Monday, 28 November 2011

Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabriella Lepore

Won from Goodreads

This is a story about siblings who discover they are witches and have to learn how to control their new found powers. It’s an engaging read, but felt perhaps a bit rushed for me personally.

I think the start really threw me when I first picked this up. You’re thrown straightaway into the story and, for me, this requires a really obvious danger or lots of action. Instead, we were told there was danger and didn’t really see anything. After this first hiccup I was fine and the story started to draw me in. I guess for some the start would feel too slow, but I always approach fantasy with the mind for a slow start that I can relish and learn from.

The protagonists are Mia and her brother Dino, both witches (witches is more an occupation than the counterpart to warlocks). Mostly, I felt, we’re in Mia’s head and I much preferred that. The sporadic times in Dino’s mind sometimes confused me and in general, I didn’t like him. After he explained why he kept brushing Mia off, it wasn’t as bad, but I felt he had little tact throughout the events.

Learning the magic was interesting (if a bit quick) and I liked the idea that witches have different types of set skills, with varying levels of ability. The only kind of annoying thing was that every type seemed to be destined to be incredibly powerful. I’m not really into witch-lore, but surely logic dictates you’ve got to have some people who are particularly weak?

The romance in the book was another element that felt rather quick, and I had to suppress an “Oh” of surprise when it happened. I knew it would happen, but the speed it happened really annoyed me. It was, again, the whole paranormal element that I really hate. Girl meets boy who is dangerous and mysterious, someone she is warned against. Boy feels like he isn’t allowed/shouldn’t be there. They fall in love anyway; because love overcomes everything… I’m being judgemental, but I’d like my heroine to exercise some common sense: everyone can overcome their feelings in some way. That aside, I felt that he really did like her; I wasn’t as sure with her love. But the struggle he had with it, and the false bravado, is something I could understand and that made him more human and empathicable (I just made up a word!).

The wording sometimes threw me a little too. One passage was Without another word they accepted their fate and left the security of the car. The simple act was the first step on a path that would subsequently change their lives for ever. Neither was prepared, but destiny had picked them and it was out of their hands. My exact not read: "Just...what?" I don't really know how to respond, as a reader, to that statement. I just dislike the bit about destiny picked them: it just seems weird.

This is not a bad read, and at around 250 pages, it only took me a few hours to digest. I wouldn’t rush out to buy it, but if it’s on sale you might be relatively pleased with it.

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