Title: Witch & Wizard

Author: James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet

Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Young Adult

Publisher: Little, Brown (US)
Publication Date: December 2009
Hardcover: 320 Pages

Stand alone or series: Book 1 in an ongoing series

How did I get this book: ARC from the publisher

Why did I read this book: I’ve actually never read a James Patterson novel, for all his bestsellers and apparent domination of the thriller genre, so when we received an ARC of Witch & Wizard, I have to admit I was very curious. I hadn’t read a good thriller in a while, and the synopsis of Witch & Wizard sounded delightfully fun…

Summary: (from amazon.com)
The world is changing: the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now, kids are disappearing. For 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside down when they are torn from their parents one night and slammed into a secret prison for no reason they can comprehend. The New Order, as it is known, is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager. But while trapped in this totalitarian nightmare, Wisty and Whit discover they have incredible powers they’d never dreamed of. Can this newly minted witch and wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents–and maybe the world?

Review:

By Order of the New Order.
and the Great Wind – The One Who Is
THE ONE -
let it be known that as of
NOW. THIS MOMENT. or
TWELVE O’CLOCK MIDNIGHT.
whichever shall arrive first, following the
SWIFT TRIUMPH of the ORDER of the
ONES WHO PROTECT, who have obliterated the
BLIND AND DUMB FORCES of passivity and
complacency PLAGUING this world,
ALL CITIZENS must, shall and will abide by

THESE THREE ORDERS FOR ORDER:

1. All behaviors NOT in keeping with N.O. law, logic, order, and science (including but not limited to theology, philosophy, and IN PARTICULAR the creative and dark arts, et cetera) are hereby ABOLISHED.
2. ALL persons under eighteen years of age will be evaluated for ORDERLINESS and MUST COMPLY with the prescribed corrective actions.
3. The One Who Is THE ONE grants, appoints, decides, siezes, and executes at will. All NOT complying shall be SEIZED and/or EXECUTED.

- As declared to The One Who Writes Decrees
by THE ONE WHO IS THE ONE

N.O. The New Order has seized control of the country, and no one is safe – especially not Wisty Allgood and her older brother Whit. One night, N.O. goons march down the Allgood’s street and force their way into their home, apprehending the Allgood children on account that they are a Witch and Wizard. Whit and Wisty are enraged and terrified – there are no such things as witches or wizards, after all, so why should they go along with these horrible soldiers? Overpowered and with their parents’ safety threatened, the two teens have no choice but to be taken into custody…but soon they realize how hopeless their situation is. Without a proper trial, without due process, Whit and Wisty are convicted as GUILTY by The One Who Judges, and are thrown into a maximum security prison (that is actually a mental institution) with “power dampening” spells to stop the teens from using their magical abilities.

But then, they actually discover that they DO have magical powers. Wisty is able to transform objects, people and animals, and when enraged bursts into flame. Whit is incredibly fast and strong, impervious to weapons like stun guns. Together, the brother and sister must figure out a way to escape their prison, and to bring to fruition a prophecy – a certain prophecy that foretells their rise to power and make right the wrongs of the world.

From a purely theoretical standpoint, the actual story for Witch & Wizard is freakin’ fantastic. The absurdity of the New Order (so poetically reduced to the word “N.O.” on flags and insignias) is pure gold, and the concept of an all-powerful dictator on a determined witch hunt is social satire at its best. The concept of two very powerful siblings, oblivious to their significance to the world as protagonists is also solid gold, and could have made for some fascinating character development.

But…

But, unfortunately, as wonderful as all these concepts seem, they wre never brought to life on the page. There is no soul to this book – it’s written in an entirely simplistic manner with absolutely no skill or subtlety. The entire book, told from alternating viewpoints of Whit and Wisty, is written in episodic, extremely brief 1-2 page chapters. The overall impression I was left with was that Witch & Wizard read like a really bad made-for-tv movie; the ridiculously short chapters equivalent to reading ADD. Heck, in one of the later chapters, Wisty actually gives a bullet point recap of the novel so far. Seriously.

