Witch & Wizard  - James Patterson This book is the first book in a new young adult series by James Patterson and one of his stable of co-writers. It is set in a dystopian world, where a dictator has taken over and is systematically trying to remove anyone he feels threatened by. Of course, his main nemeses are two young adults, a brother and sister who just happened to be (you guessed it) a witch and a wizard.

I'm giving this book three stars, but I'm not quite sure at this point how I feel about it. There are several reasons that I feel ambivalent about it.

First, I have to admit, it took me about two thirds of the book to really get into the story and the characters. I'm not sure if the author was holding back because this is the first book of a series, or just didn't set up the story well. At times it seemed like you started in the middle of a story, at other times it seemed like you just weren't being let in on what was going on. The last third of the book, though I was really starting to enjoy the characters and the story was picking up.

As a young adult book this book had all the required ingredients; sarcastic teenage protagonists, paranormal powers, unrequited love, a dystopian world, kids vs. adult, but in this case, it seemed a bit contrived for most of the book. The sarcastic attitudes of the protagonists seemed out of place for the actual events that were transpiring, making the characters seem off somehow. The paranormal powers seemed to have been stolen from a mish mash of characters in other books. The events of the book seemed a little too predictable. Then there were the distracting elements of the book. The chapters were only 2 - 5 pages in length, as if they had been written for people with REALLY short attention spans. Every time you were just getting into what was going on, the chapter would end, and the next one would either be from another character's viewpoint, and/or skip. The other distracting feature of the book were all of the "goofy" references to pop culture items. For example, Harry Potter and many other items of pop culture were referred to with cheesy made up parody names. It was hard to tell whether the author was making a joke, or actually making fun of the very audience they are trying to attract.

And then the end was so hokey!

So - why did I give it 3 stars, instead of two? For two reasons. The biggest reason, is that by the last third of the book the characters were beginning to take shape and become much more real, and the story was starting to be interesting. The other is that there were a few ideas that happened to be gems in the book, if they are not overlooked. Like how the main character realizes early on, that people were warning the world that their society was being subverted from the inside, but, as he says, "I just wasn't listening."

Last comment, this book is 307 pages (my version) and the type is really large, so it is a REALLY fast read. Even though it took me two days, from start to finish it probably only took me two or three hours.