I didn't like this book at all. Somehow despite it's drawbacks and flaws, I was hooked in from like page 10 to around 250. Then it quickly waned and it was a struggle to finish. I don't even know why I was hooked. It was mostly before the complete WTF started setting in but I had problems believing the story throughout. There's potential but ultimately I felt it failed. I'm definitely not pleased with it and am not going to continue the series. I might check out the author's other books because of the praise received but I'm wary. The writing was fine but this story, this world, this plot didn't work. It was convoluted, twisted in upon itself, gave no answers and there's logic problems all over the place. I liked some of the background characters but that's it. There's some inconsistencies and things that didn't make sense with the character as well. Also, I'd call it more sci-fi than fantasy with the scanner, parallel worlds and the reliance on genes giving super powers.
I think the whole parallel universe could have been better done. I think it would have helped if we'd gotten the perspective of Jessica. Maybe lead into the book with Jessica for a chapter then switch to Jessie completely, or go back and forth until they merge. Something, anything to make the witch world to make more sense. If it began like witch world was normal, it might have helped. I really honestly still don't completely get it, even after finishing the book. Especially after finishing the book, since it raised more questions than it answered.
I didn't like Jessie, the main character. Her confidence felt more like bragging, self-involved, self-absorbed bravado. Then there was the sudden switch to killer kidnapper with Kari. I mean the kidnapping didn't fit with her personality at all and then she kills Kari in self-defense but what did she expect? That Kari wouldn't fight or flee? How stupid is she? I mean clearly Susan was gone, why not try to get back her child right then and there? It doesn't make sense. They didn't know about her face changing powers then and if she was smart she could have pulled it off. Then she'd have her daughter. And where the hell was Huck when the kidnapping of Kari went on? They said they gave Huck back to Kari so Jessie kidnapped a mother from her child... Yeah, she's totally a good girl. I mean if that was the case, Jessie could have taken all three and been done with it then and there. WTF?
Jessie and the gang didn't come off like 18 year olds. While I liked how grown they appeared, when they talked about college it made me do a double take. I kept assuming they were older based on their actions and had to be reminded they were only 18. Of course, I was in college at 17, so it's entirely possible and might just be bias against teenagers that's the problem. I don't know they just really didn't...feel like an 18 year-old today would act. While the scanner was sci-fi, there's some technology lacking in the day to day lives. Like texting, TV, the internet, books, music, things like that. The only interest that was mentioned was a passing comment about ComicCon. Maybe it was just assumed it was all the same as this world but not really knowing much about the characters interests and taste left me wondering.
Jessie's instance her daughter was perfect because of her 10 witch genes creeped me out. She even said on page 264, "My daughter was superior to others because her genes were better but she wasn't some kind of goddess."Then went on and on about it through the book, eventually calling her a saint. Yet at the same time she says she wants her daughter to grow up normal. Yeah, keep telling her she's perfect because of her powers. That's really going to help Lara grow up to be helpful non-selfish power hungry asshole. *eyeroll* The use of perfect was overdone and annoying. With her attitude of 'superior genes, superior person' made me wonder if the Larpas had gotten to her first, if she would have believed everything they stand for from the get go. She kept asking every single person how many genes they had. I don't buy how Jessie was sold as good, nice girl. Letting her friend storm off alone, her drunken rudeness at the diner, her killing Kari because she made things complicated. It's like the whole story revolved around making Jessie the good girl but given her a ton of excuses for her terrible behavior. This coupled with her stance on her daughter being better because of genes doesn't make her look good at all. I'm a parent, and I know plenty of parents. Yeah, we brag about our kids and think they are perfect because they are our children, we love them. However, every time I've run into a parent talking about heritage and genes making their kid better, they are usually douches at least and racists at worst. It rubs me the wrong way and I really don't buy it. This book just pushes, and pushes, and pushes at my willingness to suspense disbelief at every turn and it's just too much. Couldn't the author at least toned it down and brought some sense into this book?
Yeah, I'm not even going to bother going in depth with the other characters at this point, Jessie was enough.
More Inconsistencies and Things That Didn't Make Sense:
On pg 319, [ Cleo ]"A powerful witch, if not conceived and raised in love, cannot know love. All it can know is power. Balance is impossible for such a soul."
"They had to be destroyed," Kendor said.
"While they were kids?" I gasped.
"Younger," Kendor said.,
Well, that's fucking great. What about the unwanted pregnancies and the child abuse? Kids gets screwed because their parent's weren't madly perfectly in love? There's no chance of a good kid coming from a bad home/family? What a crock of shit. The kind of love required to make a good witch doesn't happen hardly at all in real life yet we are suppose to believe it happens every time for witches or they are evil? Um, yeah don't buy it. Not with them being human and running around with hundreds of regular people and how love usually goes. BIG failure there and I quite honestly hate how this "you must be conceived in perfect love or you're evil" works. No choice at all? Then explain Jessie. Explain Jimmy and Kari making Huck. Are you saying Huck is going to grow up evil since his parents weren't in love? Explain Whip, he certainly wasn't conceived with love in this world yet he's nice in this world and evil in witch world. Clearly, environment plays a role. The logic doesn't even stay consistent in this book's universe.
At the end Jessie delivers the speech about not worrying about Whip being evil since it was his nice personality in the real world that was activated and whatever personality is activated is the one that dominates.
She then goes on to worry since she identifies more Jessica than Jessie yet it was Jessie that activated.
So either the theory is wrong, it doesn't really matter or the author is going to pull some bullshit to try make it so that it Jessica that activated, not Jessie. Of course, that last part was pure speculation but either the logic doesn't work or the story is going to get more convoluted and harder believe. This story already pushes the limit of parallel dimensions where everybody lives in both places and witches are aware of living everyday twice. Then there's the scanner, the witch genes, the mysterious other world that isn't parallel to either witch world or the real world but some how remembers and feeds off the suffering of people. Oh but love, perfect magical powerful love will save you. Then there's the people that can change their appearance and go invisible. Yet that doesn't appear to work on technology like cameras. Wouldn't that make it abundantly clear to the authorities? Oh, wait the Lapras are in control of everything like a conspiracy theory. Then there's the mysterious seemingly all knowing all powerful evil Alchemist who we know nothing about or understand. Oh, maybe he's the evil witch will all ten genes, like how Lara is the good witch with all 10 genes. Ugh. I don't care to speculate or think about it further. There's too much involved, too much that doesn't make sense and quite frankly, it pushes past my willingness to suspend disbelief. I don't see how any of this could come together coherently. I'm a fantasy fan and this book I just don't buy into at all. I don't think it was put well together or thought out completely. Or the next books are going to have it all make sense, but I don't see how that's possible; I have no reason to give the next book the benefit of a doubt to try reading it to see how far down the rabbit hole it goes.