In addition to the simplistic writing, there also was a sad lack in terms of character development (beyond the fact that Wisty is the smart-alec younger sister to Whit’s golden boy/hunk persona). This is probably due to the fact that the chapters were so very short, and entirely focused on the next chase scene. The plotseed of strain between the siblings’ relationship evaporates almost as soon as it is mentioned, and you can forget about any deep, soul-searching thoughts about their newly developed powers or any questioning of the New Order world they live in. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed.

Overall, Witch & Wizard had a great core concept and an intriguing potential for plot and character development. A Great Idea, but really shoddy execution. Top the bad writing with a really crappy, sell-out of a cliffhanger, and you’ve got some frustrated readers on your hands. Perhaps I’ll give Mr. Patterson’s Maximum Ride books a try, but Witch & Wizard disappointed me on so many levels. I’ll give book 2 a read, but there’s a lot of ground that has to be made up to win me over.

Notable Quotes/Parts: The Prologue…

YOU’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE

Wisty

IT’S OVERWHELMING. A city’s worth of angry faces staring at me like I’m a wicked criminal—which, I promise you, I’m not. The stadium is filled to capacity—past capacity. People are standing in the aisles, the stairwells, on the concrete ramparts, and a few extra thousand are camped out on the playing field. There are no football teams here today. They wouldn’t be able to get out of the locker-room tunnels if they tried.

This total abomination is being broadcast on TV and the Internet too. All the useless magazines are here, and the useless newspapers. Yep, I see cameramen in elevated roosts at intervals around the stadium.

There’s even one of those remote-controlled cameras that runs around on wires above the field. There it is—hovering just in front of the stage, bobbing slightly in the breeze.

So there are undoubtedly millions more eyes watching than I can see. But it’s the ones here in the stadium that are breaking my heart. To be confronted with tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of curious, uncaring, or at least indifferent, faces…talk about frightening.

And there are no moist eyes, never mind tears.

No words of protest.

No stomping feet.

No fists raised in solidarity.

No inkling that anybody’s even thinking of surging forward, breaking through the security cordon, and carrying my family to safety.

Clearly, this is not a good day for us Allgoods.

In fact, as the countdown ticker flashes on the giant video screens at either end of the stadium, it’s looking like this will be our last day.

It’s a point driven home by the very tall, bald man up in the tower they’ve erected midfield—he looks like a cross between a Supreme Court chief justice and Ming the Merciless. I know who he is. I’ve actually met him. He’s The One Who Is The One.

Directly behind his Oneness is a huge N.O. banner—

THE NEW ORDER.

And then the crowd begins to chant, almost sing, “The One Who Is The One! The One Who Is The One!”

Imperiously, The One raises his hand, and his hooded lackeys on the stage push us forward, at least as far as the ropes around our necks will allow.

I see my brother, Whit, handsome and brave, looking

down at the platform mechanism. Calculating if there’s any way to jam it, some means of keeping it from unlatching and dropping us to our neck-snapping deaths. Wondering if there’s a last-minute way out of this.

See my mother crying quietly. Not for herself, of course, but for Whit and me.

I see my father, his tall frame stooped with resignation, smiling at me and my brother—trying to keep our spirits up, reminding us that there’s no point in being miserable in our last moments on this planet.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m supposed to be providing an introduction here, not the details of our public execution.

So let’s go back a bit….

You can read more excerpts from Witch & Wizard online HERE.

Additional Thoughts: If you’re looking for a simliar series about two young protagonists fighting a totalitarian nightmare of a government, I *highly* recommend you check out Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series.

Thought-provoking, intelligently written, and with enough depth to satiate even the oldest, most seasoned readers, His Dark Materials is amazing. Start with The Golden Compass (UK Title: Northern Lights), then go on to The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. If you’ve seen the movie adaptation and are (understandably) hesitant, please do not be! The movie was NOTHING compared to the book’s greatness; it was a mere paramecium to the book’s complexity.

Verdict: Excellent idea marred by truly horrendous execution. Witch & Wizard is all action with no soul – a skelleton of plot with no muscle, sinew or flesh to cover it. Perhaps dedicated James Patterson fans will enjoy this book, but it was a disappointment for me.

