March 26, 2012
Book Review; White Witch
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Jax is a young witch on the run. She does not want to live her coven's black magic lifestyle and dreams of a normal teenage experience. Then she finds Baker's Gap, a tiny little town where everyone knows everyone else, and Jax settles in. Can she keep her powers under the radar and avoid being tracked down by her coven? When things get crazy, will she stay and protect her new found friends, even if the price is death?
When we first join Jax as the story opens, she has already flown the coop, bought a used slug bug and a small RV, and has procured herself a campsite to live in. She already has a plan for getting herself enrolled into the local high school in Baker's Gap, after failing numerous times in other towns. This is also where she gets her first sight of the local supernatural hunter who ends up being the school hottie. Don't worry, that wasn't really a spoiler as you find this out almost immediately. That was one of my problems with this book, there was very little mystery. Most of the plot is straight up with only a few minor plot twists. It was very easy to feel like absolutely nothing was going on.I would have liked to have experienced the escape with Jax and gotten a better feel for the hostility of the life she was leading rather than just being told, "this is this, and that is that."
The awkward toss of the reader into the already executed escape was a rough start, but really the whole book feels rough and underdeveloped. There is just not enough world building for the reader to feel either comfortable in the story, or confident that it is going somewhere. This is not helped by the fact that the meat of the book is made up of silly teenage stuff. Jax gets a crush on her super hot hunter, Jax gets a BFF, Jax goes to local dinner and gets milkshaked by local bitch, Jax pines over hottie hunter, Jax goes to homecoming! It just goes on and on and it was disappointing for me because I was looking forward to a fun YA paranormal experience not teen time with residual magical effects. This felt like a story about a contemporary runaway landing in a new town and doing silly teenage stuff. The witch aspect plays a very small role until the very end of the book.
My other main problem with White Witch was that I never really connected with any of the characters. There were plenty of fun, likeable characters, but this book was so short, and there was so little development, that these characters just felt like faces put there for the direct purpose of furthering Jax's journey. Although this is exactly what characters are in relation to a hero/heroine, the reader should never recognize them as such. A reader should be so lost in the story that they see supporting characters as people, not tools to move the story along.
That being said, there were things I enjoyed very much. I loved Jax's new bestie Toni. She's a tough young lady who isn't afraid to be who she is. As a fellow Buffy nerd, I had a lot of fun with all the references to the show and definitely though Hostile 17 would have been an excellent name for Toni's band. Although I still couldn't quite connect to these nearly transparent characters, Toni was my favorite. I think this really sums up how I felt about the entire experience; fun, cute, but just not quite completely there.
The bottom line is, this was a cute but lacked direction. The story and characters were rough, underdeveloped, and felt more like a sketch of what this could have been rather than a final product. White Witch could use some more action and a final polish, but definitely has potential behind it. There is a stronger version of this story somewhere and I would be glad to read it once it is found.