I can’t decide between 2 or 3 stars for this book, so I’m going with 2. The basic blurb about this book doesn’t even scratch the surface. It basically says this is a story about Jessie’s graduation trip to Las Vegas where she reunites with her ex but also meets someone new who teachers her about magic. I guess, that does do if you want to put it in a non-spoiler-y nutshell, but it didn’t prepare me for the story ahead. Once you get past the first hundred pages and find out more about Jessie’s witch-y heritage, the story is so complicated that I had trouble keeping up, and not in a good way.
The gist of it is that in this strange world, there are actually two separate “worlds”, which I’m going to refer to as dimensions to simplify things. Jessie lives in the Real World and after she dies (which is how the witches are “awakened”), she finds herself in Witch World, the parallel dimension. Most things are similar in this world, the biggest difference seems to be that that everyone plays Red Queen instead of Black Jack and everyone goes by their full first name instead of a diminutive nickname (ie Jessie becomes Jessica, Jimmy becomes James, Russ becomes Russell and so on). In his explanation, Jessie’s dad basically says that the two worlds are connected and everything that happens in one happens most of the time in the other, but not always and lately there have been some differences. Awakened witches have to live the same day twice, literally going to sleep in the real world at dawn and waking up in Witch World to repeat the same day. In theory, it’s all the same, but throughout the story, Jessie’s days are never even remotely similar.
This just feels like a novel tha t was written in an half-assed way, you know? Like it could have been great if the author had put in a bit more effort and fleshed things out more. How he managed to make the book 500+ pages and still make me feel like he didn’t put enough effort into it is amazing, but it’s how I felt. The whole idea of a parallel world felt a little preposterous in the way Pike explains it and then it felt like he focused all his energy into making Jessie as annoying as possible and let everything else fall away. It all felt so underdeveloped that I could cry. The best example I can give is that they don’t even give the real world a name, but it’s implied that calling it the real world isn’t proper. Witch World is Witch World, but every time one of the important witch’s speak about the other world, they simply say “what you refer to as the real world.” Geez, wouldn’t it be easier to NAME the other fucking dimension? Instead of this song and dance, just give it a proper goddamn label and be done with it. Another thing that really bugged me were the names. All the characters have very generic feeling names. Jessica, James, Alexis, Russell, Frank, Michael….it’s like the author looked at a top 100 baby names list and just picked at random.
Normally at this point, I would rant endlessly about the cliffhanger, but to be honest, this one didn’t bother me at all. I think it’s because I wasn’t invested enough with these characters to truly care what happened next.
I really wanted to like this story. I went in with relatively high hopes because I always end up loving witch tales, but this just didn’t do it. I see a lot of raving reviews, so maybe I’m missing. I can say that I don’t plan to read the sequel to this tale or anything else by Christopher Pike. I’m sure he’s other books are great, but this was just too much of disappointment to do again.