Saturday, February 15, 2014

Witch & Wizard, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet. Witch & Wizard. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009. 305 pages. ISBN 9780316074810.

Witch & Wizard is the first book in a series by prolific author James Patterson. Four have been published so far; in addition to this one there are Witch & Wizard: The Gift, Witch & Wizard: The Fire, and Witch & Wizard: The Kiss. Coming out in 2014 is Witch & Wizard: The Lost. This series continues Mr. Patterson's practice of co-authoring books with lesser known authors, allowing him to, for example, "write" and publish 13 books in 2013.

The book begins dramatically with one of the two main characters, Wisty (short for Wisteria), describing how she and her family came to be at the point of execution by the New Order (N.O.), the ruling government. Wisty and her brother Whit have been identified as the witch and wizard of the title. The N.O. has been rounding up everyone with special powers, putting them in jail, and conducting mass executions. Wisty breaks the narrative to tell us how they came to be in this predicament, leading the reader through their arrest, imprisonment, and breakout. They joined the "resistance", made up of teenagers like themselves, all the while looking for their parents, who were arrested as well.

Witch & Wizard is fast-paced and humorous. Although the themes of arrest, imprisonment, and execution are mature, the book is aimed at the middle school reader. I received an advance reading copy of this book at a BEA convention several years ago, and just now got around to reading it. I was looking for something light, and this book definitely fit the bill. It's entertaining and fun, and it's a quick read, but I wouldn't go so far as to recommend it to any of my friends who also like YA and children's literature.

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