This book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while, which means I wasn’t sure about it. I did see it on some top fantasy series list, but I’m ever sceptical – especially when it comes to fantasy. So I let it marinate for a while.
I am currently working on a fantasy novel about a witch, so I thought I would give this a try. However, when it arrived, I was in the middle of reading To Kill a Mockingbird, which I was enjoying and intended to review today (well, ahem, yesterday actually), so I just put it on the to-read pile.
Then, at a family party, my sister told me about this amazing thriller she’d just read by James Patterson. I was like: “James Patterson? Where have I seen that name?”. Don’t ask me how I could ignore the existence of such a famous writer, I just did. Back at home, I checked the novel I’d just bought and saw the name written in golden letters, above the co-author’s name, Gabrielle Charbonnet.
So I picked it up. I thought I’d read just the first chapter. I ended up ditching To Kill a Mockingbird and binge-read Witch & Wizard. This is possibly the best fantasy novel I’ve read since finishing the Harry Potter series. It was worth posting the March review late.
The chapters are very short: like two or three pages. If you’ve been following me carefully, you might know that I prefer long chapters. However, these were so ridiculously short that I ended up completely ignoring chapter changes, just like I do page changes, which made me read super quickly like I do chapter-less books.
The story is gripping from start to finish. It is action-packed, and unlike in (most) blockbusters, the story doesn’t suffer from it – quite the opposite. Sometimes, in slower books, I feel like the authors had only a short story to tell but desperately added stuff until it was novel-length. Literary dilution of sorts. Witch & Wizard is 100% pure story, not made from concentrate.
I liked the main characters a lot and found them believable and endearing. The villains, on the other hand, I didn’t find too believable. However, neither did the main characters. And if I judge by the awards James Patterson received… I’m guessing something will come up in the next volumes to explain why “regular humans” would act like psychopaths.
I loved that the narration was split between Wisty’s and Whit’s point of view. I identified a lot with Wisty, despite her being a lot different from myself. Not so much with Whit, but he felt real nonetheless. Also, something that happens too rarely: each had their own recognizable voice, like they were really written by a different person. Yet, it was also “homogenized”, so that neither looked like a better storyteller than the other. Awesome work, really.
You can bet the next volume in the series won’t even spend a minute on my wishlist – it’s going straight to my cart! Interesting fact: each book in the series is co-authored with a different writer.
Rating: 9.5/10, give or take .5 depending on the rest of the series.
Who would I recommend this to? Everyone. Really. I don’t guarantee you’ll like it, but it certainly is worth reading.
For the second time in two months, a book made me discouraged at my own level as a writer. I was ready to give up writing. Of course, giving up writing is a thing I cannot do because I need it too much, but you get the idea.
It sure didn’t help that the dystopian world resembled my own dystopian world in my most favourite, most precious original story, except 100 times better in terms of world-building. It was like: “Here! Compare your amateur drawing with one by an experienced pro. The same thing is pictured, but the results are completely different so you can clearly see just how much you suck.”
When I finished the book, however, I was as motivated as ever. I’m 29. If everything goes well, I should have at least another 40 years on this planet. I can learn. I will learn. James Patterson even has an online course in which he teaches his craft. I might sign up for it when I have the funds.
I will probably never get to the level I aim for. But like they say: “Aim for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”