Top critical review
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Fluffy, Pink Clouds and Rainbows!!!
on July 15, 2012
(*I would not recommend this book to anyone who lives firmly entrenched in the real, "Modern" world. The shortcomings will only cause disappointment...)
"A Modern Witch" is described in a way that ropes readers into believing that, between the covers, lies a story with substance to it; but if you are seeking substance, this story falls flat. Every character is shaped from the same sugary-sweet batches of drivel that promote visions of Prince Charming, unicorns, fluffy, pink clouds and rainbows in children's storybooks. If that's the kind of sap that you're looking for, then that's what you'll get! There are no confrontations in this book, no strong leading women, and no action. Most of the "highlights" of the story end up falling short and fizzling just as they start to peak; and there are pages of chat-room dialog that vary in importance, but don't really contribute enough to justify inclusion.
Lauren, the main character, is thrust into a world of witchcraft and magic with very little time to adjust before major responsibilities are thrown upon her. Every witch that she comes into contact with is super-sweet and understanding on the surface, but they all want or expect something from her. Lauren is a boring lead with a dull, monotonous life filled with work, Ben & Jerry's, and (of all things) an overstuffed couch. Every character leads an idealistic, but flaccid life, with an abundance of fantastical people to share it with. The only character that didn't stem from la-la land is Nat, Lauren's Yoga-loving best friend who, despite growing up with emotionally stunted, strict parents, is the perfect picture of serenity, peace, and love. She's also one of two characters in the book with a rudimentary physical description (No. Lauren is NOT one of them).
No matter how much is heaped on her shoulders, or how many people use her, Lauren never once gets her mad on. She never says "No!". She becomes every one's footstool and seamlessly takes it all in stride with no genuine complaints and no more than a two second twitch of irritation. Nat even ends up using her as an excuse to fly to California so she can further her budding relationship with Jamie, Lauren's "trainer".
There are few occasions when any of the supporting characters actually support Lauren by asking her how she is handling her new status; when they do, 9 times out of 10, the conversation twists back around to what the other person wants, needs, or expects Lauren to do. To make matters worse, Nat is the only one who bags a rich hottie, gets her groove on, AND tops it all off with a white picket fence and fairy tale ending. I really didn't feel that invested in Nat, and I felt sorry for poor Lauren who just has a never ending supply of Ben & Jerry's and the doting affections of a four year old boy who's future-magical-fate rests on her shoulders.
I didn't completely hate the book, though; and, I was glad that the author saw fit to close Lauren's story on a mildly promising note. However, it is doubtful that I will be reading the rest of the series. Especially since the author introduces an ever expanding group of characters instead of evolving the original cast.
I only gave "A Modern Witch" three stars because:
1.) Many of the female characters have positive, leadership roles in the workplace.
2.) Some of the cutesie stuff was imaginative, and--well...cute!
3.) It was kind of nice to imagine a large group of family and friends that gelled like Jamie and Nell's did. :-)