Witch & Wizard. James Patterson with Gabrielle Charbonnet
I've read other books by James Patterson, particularly his Maximum Ride series. I've read every one of the Max Ride books and I'm always pleased when I stumble upon a new one in the book store. That being said I can say unequivocally: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. Witch and Wizard is an awful book, one of the worst I have ever read, and I read a lot.
I came across this book as a sneak peak to the sequel, The Gift, in the back of another book. I was intrigued, it seemed different and interesting, and the chapter stopped right at a moment that makes you want to read more. When I went online to check it out, I found it was the second book in a series which I bought for my Kindle without reservation.
When I sat down to read it I was disappointed. Very, very disappointed. I persevered for a few chapters and got about half way through the book before I gave up in disgust. There are many things wrong with this book, but the plot flaws and the indistinct characterisation were the most discouraging.
Firstly the characterisation. There is no distinction between the different characters: they don't have their own voice or way of operating, and their reactions to the events of the story are wholly unrealistic. Plus there are the stupid names given to several characters, especially one of the protagonists, Wisteria, more commonly known as 'Wisty'. Now Wisteria is a cool unusual name that the right character could embrace but Wisty sounds like a nickname an older brother would tease his sister with. It is also hard to take an evil organisation seriously when their leader is called 'The One Who Is the One'. The defiant and rude attitude of the main protagonists, the Allgood siblings, didn't make any sense. In the Max Ride books this is a signature of the flock, but it makes sense because they have always been on the run from evil scientists and were basically raised on the streets, so their spunky mistrust for authority figures makes sense. It doesn't for the well brought up, suburban middle class Allgoods who have never had any contact with the police.
The plot flaws are also really frustrating, it just doesn't make sense. The evil government: New Order, snatch the Allgoods from their home in the middle of the night, throw them in jail but let each kid take one possession from their home. Why would an evil government, who have re-written the laws let their prisoners take keepsakes or potential weapons. They've just arrested the pair for witchcraft but let them take a blank book and a drumstick with them into prison. When in prison the pair are also allowed to stay in the same cell rather than being separated. All of this just points to sloppy story telling. A little bit of creativity would have done wonders for this book.
I know this sounds a bit like a rant (which admittedly it is), but that's only because I liked his previous works and was really disappointed to find something so amateurish. I absolutely would not recommend this book, even if you're a fan of Patterson's work, it is predictable, poorly written and very flawed. It feels more like a first draft than a published book, and should not be read by any one.