Review – Artie, The Good Witch – Scarlet Hyacinth
I’m going to be very honest up front, here: I struggled with this book, to the point where I considered not finishing it a couple of times. Which annoys me, because the premise was excellent, the majority of the plot was great, and there were a lot of characters with great potential. There was a red-head on the cover (definitely an important factor). I wanted to love it.
However, throughout the entire narrative, Artie (who tells it in first person) displays the maturity and development of a twelve-year-old in his vocabulary, actions and attitudes. Whilst I understand that this was probably supposed to come off as cutely innocent (and probably would for some people), it came off to me as a petulant pre-teen. I spent time thinking I’d wandered into a YA novel by mistake.
I feel like a lot of the humour fell flat because of the juvenile tone of Artie’s voice; he’s hard to take seriously, because he sounds more like a whiny brat than a put-out adult. Again, I can see what the author was trying to do here, and it would have been awesome had they pulled it off, but I can’t honestly say that they did. Overuse of the word ‘stupid’ within the first few pages (and beyond, but not quite so badly as the beginning) tended to set a tone that the whole thing was intended for a much younger audience, until you get to the sex, which was incredibly uncomfortable to me in a way other than I’m sure the author intended it to be.
Which is really unfortunate, because as I’ve said and want to stress, this could have been a really great book. I actually feel as though it started out as a great book, but got childish instead of actually amusing somewhere along the line. If you can ignore the tone (and I’m certain plenty of people can, and that this would be more to other tastes), there’s nothing at all wrong with the story. It’s only that for me, the particular voice that it’s told in puts everything in an uncomfortable light.
This is probably the moment to point out that I hate children, so not only is this opinion unusual, but highly subjective.
I will say this, though (in an effort to be as contradictory as possible): I desperately want Disney to pick up the rights and turn this into a live-action film. I would be the first in line to buy tickets if that happened.
My point being that I really did like the story, it’s only the way it was told that bothers me (and, again, this is entirely subjective).
Final verdict: 3.5 stars for a story that I really wish I’d loved more.