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Witch & Wizard Hardcover – December 14, 2009

3.5 out of 5 stars 827 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Witch and Wizard Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Although marketing muscle might make this book a hit, it’s hard to believe too many readers will be satisfied with the confusing blend of sorcery and political dystopia. Fifteen-year-old Wisty and her 18-year-old brother Whit are awoken one night by troops from the newly elected N.O. (New Order) regime. The siblings are chained, tossed into a prison, and accused of being a witch and wizard—a charge that seems preposterous until Wisty envelops her body in flames and is no worse for wear. With the help of Whit’s dead girlfriend (who exists in a limbo known as the Shadowland), the teens escape to a bombed-out department store where a teen resistance movement fights the dastardly N.O. Wisty and Whit are standard-issue teen smart alecks, the baddies are stock villains who use phrases like “dangerous fiends,” and the meandering plot seems to make up the rules as it goes along. It’s got an enticing prologue, though, and Patterson’s trademark bite-size chapters at least keep things zippy. Grades 6-9. --Daniel Kraus
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
  • Series: Witch & Wizard (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: jimmy patterson; 1 edition (December 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316036245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316036245
  • ASIN: 0316036242
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (827 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

James Patterson received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community at the 2015 National Book Awards. His other awards include two Emmys, the Edgar Award, and the Children's Choice Award for Author of the Year. He is a tireless champion of the power of books and reading, exemplified by his new children's book imprint, JIMMY Patterson, whose mission is simple: "We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY Book to say: 'PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.'" He has donated more than one million books to students and soldiers and has over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships at 24 colleges and universities. He has also donated millions to independent bookstores and school libraries. Patterson will be investing proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I absolutely love dystopian, end-of-life-as-we-know-it, type of novels. George Orwell's 1984 (Signet Classics) and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale happen to be two of my favorites. This novel started with great promise...And then it fell short. Very short. The novel is about Wisty and Whit Allgood, two teenage siblings who are kidnapped by the New Order, a form of government that has taken over the world. During this time, Wisty and Whit discover that they have magical powers, and that is why the New Order considers them a threat. The story opens up with Wisty and Whit being led to the gallows in a sports arena, with thousands of people cheering on their hanging. As the proceedings commence, Wisty and Whit take us into the backdrop of the story, how they found themselves condemned to death.

In a trite and oversimplified manner, we learn that our political system crumbled overnight and was replaced by the New Order headed by "The One Who Is the One." As Wisty and Whit continue to battle some of their challenges, they become more aware of the magnitude of their supernatural powers. The story crosses over from Wisty and Whit's time in prison, over to other worldly dimensions (such as the Shadowland where spirits dwell) back to an unrecognizable world overwrought with despair, war, and hopelessness. But none of this is captured with any depth.

What I thought would be a great dystopian story seemed more like a cat-and-mouse fantasy under a dystopian backdrop.
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8 Comments 138 of 153 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
"Dystopian fluff" -- it sounds kind of oxymoronic, doesn't it? It also perfectly describes James Patterson's young adult fantasy "Witch and Wizard," which basically transports the Harry Potter aesthetic to a totalitarian near-future. It's one of those stories that is overflowing with potential and/or promise, but in this case it's just a bone-thin plot clothed in 2-D characters and indifferent plot.

Wisty and her older brother Whit are dragged from their beds by New Order soldiers (and no, I don't mean the band), and accused of being a witch and a wizard. Unfortunately, their denials are sabotaged by Wisty suddenly bursting into flame. Soon the siblings find themselves being dragged into a living nightmare -- interrogation, absurd trials, a prison filled with similarly talented kids, and finally a sentence of execution.

But in a cruel New Order prison, Wisty and Whit's powers begin to expand exponentially (think more flames, drifting through solid walls, transformation, bug-summoning, etc). To escape, they'll have to take a trip into the world of the dead (which isn't too different from the world of the living) and join up with a secret resistance -- and discover the terrible plans of the New Order's leader, The One Who Is One.

"Witch and Wizard" is one of those books where it feels like the author just sat down over a long weekend and banged out a quickie manuscript. Patterson makes a few lame references to Harry Potter and Percy Jackson stories, but it's obvious that there was little enthusiasm in this story -- the entire Evil Dystopian FutureWorld sketched out here is no more than a series of blurry outlines and cliches, with no backstory and little development. Throw in some magical powers and a Big Magical Prophecy.
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1 Comment 40 of 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
My daughter loves the Maximum Rides stories so I put this latest book by James Patterson at the top of her Wishlist. After reading it though, I'm feeling bad for the giftgiver -- it's just not good. The plot is skeletal and overly simplistic, and there is none of the sarcastic humor that peppered the Maximum Ride stories. It feels like it was written over a long week-end while the author was thinking of something else.
1 Comment 64 of 83 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of James Patterson - Alex Cross, Maximum Ride, you name it. However, Witch and Wizard was a big disappointment to me. I tried to keep an open mind as I read it, but I found it disjointed and not well thought out. I would go so far as to say this may be the worst book i've read in years. (Sorry, Mr. Patterson!) I will not buy any more of this series...
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By Mary Wayne on December 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was possibly the worst 150 pages I have ever read. I tried to keep reading but eventually I put it down and picked up the Sky Mall Magazine on the airplane. There was no character development, you have no idea where this story is taking place or what time period. Each chapter is less than 2 pages and goes back and forth from one characters point to the other. I don't get what all the hype is about. Don't waste your money on this book, I think I might try to take mine back...
1 Comment 24 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Mary on December 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love the author's writing, usually, but this book would fail a junior high writing course....terribly trite and shallow...I couldn't even finish it. I gave it away to a used book store...maybe someone will get some good from it. Very disappointed.
4 Comments 27 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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