I'm a fast reader. I mean, a really fast reader. When I was younger, probably seven or eight years old, the school had me tested for dyslexia because I had so much trouble reading out loud in class. I would miss out words and whole lines of text - and have no idea I'd done it. (It always made perfect sense to me!)
They used to accuse me of lying when I said I'd finished a book during quiet reading time, convinced I'd just skimmed through - because no one could possibly read that quickly.
But then the tests came back, and it turned out that I could, in fact, read that fast - and the problem I had with reading out loud, was to do with my mouth not being able to keep up with my brain. (at least, that's how they explained it to seven-year-old me. I'm sure it's probably more complicated than that!)
After that, they stopped me taking part in reading with the class, and I used to go and help the younger children learn to read, in a funny little cupboard/reading nook between two classrooms. (I have very fond memories of that little cupboard!)
I still struggle to read out loud, although I am much better at it than I used to be, and I can finish a standard sized novel in a matter of hours - which is why, when I tell you it took me two weeks to read The Witch's kiss, that you'll understand this review will not be a good one.
To be fair, it won't be a bad one either - but that's half the problem. This book was so middle-of-the-road that I literally have nothing to say about it.
**** Spoilers ahead!***
The idea was good. A young girl who happens to be a witch, discovers she is the Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness-
Yes, that's the Buffy intro, but you get the gist.
Her name was Merry - short for Meredith. An average teen (except for the witch thing) who lived in a little town in England. (I admit that I loved that this book was 'British'. So very few are, and it was fun to 'watch' them have a cup of tea at every crisis.)
As every good Chosen One should, Merry had a sidekick in the shape of her older brother, and a grandmother who acted as guide - as well as a notebook that talked to her, a braid of hair that protected her, and a key that showed her the way.
Her task was to defeat a Very Bad Warlock called Gwydion - and his evil man-servant, Jack - The King of Hearts.
Jack was only a teen himself, (blond, buff, and still full of old-fashioned chivalry) but he spent his time cutting out the hearts of lovers at his masters request. Gwydion then took the hearts and kept them in little jars and used them as the source of his power.
Since Jack and Gwydion were linked, Merry had to kill Jack in order to kill Gwydion - which should have been simple. But, as it turned out, Jack was less of the Evil Man servant first assumed, and more tortured soul. As his tragic back story was revealed, Merry fell hopelessly in love.
Nevertheless, she and her brother defeated the evil Gwydion, killing Jack in the process and releasing him from his bonds to his master.
...and I felt as much empathy for the characters as you did reading that brief summary.
It could have been great. There was so much promise with the plot, so many different ways the writers could have taken it - I did enjoy that aspect. But every character fell flat, and that, for me, is the worst thing a book could ever do.
I'm one of those weirdos who likes to cry at books. I like to laugh along with characters, at them, cheer them on and yell at them for their stupidity. My favourite books all have characters that I would consider real people - who I can mourn the loss of when I get to the end.
I got to the end of The Witch's Kiss, and felt nothing but relief at having got through it. Andy even laughed, saying that he knew exactly what I thought of it, based on the sigh I emitted as I closed the book and set it on my lap.
And that is the end of my review. I wish I had more to say, I really do - but I guess you can't win 'em all!