Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Title: Witchful Thinking
Author: H.P. Mallory
Series: Jolie Wilkins Book 3
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Bantam Books
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program
Reading Challenge: 2012 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Witchful Thinking is actually the third book in the Jolie Wilkins series, although it is the first to be published by a major publisher. The first two books, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble and Toil and Trouble, are both self-published and most widely available in digital format. I did not realize this when I requested Witchful Thinking from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program or I would not have selected this book. I was able to borrow a paperback copy of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble from my library to review but had no luck obtaining a physical copy of Toil and Trouble even though both the author's website and Amazon show that a paperback version should exist.
I'm actually not sure if one would be better off reading both of the previous books in the series or just starting straight in with Witchful Thinking. Because this is the first book from a traditional publisher, many people seeing it in a bookstore would have no idea that there were two books already in the series. The story takes this into account heavily with the prologue to this book being the first chapter from Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble. Having read that book, I could identify major sections of information dumping to catch the reader up on all that had happened when Jolie first met Rand. I had a little more trouble identifying pure information dumps from the second book only because I have not read it. Having missed out on that action, it was very clear that I was being brought up to date but I was not as clear on how much of that portion of the story was repetition and how much was simply being examined through a new lens based on current events. It felt like it took over half the book to really get into the current action. While this might be good for a first time reader, it was frustrating to know how much repetition was happening.
My biggest issue with this series, especially this book, is that I simply don't like the characters all that much. I must be used to much stronger female characters from reading a lot of urban fantasy. Jolie drove me absolutely crazy because she was such a doormat. Every time she made a decision, she would question herself and fill her own head with self-doubt. She changed her mind every time a hot guy entered the room and it didn't always seem to matter which one. She is told it is her destiny to be Queen of the Underworld and takes on the role even though she is constantly whining that it is one she doesn't want. She decides to rule in her own way only to have those around her change her ideas and block her at every turn. The constant whining about Rand and her inability to hold her own where he was concerned truly made me want to throw the book across the room at times. Rand had a lot of the same issues as Jolie as far as making decisions and changing his mind and not acting on his feelings and so on. I realize it is a paranormal romance, which is not a genre I read much, but does that mean the characters must be spineless?
I didn't particularly like the format of this book either with the use of diary entries. Some of them felt like just ways to dump information while others were more of Jolie's whining and uncertainty.
Without being too spoilery, I will say that the ending seemed an awfully convenient way to keep the series going but I'm afraid it will lend itself to even more repetition and information dumping in future books. I won't be sticking around to find out though as this is not a series that I plan to continue.
Related Post: My review of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
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