Authors: James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
Publishers: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 978-0-316-03624-5

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It’s a bad day for the Allgood family; they are about to be hanged. In a stadium filled to capacity, and under the condemning eye of The One Who is The One, Wisteria, her brother Withford, and their mother and father stand on the gallows, nooses already in place.

But before the trapdoors are sprung, there is a story to be told. Perhaps more than one story since Patterson intends Witch and Wizard to be the first of a new series of novels for young readers.

This first story is narrated alternately by Wisteria [Wisty] and Whitford [Whit].

The New Order has begun to establish a totalitarian government in the land. Fearing all those who might resist their authority—especially people they condemn as witches and wizards—the New Order has been arresting and incarcerating citizens, most of them children.

The back-story to hanging day begins when New Order soldiers storm the Allgood home, arrest Wisty and Whit and charge them with being a witch and wizard. Wisty, a feisty fifteen year old, sets the humorous tone of her narration when she describes her struggle against the “commandoes” assaulting her: “The entire world was turning upside down, with me in my ridiculous pink kitty jammies.”

Also during the arrest, Wisty surprisingly discovers a previously unknown ability of hers, one that might substantiate the witch accusation. She can burst into flames!

Nevertheless, despite a fiery attempt to fight off the soldiers, Wisty and Whit are imprisoned by the New Order.

The uber villains in this book are The Ones, cohorts of The One Who is The One. There are lesser villains to contend with, of course. Byron Swain, a teenagers himself, is the informant who has identified Wisty and Whit to the The Ones.

Byron does get his comeuppance very early in the story. A wave of Wisty’s magical drumstick [!] transforms him into a—guess what—a weasel.

While incarcerated, Whit continues to pine for his lost love Celia who recently has mysteriously vanished. Then, in very realist dreams, Celia appears to Whit in his cell.

It’s from Celia—Is she a ghost or somehow real?—that Whit and Wisty learn of Shadowland, a preternatural wasteland that could provide an escape route from their prison.

As the story unfolds, Whit and Wisty discover more and more things about themselves, things that indicate they truly are a witch and wizard. From the group of guerrilla children who occupy Garfunkel’s department story, they learn of a prophecy about the Liberators, the Rescuers. According to Jamilla, present leader of the children, “There’s a prophecy—and it’s about you two.”

The Witch and Wizard series is off to an enjoyable start. It’s harmless escape fantasy designed to entertain young readers. Hopefully, the series will spin a long story before the trapdoors beneath the Allgoods’ feet are sprung—if they ever are.


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