Rating: 5 – Meh

Reading Next: A Rush of Wings & In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix

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71 Responses to Book Review: Witch & Wizard by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet

  1. Listening to James Patterson this year at the National Book Festival talk about his folder of great ideas, but no time to write them all was fascinating…which is where the co-writers come in (who do most of the writing) — and unfortunately, it shows. This Gabrielle writer is horrible and should not be published…but she’s riding on the coattails of Patterson. It disturbs me. I think Patterson is a better writer on his own, but since his own admission that the cowriter does most of the writing for these books, can you really say they are his?

  2. Holly says:

    I recently flipped through this book myself at the bookstore. Before buying, I looked at reviews on amazon, which pretty much said the same thing as your review. Good idea, but a bit of a let down.

  3. Adrienne says:

    don’t bother reading Maximum Ride, that also poorly written as well. Not sure what happen to Mr. Patterson, his first few Alex Cross books were excellent-but the rest are terrible and I hate to say that about any author that is published and well known. The chapters are short-to short, we don’t learn anything about the characters-and you are 100% correct, it is one chase scene, end chapter, on to the next scene-oh now, we are being followed, run! End chapter :?

  4. Danielle says:

    I agree with you. It was one of those books I seriously could not bring myself to review for fear of sending the author into a sobbing pubble in a corner somewhere. Try Maximum Ride, though. At least the first three. Anything after that is equally crappy as Witch and Wizard, but the first ones are just good fun.

  5. NatalieT says:

    I’ve tried reading James Patterson but I find his writing so simplistic and ordinary; it does nothing for me at all.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree that having another author write his book is just bad. One can never trust another person to do a job well, when you know you can do the job better yourself. but also, I think James patterson is an up and down writer. sometimes his books hit their mark, and sometimes (witch and wizard, the last couple maximum ride books etc.) are just sort of a waste of a good plot. sort of like the twilight series. good plot but rather poorly written

  7. Morgan says:

    I loved the idea and the story was great. I have no reason to believe that this book had no content is was amazing :-)

  8. Melissa says:

    I suffered through this book…I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who wasn’t too fond of it!

  9. Anonymous says:

    i have to disagree. i thought this book was fabulous. Patterson kept me turning the pages as if i couldn’t stop. if you did not like it you should have stopped reading it, but thats just a personal opinion.

  10. Kelly says:

    Great Book!

  11. Jennifer says:

    It was okay

  12. Jennifer says:

    It was entertaining but seems like alot of details were left out. I liked the book but I agree with everyone that it had alot lacking. If they took more time and imagination in writing it would have been a fantastic read. I would like to read the next book in the series when it comes. :D

  13. Paige says:

    Ok i just read this book and it was a bit confusing in some parts like the whole Garfunkel’s thing. i was too rushed into it and it made the whole story so hard to follow after that. im 12 so i loved the 1 to 2 page chapters i thought that was brilliant. it was a little plain but it had a storyline filled with heart. :mrgreen:

  14. Sarah says:

    :oops: im right in the middle of the book witch and wizard its good . i love pattersons writting

  15. taylor says:

    great book :wink: :D :D :D :D

  16. Anonymous says:

    I love this book

  17. Master Ansam says:

    :D ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS THAT IVE EVER READ THRILLING AND FUN…. RECOMMEND IT. 8)

  18. Anonymous says:

    I loved this book! it was a great eye catcher and the story plot and climax’ and conflicts between the people were just pure genius! i just really liked this book alot!
    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ITTT!!!!
    :D

  19. Elena says:

    wow!!! i loved this book so much!! it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time! I wished it never ended! :-) :D

  20. matt says:

    I really liked this book, its not as bad as many of you make it sound and his maximum ride series was great! i read them in 8th grade! and that’s how i became a James Patterson fan! i know many ppl dislike him and even Stephen kings (which btw sucks with his stupid horror and religious movies/books, i really dislike his work) anyways i cant wait for the second book of W&W!! :D

  21. Grim says:

    Wonder what James Patterson groupie forum linked to this so the fangirls could flock over in defense of this dreck? Or do you think it’s one person posting under multiple pseudonyms?

    This was bad even for James Patterson. As I’ve only been exposed to his YA books, I can only assume this is a terrible writer.

