A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a dystopian novel that pits adults against children. While there's no gore, the violence is pervasive and intense -- the opening scene is two teens being led to death in a public execution. The children discover they have supernatural powers such as firestarting, and there is little discussion over the ethics of hurting others to save themselves or others. The Allgood family is eventually revealed as Wiccan, and there are prophecies that Wiccans will save the world.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Fifteen-year-old Wisty Allgood and her 17-year-old brother Whit awaken to a nightmare: soldiers invade their home and drag them to prison. Overnight, a new world order is established, and witchcraft, along with science and other magic, is outlawed. Wisty and Whit are convicted as witch and wizard and sentenced to death as soon as they turn 18. Although they had no idea they had magical powers, Wisty discovers the ability to start fires and turn people into animals. They break out of prison to find their parents, but find a resistance army of other teens and children, multiple realities, and a very violent world in chaos. Troops patrol the streets and children are living like refugees. As they search for their parents they also discover they are the subjects of a prophecy that only Wiccans can save the world from the new evil empire.
Is it any good?
WITCH AND WIZARD is too scary and violent for young readers, and not likely exciting or engaging enough for older teen readers. Patterson is known for his action-packed thrillers, but this one is hardly compelling. Whit and Wisty are likable, and the Allgood family dynamic is close and caring, but the teens soon learn that their parents kept many secrets from them, and there is no discussion of their duplicity or their motives. The military enforcers are portrayed as stupid, but how did The One Who Writes Decrees find enough stupid and willing soldiers to overthrow the entire world? And why in the world are these witches and wizards Wiccan?
There is no charm or whimsy, none of the fresh world building found in other popular fantasies of the past decade. There is nothing about this story that is new or thrilling. It makes an un-challenging, OK, light read. The most entertaining part is the list of "Especially Offensive Books That Have Been Banned" in the postscript.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dystopian novels. What makes this book dystopian? How did The One take over the world?
Whit and Wisty had no idea they had magical abilities. How did their parents keep them from knowing this as they grew up?
The Allgood parents had to keep many secrets from their children. Were the secrets to keep them safe, or to help bring about the prophecy that is revealed?
Is Wiccan a religion? Are there witches and wizards in other popular fiction you've read that are not Wiccans?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love magic
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.