April 20, 2010

Review: Wit'ch Fire

Wit'ch Fire (The Banned and the Banished, #1) Wit'ch Fire by James Clemens

Wit'ch Fire grabs you in the first scene, and doesn't let go until the very end. This is the beginning of a new fantasy series--the Banned and the Banished--by first-time author James Clemens, but its sophistication and style are reminiscent of experienced fantasists such as Guy Gavriel Kay and George R.R. Martin. Elena is "the wit'ch of spirit and stone," born of a deadly alliance between three powerful mages in fulfillment of prophecy. But can she learn how to use her powers in time to resist the forces of the Dark Lord? She is joined in her battle by some unlikely allies, but the motley crew may be the only hope for a threatened world. Clemens handles plot and characterization deftly, but the addition of lots of un'neccesary apos'trophes to let you know you're reading a fantasy is a little distracting. Still, Wit'ch Fire is a fast-moving, entertaining read that's definitely worth your time.


This book had a really fun beginning. Showing that the book we are about to read is a history of how the old world ended, and that it is nothing but lies. Promising, right? How many fantasy books start off like that? Not many so I was really excited to start out.

Within 20 pages, nothing big really popped out. The reader has read the prologue that gives us some history, and we're rushing on to meet our young heroine. Who is just coming into her powers and is now a hunted girl because of them.

I've read a lot of fantasy books, and it's only natural to hit the same story over and over again. The thing with good fantasy books if they don't have a new idea, then the author takes the same old tale and spices it up. Spices it up by the writing style, characters and how they interact, and so many little factors. This book didn't really have any of that.

After 175 pages I can confidently say this book has solid writing, really good and descriptive. However, after that many pages all of the characters introduced, and still being introduced, I just couldn't connect with them. I was not interested in them, I could profile all of them in to standard fantasy character catergories. For all of the great writing, the characters never developed. I know it takes time for you to connect to the characters especially when some are still be introduced. After 175 pages, there should be some characters you care about, the author should be able to make you want to know the new ones.

After 175 pages, nothing new was being added to the plot and I was bored. Book Boredom is a rare thing that I have rarely visited, and quite frankly don't like to stay in too long. So out of self preservation, I stopped.

Then picked it up again and tried last week to read it. Maybe I wasn't in the mood (which can some times happen with fantasy), maybe I just didn't read enough, and so many other excuses.

First off no matter the fantasy book, or how many times the same old tale is being told. It should still give you something to make it new.

175-200 pages should be more then enough time to connect with a book, if it takes more the author is not doing their job.

Bottom Line:

This book had a great beginning and fantastic writing. Swiftly it falls into the standard fantasy plot and it doesn't distinguish itself from the other books out there. I found myself not caring about the characters. After 175 pages Book Boredom set in hard, and trying to pick it up again after starting did not cure it. For long term fantasy fans, stay away from this one. New fantasy adventurers, there's better things out there.

Sexual Content:

Nothing within 175 pages, not even a kiss.


1/5- I couldn't finish it or wish I hadn't

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