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A Nameless Witch Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2008


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765354586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765354587
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 4.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Martinez's disappointing third comic fantasy stars a beautiful heroine who's cursed with immortality and an appetite for human flesh that complicates her love life. Rescued and mentored by an old witch nicknamed Ghastly Edna, the witch of the title comes into her own after being locked in the basement until she is 18 (on account of being freakishly "undead"). After Edna's demise, the Nameless Witch sets off to avenge her death, with some help from her familiar, Newt, who takes the form of a wisecracking killer duck, and a benevolent troll called Gwurm. They settle in at Fort Stalwart, where they're joined by the handsome White Knight and menaced by goblings sent by the sorcerer Soulless Gustav. The White Knight wins the witch's heart, but he can't rescue this quest spoof, which lacks the marvelous effervescence that buoyed Martinez's debut, Gil's All Fright Diner. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The nameless witch is the victim of a family curse that was supposed to make her hideous and undead. The undead part took, but she is otherwise quite lovely. A witch she calls Ghastly Edna buys her from her parents and trains her in all the witchy arts, including how to dress so that people see the hideous hag they expect a witch to be. When inhuman agents of a mysterious force attack Ghastly Edna, before she expires she tells the nameless witch she has two choices: live a long, peaceful life, or pursue revenge and possible doom, though happiness might instead be the outcome. Of course, the nameless witch chooses revenge. With her demonic duck familiar and a troll met en route, she travels to a town where she provides useful services until a gobling [sic] army attacks. She resumes her quest, with White Knight Wyst of the West added to her company. Thanks to a healthy dose of Martinez's signature humor (see his Alex Award winner, Gil's All Fright Diner, 2005), entertainingly witchy. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

A. Lee Martinez was born in El Paso, Texas. At the age of eighteen, for no apparent reason, he started writing novels. Thirteen short years (and a little over a dozen manuscripts) later, his first novel, Gil's All Fright Diner was published. Since then he has published or is about to publish five additional novels, including the forthcoming Divine Misfortune. His hobbies include juggling, games of all sorts, and astral projecting. Also, he likes to sing along with the radio when he's in the car by himself.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Kelly Wagner on July 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
As another reviewer said, consider it 3 and a half stars, but not up to 4. It's a very pleasantly written book, nice easy reading, but the plot is almost nonexistent - a series of warmed-over Terry Pratchett style cliches but without Terry Pratchett's dark and mordant thought. There's humor, but it's light. There are a couple of minor original touches, but not enough to say that the book isn't mostly cliches.

So. Our nameless witch. Her backstory is a bit different from most cliches; I wouldn't have minded hearing more about that, but instead, it's done with in a couple of pages, far too little to explain why we have the very firm-minded, talented character that we have. She becomes an apprentice to a witch, then inherits the witch's familiar, who is a very funny demon duck named Newt. (It's even fun writing that - "demon duck named Newt!") If your local newspaper has the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine" then you might be familiar with the little guard duck there, who is always wanting to machine-gun the neighbors; this is that duck, in a different setting. Next we have a troll, who is a very nice person, really, with a good sense of humor. And a broom named Penelope. And a prostitute with a heart of gold. And a White Knight.

What can I say? Good wins over evil. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing really original about the way it's done, either. I liked it, it didn't take long to read, but it also didn't have anything in it that would make me want to keep it and re-read it, thinking I'd get more to think about. Worth reading once for the demon duck named Newt (I had to get that phrase in again) and for the clever fox, who is a copy of many other such forest animals, but also nicely done. Then donate it to your public library.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Burgundy Damsel VINE VOICE on September 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
I hope people disregard the negative reviews about this book. It certainly isn't (and wasn't intended to be) an epic, but it is a creative and engaging read. The author's magical world is unique and well developed and the characters' interactions made me laugh out loud. I highly recommend this for those days when you just need something fun and easy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter on September 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
3.5 or 4 was on my mind for this review. Personally I am still going to go with the four on this one but just barely.

The Amazon summary is pretty much the entire book so I wont bore with the details.

Overall as you get into the book the plot is barely tenable with some fairly flimsy character development along the way which was surprising considering how I enjoyed the previous two works by the same author.

Still if you have some free time and need to kick back with some light reading this one is pretty good with the ability to put it down and come back to every so often.

My only hope is that the author can get back into the swing of the things with a fourth and not keep going down in quality.

Still... I'm glad I bought it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elaine C McTyer VINE VOICE on May 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did enjoy this book, but the ending let me down and with such a great beginning I expected more from the book. Not a keeper but a fairly interesting read.

Our heroine has no name, she is a cursed sixth child. Her many times great grand defeated a great wizard, with his last breath he cursed the sixth child of each generation. Not many had six children until our couple who either didn't believe in the curse or just wanted to see what would happen. So our unfortunate heroine is born and raised in a cellar for 18 yrs. Then Ghastley Edna, a witch, comes by to buy her for an apprentice. Our heroine is cursed to be beautiful and undead with a hunger for human flesh. Edna helps her overcome these tendencies.

When Edna is slain Our heroine sets out with her familiar on a quest. This brings her into touch with other people, includeing a White Knight, a sentient broom, our demon duck familiar, and a troll.

They have to defeat an army of goblings and then find and defeat the powerful force behind the army.

We have a few chuckles, and maybe one or two belly laughs along the way. However, the ending sucks and ruined the story for me. But if you like urban fantasy with a twist this one is for you.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carla Harker on July 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
In A Nameless Witch, the titled (but untitled) heroine is a beautiful undead witch who embarks on a journey to avenge her teacher's death. Joining her are her demonic duck familiar, a friendly troll, and a handsome but celibate knight. The interactions among the characters is where you see Martinez's strengths shine the brightest. His quirky characters are never too silly and his dialog rolls off the page.

If there's one weakness to the story, it's that the vengeance tale is more of a McGuffin than a strong plot; not that following the fantastic characters around is any real chore.

It's not often a writer has the talent to create a sympathetic and likable heroine with a predisposition for the taste of human flesh, but Mr. Martinez has succeeded admirably. This is an excellent read for any fan of humorous fantasy.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sunhi on June 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
First, and foremost, consider this review 3.5 stars. I liked it a bit more than three stars, but not enough to shoot it up to four star status.

It's been about two months since I've read this story, and already it is mostly slipping from my mind. This is not altogether a horrible thing -- there's plenty of horrid, badly-written stories I can't forget, but would like to. I remember the basic plot outline of A Nameless Witch, I remember laughing at it, and I remember ripping through it, but I can't remember details or lines that would make the book something more than just a 'humorous fantasy adventure'. The author tries to make this book something more and there are hints that a great novel lies within reach of this author. In fact, I will check out more work by A. Lee Martinez in the hope that these hints are realized in past or future novels.

Good points: the description of magic is interesting, the main character likeable, the familar is entertainingly bloodthirsty. The Bad: the author seems obsessed with the looks of the main character, the love interest isn't intersting, and the book tap dances all over the line between humorous and wacky.

Pick up this novel if you already like A. Lee Martinez, you like humorous fantasy, or you want a good fantasy beach read.
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