Authors: James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet
Whit and Wisty Allgood have spent their lives being basically (if a bit hipster, in a good way) kids. That all changes one night–it would have to be in the middle of the night, wouldn’t it?–when they are awakened by a new government barging into their home, arresting them, and accusing them of being a witch and a wizard. Not that they’ve ever done anything remotely magical in their lives. As life as they know it is brutally overturned, Whit and Wisty’s perspectives on themselves are forced to change as well–finding yourself spontaneously bursting into flames, seeing into other dimensions, and transforming Traitorous Jerks into weasels will do that. But will their new capabilities be enough to save themselves and their parents? Not to mention their world?
Witch & Wizard is a breathtaking story–fast-paced in a word-turned-on-its-head sort of way right from the beginning. The author uses the really-nice-people-in-a-really-dark-situation cliché to excellent effect (hey, it’s cliché because it works). And to be fair, the characters are actually pretty cool–interesting personalities and relationships and not complete goodie-two-shoes by any means. My one real complaint is that the very beginning of the story is this crazy we’re-about-to-die situation which isn’t resolved by the end of the book. Okay, Wisty remarks on it and promises it will be resolved in later volumes, but still. Overall, however, Witch & Wizard is a good dystopian thriller with a nice first-person, two-voice, perspective and plenty of action. Worth reading; I’ll probably check out future volumes.
Author: Garth Nix
My rating: 4.5 of 5
All his life, Khemri had been told he was special, one of the privileged elite. Which was true. What no one ever bothered to tell him was that being a Prince is less about living a carefree life doing whatever you want and more about living in submission to the Imperial Mind. Or that it’s a daily fight for survival–which is a pain, even knowing that you’ll probably be reborn into your original body. This is the story of Prince Khemri’s three deaths . . . and the lives he lived between.
A Confusion of Princes is truly an intriguing story. Garth Nix builds a credible world, and even more so a mind-boggling yet believable society. He takes an almost hive-mind sort of concept, mixes in deftly-hinted-at technologies, and emerges with a vibrant, not-quite dystopian civilization. Nix then introduces a protagonist and storyline that will eventually turn the ideology of this civilization on its head, returning the focus to those things that most truly define humanity. This work is deft and well-paced such that even I, who don’t usually much care for science fiction, would recommend it.