People touted this book as a read for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other television shows that you are probably too young to have watched. Enough of them did it that it sounded like they were looking at the same Cliffs Notes, and you know what? I wouldn’t blame them. I really, really struggled to read this book. It felt like being on the road with a dad who has a timed agenda and doesn’t care if you need to go to the bathroom or develop characters or whatever – we are making it to our destination on time, no matter what! I gave it two stars and filed it under nightmares, but it is a Bloomsbury Spark read, so if you don’t want to take my word for it (and lots of folks on Goodreads gave it a four or five stars ???), you can download this ebook for under $3.
From the moment she first learned the truth about witches…she knew she was born to fight them.
Now, at sixteen, Iris is the lone girl on the Witch Hunters Special Ops Team.
But when Iris meets a boy named Arlo, he might just be the key to preventing an evil uprising in Southern California.
Together they’re ready to protect the human race at all costs. Because that’s what witch hunters do.
Welcome to Hollywood.
Plot killed this book. It literally did a hit and run on both character development and world building in its race to the resolution. Iris, who is suppose to be the character who readers connect with is hard to connect with because we know so little about what makes her tick beyond her desire to prove her ability despite her gender. Readers do know she feels something for Arlo, but it is mostly via the jealousy she spews through half the book. Little time is given to develop her, him, or their relationship beyond a few training exercises. Secondary characters are only given a stock personality trait and an identity based on their genetics and abilities. I will admit that Belinda’s stock personality amused me, and I was really sad the author didn’t take her character and really run with it because there was potential for fun there. These decisions really hurt the story the most when the author wanted us to feel surprised or shocked by the way the characters “change” at the end, but, really, we didn’t know them to begin with, so it was just an um, okay moment instead of a revelation. The lack of strong world building was also a problem. After setting up a scenario where the witches and hunters were supposedly mortal enemies, including a scene of torture, the scenario shifted to feel more like a mean girls versus Iris concept. This included the snippy insulting banter and the requisite moment where they realized they didn’t have to be enemies. Look, I’m not opposed to a plot driven book. I actually enjoy them often, but remember the journey can be just as important as the destination, and in this case, the lack of journey really devalued the arrival at the destination. Seriously, the plot even had to take a pit stop to get directions from a stranger from Wales since it got a little lost near the end. I think there was a lot of potential here for a witty commentary on society or frenemies or celebrity. Several of the characters grabbed my interest initially. Pacing could have made all the difference, and I’m disappointed that no one took the time to force the plot to slow down.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.