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Any Witch Way You Can (A Wicked Witches of the Midwest Mystery) Paperback – January 18, 2013
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A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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About the Author
When I was a kid, I was torn between whether or not I was going to grow up and be the Incredible Hulk or Wonder Woman. I flirted with being a Jedi Knight for awhile, but I wasn't up for the intense travel associated with the gig. In my teens, I settled on being a writer -- although I had no idea the effort that would entail. Not only am I a writer now, but I'm a writer in several different mediums. I'm a longtime newspaper reporter, an avid reader and a voracious science fiction fanatic. Like me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmandaMLee . Follow me on Twitter at @yodaoneforme.
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I won't say it was terrible, 'cause it wasn't. The author's ability to tell a story - in the choice-of-language sense - is not bad at all. The editing...well, it wasn't great by any means, but it wasn't *too* distracting. On paper, this sounds like it ought to be an enjoyable story.
It's got its issues, though.
1. Oh sweet good god, the dialogue. Usually when I complain about a book's dialogue, it's because the author doesn't know how to write it. It comes out sounding stilted and unnatural. Not so in AWWYC; the author does that part just fine. No, here it's just obnoxious. The entire book is built on bickering. Bickering between the MC and her cousins. Bickering between the aunts. Bickering between the cousins and the ghosts. Bickering between the aunts and the cousins. Bickering between the MC and the love interest. Bickering between the old lady and everyone. Enough already! It's hard to like a story when you want to send every last character to their rooms without dinner.
2. The plot. Why the plot? Because there wasn't much of one. We have a murder mystery in a book about a reporter who does very little investigating. Isn't that kind of a requirement for murder mysteries? The whole book is about her killing time until the next bit of information is revealed. She talks a big game about figuring out who the killer is, but doesn't do much more than Google a few things and badger some ghosts. And when the ghosts can't tell her what she wants to know? "Try to remember. It's important. And while you're doing that, I'm just going to go over here and bicker." The main character could have been absent from the book altogether and the story would still have gone on pretty much unchanged. The plot itself seemed like background that just provides an excuse to perform yet more ridiculous verbal slapstick.
3. The unrealistic characters. Are we really supposed to believe that the police chief just invites a random civilian into a murder investigation? Are we supposed to believe that this family described as outcasts because they're actual witches isn't going to actually experience anything harsher than an uncomfortable look from all the assorted townspeople? Are we supposed to believe the town reporter - one of only two in the whole town - doesn't actually do much reporting or bother to look into a mystery and has the leisure to take great swaths of time off to hang out with the fam? And even if you could contort yourself into an explanation for these things - which we readers shouldn't have to do, BTW - we've got the fact that the characters all have such similar voices that they're virtually interchangeable. (I was particularly irritated by the frequent mentions of how awful and self-centered teenagers are by someone who acts - and thinks - exactly like the teenagers.)
4. The predictability. The ending was no surprise at all. By about chapter four, I had figured out not only who the murderer was, but also who the love interest was.
5. The lack of magic. Dude. This is a book about witches. It's billed as urban fantasy. I read this stuff because I think people with powers are cool. There's next to no magic in the story...and it doesn't even occur to the characters to use it to help solve their mystery! They're terrible at being witches.
6. The running internal monologue. For every line of dialogue, there's another line of unspoken snark. Snark is one of those things that's more potent when used sparingly. Here, it just makes the MC sound like an insincere jerk.
So, you're no doubt thinking to yourselves (assuming you actually read all that, of course), how is it this book got 2.5 stars rounded UP? Two reasons. For one thing, I didn't actually notice a lot of the bad stuff until I was done and actually stopped to think about it all. The fact that I got caught up in a story where nothing seems to actually happen says...something. Not sure what, exactly, but something. Secondly, if you go into this book expecting mindless fluff, you might not think it's too bad. And mindless fluff has its place; sometimes I want to escape in a way that doesn't require any brainpower.
So there you have it. This book really isn't very good, but it's a quick read and it serves a purpose. If your expectations are low, you'll probably get to the end feeling mildly entertained. But make no mistake - I may not think the book was a complete waste of time, but I have no intention of reading the rest of the series.
I’m a pretty tough sell when it comes to mystery novels. I want a tightly woven mystery with just enough clues (or breadcrumbs) to allow me to discover “who-dun-it” just before the sleuth in the story figures it out. Sadly, Any Witch Way You Can fails on this point. The mystery was sloppy and not very mysterious, in my opinion.
However, Any Which Way You Can shines with a full cast of funny, sarcastic, friendly characters that you can relate to. These characters kept me reading until the end despite the lackluster mystery. Bay’s family, especially her cousins and grandmother, provided some of the funniest moments in the story. They reminded me of people in my own life that I hold dear for their honesty and lightheartedness.
While I definitely didn’t finish Any Witch Way You Can because of the plot, I would recommend it if you are looking for a easy, quick read with some memorable characters that will make your smile and bring a bit of humor to your life.
Every character was a stereotypical caricature: the teen boy wanted to watch all the girls shower, the teen girl was moody and self-centered, the mother wanted the adult daughter to settle down and have grandchildren, the grandmother was crotchety and senile.
I won't be picking up future books.