OK, this was one of those books that just made me want to read more. It was an awesome read. I *loved* this book and would recommend it to all my friends.
Honestly, I read it because I wanted to know what all the hype was about. And when I started reading it, I wasn't entirely convinced. It was a little slow to start-- something that is not necessarily a bad thing. More than that, I had a little trouble with my suspension-of-disbelief with some of the politics involved in the premise. Allow me to explain: The story revolves around the modern discovery that witches (of the bubble-bubble-toil-and-trouble variety) do exist. I had no problems with that. But there's all this political stuff linked to that discovery that was hard for me to "get with". Particularly when the government started burning witches at the stake, and then drowning them.... I just had difficulty believing that this could really happen in modern times. It jarred me. But lemme just say, if you feel the same way, get over it. The rest of the story is worth it. I continued reading because I found the characters to be intriguing and fresh. I wanted to see if the potential played out.
At the beginning, I expected the story to be a little canned. I expected the high school thing. I expected idunno... the girlfriend to be a witch, and so on and so forth. *Not* what happened. The story kind of has a *wham* moment when you're like... what the hell? And then it seems like it's going to really get going. Then it... kind of gets going. But not yet. Not really. Just wait for it. All I can say is keep reading. Keep reading. No really. KEEP READING.
The story *really* gets going after you get through a preliminary sequence that, yes, is actually very important to the story, though not nearly as enjoyable (IMHO) as the rest. I will say again, reading the first bit is entirely worth it. Also, as I write this, I realize that it sounds like I am saying the first bit is bad, and that is not the case. The whole thing is well written. The characters are unique from the get-go. It's just that the beginning honestly does not do justice to the body of this work.
So... what rocked:
- The characters! These characters really stick in your head. They're so *real*. They are believable, and loveable, and understandable. They're your new BFFs. You will root for them, and cry for them, and shriek in fear as horrible things come at them. Oh. And you will laugh, even though the whole world has gone to hell.
- The dialogue: I know. It kind of comes back to the characters. But the dialogue is great. No awkward conversations. The dialogue reads really well and ties together the whole massive adventure with thoughtfulness and laughter.
- The wisdom: I don't see this in a lot of books. I mean, a lot of books *try* to be wise, but just come off as contrived. And no, this book is not *trying* to be wise, as far as I can tell. There were just a few little profound statements here and there that really made me stop and think. Things that I really connected with. These came through moments where the characters were reflecting or talking. I don't think an author can make this stuff up-- it comes from bringing something *real* to your books, and again, in my humble opinion, that's a gift that not many authors have. This was probably what turned this book from "like" to "love" for me. It had some real depth.
- Kick-ass pacing: Once we got past the beginning, the pacing was killer. I was tired trying to keep up. I was like... "Wait, guys, can we stop and take a break for a minute?" But I didn't want to stop. Not really.
- The dog. OMG, I love the dog. And while it might have something to do with the fact that he is sooooooo much like my dog (aside from the glowing part), he is just beyond awesome. Read it for the dog, if nothing else.
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