**Any spoilers are unintentional and I apologize in advance if I let any slip that ruin the story for you. The purpose of the reviews are to highlight books I’ve read as part of a personal reading and blogging challenge for 2015. Read here for my personal expectations. I have not been asked by authors to do these reviews, I’m just reviewing as I read.**
Genre: Paranormal Suspense – YA (young adult)
Synopsis: Heading off for a weekend in Las Vegas with her friends, Jessie Ralle has only one worry—how to make it through the road trip in the same car with her Ex, Jimmy Kelter. The guy who broke her heart five months ago when he dumped her for no reason. The guy who’s finally ready to tell her why he did it, because he wants her back.
But what Jessie doesn’t realize is that Jimmy is the least of her problems.
In Las Vegas she meets Russ, a mesmerizing stranger who shows her how to gamble, and who never seems to lose. Curious, Jessie wants to know his secret, and in response, alone in his hotel room, he teaches her a game that opens a door to another reality.
To Witch World.
Suddenly Jessie discovers that she’s stumbled into a world where some people can do the impossible, and others may not even be human. For a time she fears she’s lost her mind. Are there really witches? Is she one of them?
My Star Rating:
The synopsis leaves so many holes it’s difficult to review without spoiling, but I’ll do my best.
Witch World was a roller coaster for me. In the beginning I was unimpressed, made no connection with Jessie the main character, who I felt was dramactic and arrogant, plus I couldn’t envision the direction Pike was headed and floundered on putting the book down all together. Then along came Russ and he peaked my interest as the first character worth my emotional investment.
Russ is an immediate mystery and captivated Jessie as much as he did me. While his description painted him deliciously, his prowess in gambling let us know something about him wasn’t normal, and as interaction between him and Jessie continued, so did my curiosity, keeping me flipping pages I thought I was done with.
Then the left hook hit and I fell in love and read for hours, losing sleep, and waking up for work with a reading hangover. When action scenes hit, Pike held me within the emotion of his characters and kept me holding on. Even when Witch World was introduced I wanted to discover the differences and understand the new game Russ taught Jessie.
The relationship between Jessie and Jimmy fell flat for me. I didn’t understand the love between them, but it’s possibly because Pike was so focused on Russ in the beginning, that Jimmy became insignificant and uninteresting in comparison. I’d like to say I understood, but I didn’t.
The duality of Jessie was confusing as well. We all have our polarizing aspects of personality, but Jessie’s felt forced by the author and lost authenticity. Something I found myself questioning and shaking my head at when it crept up into extreme actions and reactions that made no sense and had me disliking Jessie all the more.
At one point a significant death occurred. I was shocked. Not only at the fact this character was gone, but that not enough attention was brought to this fact. The disappointment made me want to shove the book into a snowbank, but I kept on hoping Pike would redeem himself and find a way for the reader to mourn the character. Nope. The opportunity never came.
Once I pushed away the disappointment in order to read on, I was clobbered by a history lesson. A few, actually. While I enjoy historical facts and the depth it brings to certain characters, this was too much, and I felt myself skimming, happy for it since it did nothing for the story but leave me dissatisfied again when a characters dies and I’m left wondering why.
I gave Witch World a 3-star rating because the plot points and characters that were good, were really good, but the others lacked depth and created frustration as the reader. I still think anyone who is a Pike lover should read this, but understand it won’t be the best piece of writing you’ve ever read, while won’t be the worst worst either. I’m all for making the reader feel a myriad of emotions, but it needs to be for the right reasons.
I do see there’s a sequel. And even though I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the first, I will still definitely check out the second and other Christopher Pike novels.
Where To Buy: Amazon.com – available in paper and ebook formats
Also Known For: Thirst Series (In my To Be Read Pile)
Author Bio and Contacts:
Website: ChristopherPikeBooks.com (not working at time of review)