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Witch & Wizard Hardcover – December 14, 2009

815 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: Little, Brown and Company; 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (815 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

More About the Author

It is no surprise that in January, 2010, The New York Times Magazine featured James Patterson on its cover and hailed him as having "transformed book publishing," and that Time magazine hailed him as "The Man Who Can't Miss." Recently, NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams profiled Patterson's prolific career, AARP named him one of the "50 Most Influential People Who Make Our Days a Little Brighter," and Variety featured him in a cover story highlighting his adventures in Hollywood.

In 2013, it was estimated that one-in-five of all hardcover suspense/thriller novels sold was written by James Patterson, his books have sold over 300 million copies worldwide, and he holds the Guinness record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers of any author. And his success isn't based solely on thrillers like the perennially popular Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and Michael Bennett series. Patterson is now also the current bestselling author in the young adult and middle grade categories.

He's been called the busiest man in publishing, and that's not just because of his own books. For the past decade, James has been devoting more and more of his time to championing books and reading. From the James Patterson Pageturner Awards, to his website, to his College Book Bucks scholarships and his regular donations of hundreds of thousands of books to schools here in the states and troops overseas (see interviews on Fox & Friends, The Dennis Miller Radio Show and, Patterson has passed on his passion of books and reading and supported those who do the same. Jim personally funded a major ad campaign re-printing a recent opinion piece on about how it is our responsibility to get our kids reading. The ad has run in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and USA Today. Those ads are a call to action to parents to make their kids reading a top priority; and were featured by USA Today here. Patterson believes that we cannot rely on schools, teachers or the government to get our kids reading; only parents can make this crucial change in the reading habits of our kids. Here are links to some interviews on his first-ever dual lay down (two books, one for parents and one for kids, in one day): AOL's You've Got, NBC's "Today Show" with Hoda and Kathie Lee, USA Today and Family Circle, NBC's "Today Show" with Al Roker, as well as an interview with AARP.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 152 people found the following review helpful By Green on December 14, 2009
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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40 of 51 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2010
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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64 of 83 people found the following review helpful By K. Stearns on December 16, 2009
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.
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56 of 73 people found the following review helpful By F. Thompson on December 23, 2009
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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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful 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...
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful 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.
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