Title: Witch & Wizard
Author: James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
Format: Paperback (available in tons of other formats too, including e-book)
My aunt gave me Witch and Wizard as a Christmas gift because she knows about my obsessive love for the Hunger Games trilogy and had heard that Witch and Wizard was going to be “this year’s Hunger Games”. Unfortunately, this is just not the case. Witch and Wizard doesn’t measure up to Hunger Games, nor to my standard for…well…anything.
Half of the problem with this book is that it’s got too much going on, the other half of the problem is that this book doesn’t have enough going on. I would expect a popular and prolific author like James Patterson to understand what goes into a successful “first in the series” book. Instead of creating an interesting world populated with fleshed-out characters, Patterson gives us cardboard-cutout style people and places. Then he surrounds them with cheap and flashy special effects and expects readers to be distracted from the clunky writing, the bland characters he seems to have pulled out of a bin of mannequins, and the plot that jumps around so much that goes past ridiculous and into annoying.
For me, worldbuilding is the one thing that makes or breaks a fantasy novel. In Witch and Wizard, it’s practically nonexistent. Patterson picks up threads and drops them before the reader can even figure out if something is important to remember. You can’t tell if there are plot holes because rules and laws are not clearly defined, and even in a state of suspended disbelief I found some of the plot twists to be improbable and forced. It is as though the author thinks that fantasy readers are willing to forgo consistency simply because they are willing to forgo reality. And THAT is extremely condescending.
I will give James one thing though, the sonofabitch knows how to write something addictive. I may not have been drawn in by the writing, the characters, or the plot, but I still want to read the second book! I think its a morbid fascination in whether it will redeem the series or if it will continue the same…blahness…evident in the first book. If it does, I’m writing the whole thing off, but there are seeds of promise here that might develop into something palatable.
Worst of all, it’s going to be a movie. I have a sinking feeling that Witch and Wizard is going to be the next Twilight. Get ready to hear about it for a long, long time.
Rating: 1.5/5, there’s hope, but not much.