Friday, February 20, 2009

Wicked - Witch by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

First published in 2002.

Holly Cathers's world shattered when her parents are killed in a terrible accident. Wrenched from her home in San Francisci, she is sent to Seattle to live with her relatives, Aunt Marie-Claire and her twin cousins, Amanda and Nicole.

In her new home, Holly's sorrow and grief soon give way to bewilderment at the strange incidents going on around her. Such as how any wish she whispers to her cat seems to come true. Or the way a friend is injured after a freak attack from a vicious falcon. And there's the undeniable, magnetic attraction to a boy Holly barely knows.

Holly, Amanda, and Nicole are about to be launched into a dark legacy of witches, secrets, and alliances, where ancient m
agics yield dangerous results. The girls will assume their roles in an intergenerational feud beyond their wildest imagination . . . and in doing so, will attempt to fulfill their shared destiny. (book back blurb)

You know, I really don’t have any complaints about this book. It’s well-written, cohesive and the characters are relatable. I had a little trouble in the beginning trying to get used to the flipping of time periods but it’s something you get used to over the course of the book.

In terms of style, that was my biggest gripe. It’s a little much in the beginning of the book to be tossed about like that, mixed in with info-dumping in order to get the backstory of the witches and warlocks in. Considering that information was trickled throughout the book, I don’t think it was necessary to have it dumped on the reader all at once in the beginning.

And like I said, there were a lot of flashbacks. The only indication you’d get one is a triple space in the paragraphs. Jarring at first, maybe the first chapter or so but by the end of the second and into the third, I’d pretty much settled into the constant shifting and even came to like it. In all honestly, I was much more interested in the historical plot line than the current one.

What I like about it is it’s a dark book that isn’t filled with floofy Gossip Girls-type stuff. Nicole is probably the closest the book comes to that but even she levels out. It’s a little gritter than other like fantasy fare in my eyes (which are still kind of limited so take that with a grain of salt). Holly (the protagonist) loses her parents and best friend in a freak white water rafting accident. She was originally supposed to live with her dead friend’s mother but then she gets sick, hospitalized, and Holly has to stay with family in Seattle. Little does she know that her bloodline and that of her aunt’s lover have had a tendency to clash over the centuries and each want the other dead. Unfortunately only the lover, who’s an evil warlock, knows this. Until Holly and Amanda, and eventually Nicole, figure it out.

Aside from the use of the world warlock (which I can’t stand), it’s not as cheesy as it sounds. Not at all. I found it entertaining and a pretty fast read but aside from that, it really just wasn’t my thing. I kept aligning it with the likes of Charmed with all the fireballs and sisterly witchcraft and warlockiness and all of that. I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of Charmed but stuff like that just isn’t my thing. And neither is this book. It’s not that I didn’t like it, it’s just not something I’d read any more than once.

What bothered me though was really nothing to do with the story itself but the apology the authors make to the real witches that they garnered their research from. Why do they apologize? Because they found out through their research that the smoke and mirrors magic that exists in the book they wrote doesn’t actually exist (or they knew that all long and just decided to use it anyway regardless). It’s all a Hollywood manifestation that took the root of its work and twisted it to make it more interesting.

The thing is, I don’t think such showmanship is needed to make the story interesting. Why rely so heavily on people’s stereotypes of witches and magic in order to keep them entertained and interested when that’s not how it is and just as interesting of a story can be had from the real stuff? I was kind of put off by that. That the only way they could make the information they found interesting to young readers was to put glitter on it and make it shine. They obviously did their research but if they’d really done enough, they’d know that just such a story could exist without such fallacious mutations of the lore.

Hollywood witchcraft doesn’t do it for me to begin with so even without that teeny little introductory paragraph, I wouldn’t have been head over heels enthused about it anyway. But I think that little snippet pushed me over the edge because every time a piece of showboating magic came along, I couldn’t help but think ‘why? You now the truth and you know it can be scarier than these light shows. So why are you doing this?’

I don’t know. Maybe I’m a purist or fireworks just don’t impress me much. Or both. I thought it would have been a good book without the nonsensical stuff. With it in, I think it cheapened the story and could even be seen as insulting to think that this is what teens would rather read than the “real” stuff. Not all of them go ‘ooo, pretty lights!” and gawk. But despite it all, I can definitely see the appeal. If you're into Charmed or The Craft, you'll enjoy this book despite the showy magic it has. It is entertaining but th eonly reason I'll have a review for the second book in the series is because it's a two-in-one book.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog designed by TwispiredBlogdesign using MK Design's TeaTime kit.