REVIEW: Well Witched by Frances Hardinge

REVIEW: Well Witched by Frances HardingeWell Witched by Frances Hardinge
Published: HarperCollins Children's Books (2008), Hardcover, 400pg
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction
Source: Library


Summary:

Ryan and his friends don’t think twice about stealing some money from a wishing well. After all, who’s really going to miss a few tarnished coins?

The well witch does.

And she demands payback: Now Ryan, Josh, and Chelle must serve her . . . and the wishes that lie rotting at the bottom of her well. Each takes on powers they didn’t ask for and don’t want. Ryan grows strange bumps—are they eyes?—between his knuckles; Chelle starts speaking the secrets of strangers, no matter how awful and bloody; and Josh can suddenly—inexplicably—grant even the darkest of wishes, the kind of wishes that should never come true.

Darkly witty, wholly unexpected, and exquisitely sinister, Frances Hardinge’s Well Witched is one well-cast tale that readers didn’t know they were wishing for. (from Amazon)

Buy on Amazon | Goodreads

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In one sentence: Beautiful, exciting story with an underlayer of super-creepy.

I discovered a previously overlooked section of my library last month, where I found some really good books (well, one really good book, two so-so books, and one dud). Well Witched was one of them (the good ones, that is), and it’s turned me into a Frances Hardinge fan for life.

It’s really hard for me to write reviews about books I really love, so this’ll be short. Well Witched is superbly written, with some of the best characters and story and sentences that are on par with Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. Once I started reading it I was immediately sucked into the world and didn’t emerge until several hours later, when it ended. I had a grand time, though it was scary at times (both in the supernatural and changing-relationships-due-to-growing-up sense) and sad at others.

I really, really liked the writing.

It’s a fantastic book, and I can’t recommend it enough. Like the Brothers Grimm’s stories? You’ll like this. Like Diane Duane and Susan Cooper? You’ll like this. Like awesome YA fantasy with creepy non-humans characters that nevertheless have hearts, with kids that have to deal with the supernatural as well as puberty and parents, with a detailed world worthy of an Emma Bull novel? You’ll like this. Get it. You won’t regret it.

Read: June 2009

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