Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Life's a Witch by Brittany Geragotelis

Rating: WARTY!

This one sounded interesting, and the author's name sounded amazingly interesting, but it (the novel not the name!) rather quickly proved to be unimaginative. Indeed, it felt most like a rip-off of early Harry Potter, inexplicably aimed at YA readership. Weird! I guess the author thinks her audience is deficient in reading skills or something. The witches were in school - seventeen or younger - and part of a coven which their parents ran. When the parents were wiped out by a group of evil witches, the kids go on the run. Their leader, Hadley (no I didn't make that up, although I can't vouch for the spelling being spot-on), is supposed to be the special snowflake Harry Potter-style liberator, but in actual fact she comes off as a spoiled, privileged brat who is irresponsible and clueless. That was how she was in the first three-eighths of this novel, after which I gave up.

There's nothing new here at all (including, boringly, that this is book one of the inevitable series, because why come up with something original each time you write when you can keep spewing out the same tired old stuff every time, with a minor tweak or two and call it a new volume?). There are direct rip-offs from TV series like Charmed (speaking spells in Hallmark-style rhyming English and using antiquated words like 'thou', and also from Harry Potter, where two words in Latin and a swish of a wand or the fingers can deliver an immoblizing spell. The evil witches are exactly like the ones in Harry Potter: attacking by tossing out minor injuries and jinxes instead of delivering a death-blow. Another rip-off from Potter: the house that can only be visited by people who already know where it is.

It's told in worst person voice which is almost an automatic fail for me these days, and the woman who read this (Joy Osmanski), didn't sound too bad to begin with but after a while her delivery really began to irritate, I'm sorry to report. Even had it not, I would still have been put off by the amateur, fan-fic level of the writing. It was all tell and no show, and was especially no-show in the inventiveness department. Witches in covens? Thoroughly evil villains who do't do anything transcendingly evil except bully the kids? The prima donna descended from one of the Salem Witches? Spells are aimed and sometimes miss? Despite having enormous magic power, all the characters typically do everything in exactly the way we non-magical people do it? When someone gets injured, not a single person knows a single thing about magically stopping bleeding or healing bruises? Seriously? That's probably a good thing because this author would probably think you 'staunch' bleeding, not stanch it!

I almost quit reading this after the prologue - which I normally wouldn't read anyway, but it's hard to know what you're getting into in a audio book. Rest assured it confirmed what I've said all along: prologues, introductions, prefaces, and forewords are a waste of time. And can we not find an author who is imaginative enough to get away from that appalling abuse of women in Salem and come up with something new for once? And what about the un-original idea that a table (or some other such object) can block a magic spell? if that's the case, how come all the witches are not wearing some sort of body armor to prevent themselves being hit by spells? See what I mean? It's thoroughly unimaginative, and I can't recommend it.