  22. me says:

    Whoever doesn’t like this book obviously doesn’t know what a good book is. It’s written differently than usual and thats one of the this i absolutely LOVE about this book :D :D :wink:

  23. Anonymous says:

    :twisted: :evil: :evil: :twisted: :roll: :wink: :!: :?: :idea: :arrow: :idea: :| :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :P :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: This was a good book it was one of the best bboks I’ve re:D :-) :( :o 8O :? 8) :lol: :x ad

  24. Anonymous says:

    This was one of the best books I’ve read I can’t wait for the next book! :D :-) :( :o 8O :? 8) :lol: :x :P :oops: :cry: :evil: :twisted: :roll: :wink: :!: :?: :idea: :arrow: :| :mrgreen:

  25. Anonymous says:

    Awesum book

  26. [...] or two stars. You want to see what I’m talking about? Read the first 20 chapters free online. The Book Smugglers also gave a review of it, and I was thrilled that the recommended The Golden Compass to readers who [...]

  27. Haze says:

    Absolutely loved the book! Patterson kept me turning the pages, I just couldn’t stop, even when I was reading well into the night. I can’t wait until the sequel comes out! :D :-) 8) :lol: :P :wink: :mrgreen:

  28. Anonymous says:

    this book is ment for the world today. the very busy world that we live in. i loved this book because of its short chapters. i could pick it up and put it down just as quick and have a new adrenaline rush and cant wait for more but not leave it feeling afraid that i might loose the concept. this book was very uniquely and brilliantly written.

  29. Anonymous says:

    This book was amazing and its amazing some dont like it

  30. Anonymous says:

    excuse me but, these are teen books not adults

  31. fatma gdoura says:

    I dont get it at all and I need to wite a 5 page essay on it.
    1the chapters were too short
    2 doesnt make sense
    3 not described well/ poor charechterazation
    4 its plot was terrible
    showed that he is failing in his writing
    :? :o

  32. Noelle says:

    :roll: this book is a little overrated- but i did like it. :roll:

  33. katie says:

    When i read the 1st book, i loved it and finshed it in one whole day, and i have been waitng for the 2nd to come out and i have forgotten the prophcey of the the 1st book! :oops:

    And now that the 2nd book has came out (im reading it, right now) it keeps mentioning the prophcey! and i dont remmber it!!

  34. Kate Coombs says:

    I read about a chapter and a half of the first Daniel X book and felt the same way–the writing was really bad AND I just felt like the whole thing was about making money. Maybe they should just skip straight to the movie! I mean, the premise of this one sounds great, but I can’t bring myself to read any more of his stuff after my experience with Daniel X. Sounds like Patterson needs to protect his name by expecting more from his co-writers.

  35. Anonymous says:

    i think the idea was good but the actual book was lacking something but wasnt terrible. the end of it though was amazingly bad over all it was oay

  36. Anonymous says:

    it was fucking bad

  37. Anonymous says:

    ur crazy it was good

  38. Lindsey says:

    I just finished this book. Completely agree with your review; I felt it was lacking. Maybe I’ll check out “His Dark Materials Series”.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I personly liked this book the first time i read it, it kept me on the edge of my seat and encouraged me to read it again. but after reading it again i relised that it does in fact only say really one thing to describe whit and whisty. whit basicly is a jock and a normal brother and likes a girl. whisty is a normal teenager (besides being a witch) rebellious. but like a comment before this is a book made for teenagers not aduts

  40. WHATS THE QUESTION says:

    It was an amazing book if your looking for a thrilling fantasy book that makes you wonder what will happen next

  41. awesomesauce13 says:

    I totally have to disagree with you… This is one of the best books i’ve ever read. James Patterson is my favorite author!! :) If you didnt like it from the beginning then why did you read the whole thing? you dont have to be mean about it just because you didnt like it. :( Everyone likes different things about different books. No ones the exactly the same, not even twins. im just saying. Sorry if I sounded rude before but it makes me mad that some people are so rude.

  42. Jules says:

    This book is fantastic! James Patterson deserves to be author of the year. He has truly changed the way we read. I absolutely love his books and I’m inspired to write my own books also.

