allgood).  I do like the series, it's O.K., but only O.K., it is definitely not one for the ages.  I sincerely hope they do not make them into films for several reasons: (1) since we are reading them all we might be forced into watching them, (2) books are always better than the movies, and (3) the fact we do not need one more young adult series poorly translated into films.  We have had quite enough of those lately, thank you very much.

My first  issue with this series is the writing style not switching between the narrators.  They have the exact same voice.  Despite writing things like "then my sister gave me a look," I still cannot tell them apart.  I more often than not have to keep flipping back to the first page of a chapter to remember who is supposed to be narrating it.  I have read many books that have more than one narrator, some that do so well and others that fail, and while I do not think the series completely fails at it, it comes pretty close, D- close.  There is little to no difference between the voice of the two characters, although I will say that I do believe Wisty is written better, they should have stuck to one voice and made it hers.

My second issue is the shortness of the chapters.  It is young adult fiction, surely if these kids can read thousands of pages from Tolkien, Harry PotterThe Hunger Games, Divergent, and so on, then they can surely read chapters that are longer than three to ten pages, no?  Why must there be one-hundred chapters?  Usually an author makes another chapter for some sort of reason or purpose, and here you might think it is because the author/s are switching voices, but that is usually not the case: Wisty will have a two-page chapter and then the next chapter is three pages and it is still her, at the same time, at the same place, and still in the midst of the same events.  Totally not necessary to switch to another chapter, it is annoying.

Out of all of them the third installment is the best, but I was disappointed by the ending.  You have a tremendous amount of action, description, and culminating events, then the main thing just "poof!" happens in less than a paragraph.  Not sure what they were thinking there.  I will list the titles and dates released below, the fifth is due out next month (December 2014).

1. Witch & Wizard (2009)
2. The Gift (2010)
3. The Fire (2011)
4. The Kiss (2013)
5. The Lost Ones (Dec. 15th, 2014)

And so it goes...

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