Patterson (the Maximum Ride books) and Charbonnet launch a new series about political and cultural oppression, which suffers from some questionable storytelling choices. Ordinary teenagers Whit and Wisty are taken from their house by representatives of the oppressive “New Order.” Accused of being a wizard and a witch, they're thrown in a dank prison to await execution. While there they begin to master previously unknown powers and, thanks to some otherworldly help, they manage to escape and are united with the resistance movement. The authors rely on coincidence and plot holes—each teen is allowed to bring one possession into the otherwise barbaric jail, and thus end up with magical implements. The story is further undercut by frequent recapping and short chapters, alternately narrated by the siblings, which break up the narrative for no perceivable reason. There's some fun world-building, including a stream of thinly disguised pop culture references in Wisty and Whit's alternate world (from the books of Gary Blotter to the artist Margie O'Greeffe), but even these are inconsistent (their world also includes Red Bull and the adjective Dickensian) and come across as groaners. Ages 10-up. (Dec.)
VOYA - Laura Lehner
Brother and sister Whit and Wisty awaken one morning to the sound of soldiers marching down the street and straight up to their house. Within seconds, the door is in splinters and the dumbfounded family is rounded up. Wisty, in her struggle to get away, suddenly bursts into flames, injuring the soldiers around her. When the flames subside, the two teenagers are shoved into a van and driven away as their devastated parents watch. So begin the Allgood family's troubles with the New Ordera military-type new government that is rounding up kids who are suspected of having special powers. Whit and Wisty are informed at their trial that they are a wizard and a witch, and they are sentenced to death. They had no idea. The ensuing escapade features torture, beginner magic, daring escapes, a prophecy, rats, ghosts, and forever running from the leader of the New OrderThe One Who Is The One. This first volume of a planned series sets the scene well, building a world of hidden realities and following the protagonists as they learn to use their magical powers. Readers will hope that the many unanswered questions will be addressed in subsequent volumes. The only problem here is the tone of the piecewritten in the first person in alternating chapters between wise-cracking Whit and back-talking Wisty. Readers never get the feeling that these are real youth in danger. More interesting elements of this new world order are not well-developed, but young Patterson fans will be thrilled to jump into this new adventure. Reviewer: Laura Lehner
In a parallel world, a new political party, the New Order, has come to power. Its leader, The One Who Is The One, hates children, those with imagination and magic users. Unbeknownst to teenage siblings Wisteria and Whitford Allgood, they are powerful magic users. The New Order arrests, imprisons, tests, tortures and sentences them to death. Thankfully, they're rescued by the teen resistance to fight another day for the good of all levels of reality, as they must survive to fulfill a great prophecy. In a series of mercifully short chapters narrated by two indistinguishable teens, megaseller Patterson, with co-author Charbonnet in tow, kicks off his latest series for younger audiences with a completely derivative blast of capital letters and exclamation points. The dialogue rings as true as a plastic bell, and the scant prose is so purple it's ultraviolet. Flimsy characters are slammed around a plot that lacks any internal logic. No cliche is left unused in this insulting-to-its-audience, nonsensical flapdoodle. You'll have to purchase it due to the ad campaign and author-branding, just don't invest too heavily-save your dollars for better. (Fantasy. 10-14)
RAVES FOR THE PAGETURNERS!
"Fights and flights are non-stop in Maximum Ride. The writing is visual and cinematic--things that kids expect from their video games, TV cartoon shows and action movies."
Cathy, Bookseller - Blue Willow Bookshop
"Patterson is not just for adults anymore. With the Maximum Ride series he has created edgy, taut thrillers that teens won't be able to put down. The characters are easy to identify with and I can't wait to see what happens to Max and her family next!"
From the Publisher
Praise for Witch & Wizard:
#1 New York Times Bestseller
"Young Patterson fans will be thrilled to jump into this new adventure."VOYA
"A fast, exciting fantasy adventure ... with wall-to-wall thrills and spills ... page-turning suspense, pace and invention, street smart irony and upbeat humour."Books for Keeps
Raves for the MAXIMUM RIDE series:
#1 New York Times Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Bestseller
ALA Quick Pick
KLIATT Editor's Choice
VOYA Editor's Choice
Book Sense Children's Pick
An American Library Association 2005 "Teens Top Ten" pick
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.
After being arrested at home in the dead of night, high school age siblings Wisty and Whit enter a Kafkaesque nightmare of imprisonment, deprivation, and brutality. Officials in the New Order (N.O.) accuse the duo of being a witch and a wizard. Until their arrest, the siblings did not know that they had special powers. The New Order is run by a Hitler-type known as "The One Who Is the One." Along the way Wisty and Whit have the very bad fortune to also meet The One Who Judges, The One In Command, The One Who Imprisons, and so forth and so on. Although the sibling duo escape their horrible fate, brutality and sadism is alive and well in the New Order. During their journey they connect with Celia, Whit's girlfriend, who had gone missing without a trace. She now resurfaces as a spirit from Shadowland, described as "its own dimension of reality." Shadowland, which is dangerous for humans, is filled with "half-lights" and "lost ones." Portals connect the two worlds. Wisty and Whit tell the story in alternating chapters. Despite the shock and awe of this new dark world, they remain steadfast in their goal of reuniting with their parents. The dialogue and story line are fast paced and the tone is breezy at times, but much is predictable in this tale. The story succeeds in a formulaic way; it is suspenseful but does not feel fresh. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Wisty and Whit Allgood have magical powers, but they don't know it. At least they don't know until they are arrested by the guards of the New Order, which has just come to power. Their parents have always been into herbs and plants and predictions; they don't send their kids to typical schools, and when the teens are allowed to take only one item each to jail with them, they send a drumstick and a book with no words that are visible to the naked eye. The kids start to get an inkling of what they can do when Wisty bursts into flames when she gets angry, and before long she is turning people into creatures and conjuring tornadoes, and lightning bolts shoot from her hands. The bulk of the book takes place when Whit and Wisty are locked up in a reformatory where they are bullied by the guards. The chapters are only one to three pages in length and alternate between the two main characters' points of view. The action doesn't really pick up until the last third of the book, when the siblings make their escape. Readers expecting something akin to Patterson's "Maximum Ride" series (Little, Brown) are bound to be disappointed, but the groundwork is set for subsequent volumes that might make wading through the first one worthwhile.—Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO
Read an Excerpt
Witch & Wizard
By Patterson, James
Grand Central Publishing Copyright © 2011 Patterson, James All right reserved.
YOU’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE
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.
I 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….
Excerpted from Witch & Wizard by Patterson, James Copyright © 2011 by Patterson, James. Excerpted by permission.
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