  43. Anonymous says:

    This book was amazing, if you didnt like it. Go tell someone who cares.

  44. Skylar says:

    I am a teen and love the series, adults arr not the target of this series, ergo your views are not applicable to the circumstances of this book!!!

  45. Skylar says:

    I agree with anonymous so, eat it!!! :evil:

  46. Anonymous says:

    8O i loved this book i don’t know what your problem is

  47. Gabe DeOliveira says:

    I Love This Book and for all the websites giving it bad rep u dont no what u are talking about it is not made for :D adults but for young teens like me.

  48. your mom says:

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :mrgreen: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :roll: aaaaaaaaaaaaaa :roll: aa :roll: aaa :roll: aaa :roll: aa :wink: a :wink: aa :wink: aa :!: aaaaaa :?: aa :idea: aaa :arrow: aaa :arrow: aaa :idea: aaa :!: a :!: aaa

  49. Skenz says:

    :mrgreen: :| :arrow: :idea: :?: :!: :wink: :roll: :twisted: :evil: :cry: :oops: :x :lol: :P 8) :? 8O :o :( :-) :D kool symbols and these books were and still are the best

  50. Anonymous says:

    I agree, this book was good, but not that good. Nothing popped out as amazing.

  51. your face says:

    this book is awesome! :D :mrgreen: 8) :wink:

  52. nobody says:

    i need to read this book agian :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :lol: 8) :lol: 8) :P

  53. Alicia Tengwall says:

    I’m reading your reviews and comments. My son is reading this book for a big report. He’s in 8th grade and I have not been reading the book but I’m looking for something online I can ready giving more details so I cam ask him questions on what he’s reading.

    Thanks

  54. Me says:

    I am 31 year old ADULT an I love this book too. I think the critic here doesn’t realize that this book was written for young readers and also written in an almost journal form… I don’t think this book was ever meant to be one of Americas great novels…come on…all in all I think it was an awesomely entertaining read…will definitely read the next one and the one after that too….yay for J. Patterson!!

  55. Hawkstorm L. says:

    Please forgive me for this, but I must say that sei un asino incredibilmente imbecille per aver detto una cosa del genere. That last part is in Italian if you wish to look it up. Like evryone who has commented keeps saying, this book was targeted mostly at teens so I would like to ask you to change your perspective on this book. Thank you.

  56. Hairy Dude says:

    YALL CAN GO SUCK AN EGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. your mom says:

    i need help with my oral book review!!!!!!!!! 1. briefly describe conflicts or issues 2. thesis statement ( oner all message the characters learned) 3.events that happen throuout the story that prove how the character learned what he/sh learned or that support the moral. several keys events that occur during the story……….. PLEASE ANYTHING HELPS MY BOOK ORAL BOOK EVIEW IS DUE MONDAY AND TODAY IS SATURDAY!!!!!! P.S I KNOW THERE ARE SPEELING IS BAD BUT I AM IN A HURRY!!!!! PP.S IM DOING MY REPORT ON THE WITCH AND WIZARD

  58. so i have to agree with the main review, great plot, potential characters, but overall kinda sad. and while i see that this type of genre is in right now for young teens (ok little 12 year old tweens) i don’t see this as well written. its trying to mash a journal in with a first person typical novel yet its also trying to rush at points and the outcome is blah. i know some people who like this book but honestly and un bias their writing reflects this, rushed despite it looking like the author had trouble filling in non action parts. (hows that even possibly?) Because of this the characters had no depth (with names wisteria and whit? cant take it seriously) and if the main character isn’t interesting the book isn’t interesting. its great that some like the series, no need to get mad at people like me, but overall this was a let down and left me searching for watership down to regain any good reading i lost in that “book”

  59. Annabeth Chase says:

    you are not a very good judge on books this book is amazing. It has humor and adventure. Wisty is sarcastic in the face of death. And Whit is an amazing brother. I suggest you get your eyes examined so you can see the words and understand how epic this book is.

  60. THE FWFDS says:

    THIS BOOK IS BS BS BS BS BShttp://thebooksmugglers.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_rolleyes.gif

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