Witch and Wizard

Book review by
Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media
Witch and Wizard Book Poster Image
Clever premise, but charmless, dark, and too violent.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 36 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

The Allgood parents have taught their children to believe in themselves; very good brother and sister relationship; kids work together to overthrow the new Order and to save their parents

Positive Role Models & Representations

Whit and Wisty, the main characters, are devoted to each other and their parents; however as they discover their magical abilities they do not need much soul searching to inflict pain on others in order to gain freedom for themselves and others. The Allgood family are identified as Wiccan.

Violence

No gore, but pervasive and intense. Teens and children murdered, vaporized, and imprisoned by New Order adults; creatures eat humans; teens are beaten. The opening scene is a public execution. 

Sex

Some kissing between 17-year-old Whit and his girlfriend.

Language

Just "hell" and "hellhound."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

17-year-old Whit drank for a few months after his girlfriend disappeared, then quit.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 year old Written byjdmls1972 January 20, 2011
Parent of a 10 year old Written byThe Big E April 15, 2011

Mediocre at best

It may seem odd to say there are both good and bad messages in this book, but when I thought about it, that's what I decided was an appropriate analysis.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDreamerlily April 19, 2011

Chocolate after the Harry Potter Break-Up

I love this book! I was very very sad about Harry Potter ending, then I read this. It's like chocolate after a break-up. It shows that music, books, and a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byjumphop October 6, 2010

Probably the best book out there.

It's a great book, but to put it in perspective it's a book. It's only what you imagine it to be. Your kids are more likely to go out and act vio... Continue reading

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?

Book details

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