Friday, August 22, 2008

Review: "Witch" by Christopher Pike

Witch, by Christopher Pike, is about a teen girl, Julia, who has inherited extraordinary powers from a tradition of good witches. Only the females in the family possess these gifts. She has the power to heal with the touch of her hand. If she looks into water with sunlight shining on it, she can watch people and events in faraway places. Before her mother passed away, she warned her daughter to never look into the water with moonlight shining on it.

However, she accidentally looks into the pond near her home under the moonlight to see a future vision of a young man killed in a late night burglary dying in her own arms. She is shocked by this image and becomes sickened with fear. Only later, when Julia attends a football game at her high school, she meets the young man from her vision. Jim, after she learns his name, happens to be her best friend's new boyfriend!

Julia falls for him, but it is an ill-fated love. She uses her gifts and attempts to change fate so that he would not have to die. The gunman who shot Jim in her vision invokes so much hatred inside her that she feels compelled to destroy him. Can her best friend, Amy, save her before it is too late? She is blessed with supernatural abilities, but she will even risk her own life to save those dear to her. With so many unexpected twists and new surprises, Julia feels overwhelmed by her own actions and beliefs. Nonetheless, Julia's final decision to these answers may come at a terrible cost.

Pike (pseudonym for Kevin McFadden) is a bestselling author of young adult fiction who specializes in the thriller genre. Witch is a teen thriller first published in 1990 and released again with a new cover (240 pages total) in 2001. He is also well-known for his The Last Vampire novel series. I borrowed this book from the library to introduce myself to his writing style.

Although I enjoyed the book, I thought it meandered abruptly in prose and plot development. The storyline just didn't flow well to keep me hungry for more. I never really understood Julia's personality and the effects of her powers. It had a tragic ending (which I won't spoil), and had me wondering in a bewildered way what should I take from this event. I would say that people cannot change their destinies. Fate is already determined for each individual soul, and Julia did something (impulsively and naively) that she had to pay dearly for her mistakes. I thought this book could have been longer (even up to 300 pages to keep it within the teen thriller genre guidelines). I would have also desired to learn more about Julia's family background.

I can remember reading teen thrillers when I was still in grade school. This period initially sparked my interest in paranormal mysteries and romances. If you are a fan of the Fear Street novel series by R.L. Stine, you will definitely enjoy this quick read. This is my first book specifically on witches, and can't wait to read more.

Stay tuned for the next book by Christopher Pike, The Last Vampire.

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