Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

The Lost The Lost:
Witch and Wizard 5
by James Patterson And Emily Raymond
Random House

Supplied for review by Random HouseNew Zealand

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

James Patterson is an immensely popular author – he holds the the Guinness World Record for being the first person to sell 1 million e-books. Does that mean that he’s any good? I’m not so sure. Let’s assume in this collaboration that, as the senior author, he’s done the world-building and plot outline, and Emily Raymond has done the bulk of the writing. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve picked up the fifth (and last) book of a series, without reading any of the earlier novels. But, I still expect to get some kind of feel for the setting. Which isn’t much.

There is a City, somewhere in a dystopian future. Somewhere outside it is a desert where Horsemen come from. And that’s about it. There’s no infrastructure, and certainly no "rest of the world", so how do all these people get fed? There is technology and there is magic, so this qualifies as urban fantasy – except for some reason the magic felt more like a super-power, giving a comic book quality to the whole thing. This might have something to do with the over-the-top no-limitations nature of magic in Witch & Wizard. Or it might relate to the way a major character submits to the excision of magic, having their power removed by machine-generated infrasound of all things. No, I didn’t understand why – why that would work, or why anyone with any kind of gift allow it to be arbitrarily removed.

The plot seems to be mainly about the recycling of old villains so the sibling Witch and Wizard can save their City from darkest evil (yet again, apparently). There are some good bits, some exciting scenes, and some excellent lines – for which I think we must thank Ms Raymond. I particularly liked, when the TV came on with ranting villain at 5am… "If this dictator business doesn’t work out, he’s got a great future as an alarm clock". The fans seem to be divided, but to me this feels like a sausage of a book, made of bits and pieces, a link in a chain, churned out without much thought or care. And, frankly, I did not much care for it, either.

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