Youtube Video: Serial Sunday #1: Witch and Wizard
Book Series: Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
James Patterson is one of the most well known authors, right up there with JK Rowling and Stephen King. He has written over 147 books, but most of them are catered more towards adults and are murder mysteries. But he has his feet in the YA market too. One of his popular series is the Witch and Wizard series. Taking a step away from his usual murder stories, he focuses more on the fantasy genre with these books. Specifically, the magic side of fantasy.
In these books, he creates the world ruled by the New Order or N.O., a totalitarian government. N.O. is against most things, like books, movies, music, tv, art, children, but mostly magic. To them, anyone with magic is a freak and extremely dangerous. But not everyone is aware of N.O.’s anti magic policy. Or that magic is even real. Those people include Wisteria (Wisty) and Whitford (Whit) Allgood. Such terrible names I know. Pretty much nothing in their life is all good though. On a typical night, their house is broken into by soldiers from the New Order. And they’re claiming that Whit and Wisty are a witch and a wizard and that they are to be arrested, which seems pretty absurd to them. But their parents aren’t so quick to decided that it’s crazy. Instead they comply with the officers and give their children each one item to take with them: an old drumstick for Wisty and an empty journal for Whit. They think these are terrible gifts to bring to prison because, well they are.
Just when their night couldn’t get any weirder, a classmate of Wisty’s named Byron, and he’s apparently working with the New Order. And this triggers something in Wisty and poof! She’s suddenly on fire. Which isn’t helping their case. SO then they’re transported to prison, leaving their parents behind. They spend the rest of their night in prison. In a prison full of nothing but kids. The next day they’re rushed to their unfair trial with their supremely subpar lawyer, and pretty much of no chance of fighting the accusation. Especially when Whit summons a swarm of locust. They end up pretty much screwed after that.
So now they get to spend their time in a glorified mental hospital with a lovely woman called the Matron, who loving puts them through grueling trials each day. They go through various tests to learn everything about their magic, and more. And each day they have three minutes to run a hallway full of hellhounds to get a bucket of slop and water and get back or they don’t get food or water. And of course, along with the Matron, they get visits from the amazing Visitor, who comes to yell, beat, and give order to them.
One night, Whit starts to see his girlfriend. His dead girlfriend Celia. She tells them she can get them out. Fast forward and they’re escaping through a portal down the hellhound hallway, with the Matron chasing them. For completed reasons she can’t get through but Whit and Wisty can, with Byron who’s now a weasel, an a hellhound. But the hellhound isn’t that bad, and Wisty decides to keep her and name her Feffer. So Celia takes them to an abandoned shopping mall, full of teenage rebels, and Whit and Wisty’s new friend group including Sasha, Janie, Margo and Emmett. And I”m not going to go into much more, but theres a lot more magic involved in it. Like, four more books worth.
James Patterson has masterfully crafted a world where the adults aren’t the people who know what’s best, where our hope lies in children. He creates a world where the government reaches new levels of controlling, becoming totalitarian and takes away the rights of the people. It’s a world where people (adults mostly) fear those who are different than everyone else. Wow, wonder why that sounds familiar. He explores the strength of family, how it can get you through hard times, and just how much you are willing to do and risk for the people who share the same blood in their veins as you. And not just that kind of family. The family you form through your choices and bonds with other people, the family that you choose.
The characters he creates are deep and go through a lot of trials that change and shape who they are as people. Wisty is the cocky, fiery (ha), fierce girl who loves to stand off to authority, but is also very insecure, always thinking that there’s someone better or that she’ll mess up. But with the discovery of her magic and its growth, it fills the gap she had and increase her confidence, allowing her to see just how amazing she is. Whit on other hand is that stereotypical high school jock, with deep emotions though, like his undying love for Celia. He falls into a deep depression when Celia dies, leading to him not caring about anything and drinking, s. But through that he still is the caring, protective older brother to Wisty. and then there’s Byron. He’s that guy that submits completely to authority, and doesn’t question them, he’ll do what it takes to survive. But when he gets turned into a weasel (quite fitting actually) he kind of ends up getting stuck with Whit and Wisty. Since, you know they’re the only ones who can change him back. And he starts to actually gain his own beliefs. Wow shocking.
Witch and Wizard is a wonderful five book series telling the stories of average teenagers, well mostly average, trying to fix a world completely ruined by those who say they know what’s best. It’s the story of rebellion against totalitarian, controlling governments. For those of you who don’t read a lot, that’s fine. These books are relatively short and it took me only one day each to read them. And of course, if you ever want more, Patterson has like a million more books for you to read.
If you have a book, series or trilogy you’d like to suggest, leave them in the comments. Until next time, just keep living life.