Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Red Queen (Witch World #1)

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?

Red Queen is a new young adult novel in the Witch World series by best-selling author Christopher Pike. There are two worlds: one world is populated by humans, and the other world is populated by witches. One plays the card game Twenty-One, known as Blackjack, the other symbolically plays Twenty-Two, known as Red Queen. Jessie Ralle is introduced to this bifurcated world through her high school graduation road trips. She has only one worry: how to make it through the road trip with her ex, Jimmy Kelter, the guy who broke her heart five months ago when he dumped her for no reason. Once they arrive in Las Vegas, Jessie soon realizes that Jimmy is the least of her problems.

In Las Vegas she meets Russ, a mesmerizing stranger who shows her how to gamble and win big. Russ never seems to lose, which captivates Jessie. Curious, she wants to know the secret his secret, and in response, goes alone with him to his hotel room. Unfortunately, her short encounter with Russ leads her on a bizarre journey that murders her and brings her back to life not only as a witch but as a mother to a nearly perfect witch child coveted by the Lapras, a secret organization of evil witches who want to take over the world. In the human world, she is Jessie; in witch world, she is Jessica. As she adjusts to her new dual life with supernatural witch powers, she plunges into dangerous situations and terrifying messes. Family secrets are also revealed. Her only hope is the Tar, the good witches, who vow to protect her from the Lapras.

Red Queen is a new novel series by Christopher Pike. Initially the novel was difficult to follow because the dual universe aspect surprised me. It can be a confusing ride if readers do not pay close attention to the dual worlds. There is a lot of juxtaposition between the worlds and the powers that connect them: good and evil, pain and pleasure, love and hate. Additionally, the morbid plot, violence, and unsympathetic protagonist may deter some people from finishing the novel. As a result, I believe Red Queen is most appropriate for adults, not young teens.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Witch World series, Black Knight.