I found this book as a free selection at Barnes and Noble. I’d never heard of James Patterson or Gabrielle Charbonnet, but I was attracted by the shiny cover. The book is described as both an excerpt and as book 1; I’d have to say it’s more the former, but at 100 pages, it’s a generous excerpt. For some reason, the publisher thought a little tiny font would be the right choice, but that’s the beauty of e-readers – it takes only five seconds to defeat the evil masterminds.
I found the story to be only mildly interesting, but a really fast read – a victory of engaging style over modest plot. The concept is a bit strange – sort of Harry Potter meets dystopia. The book feels like the two sides haven’t really meshed together that well. The two protagonists suddenly discover their magic powers when they’re arrested by authoritarian goons led by “The One who is The One”. It’s funny in parts, but also annoying, because the book can’t make up its mind what kind of story to be. I tried to let it create its own sui generis niche, but it never really did.
Initially, I planned to seriously consider buying the rest of the book. Then I saw that excerpts of the first books in each of several following series are also available, all by James Patterson and Small-font Co-author. To me that says a) author selling out his name to make money, and b) high likelihood of inconsistent style and quality. Maybe I’m wrong (and in any case, yippee for the co-authors for getting some visibility), but it had a quelling effect on my enthusiasm – highlighting the inconsistencies rather than building on the strengths.
If you’re looking for a light, fun, fast read, I can recommend this excerpt. If you’re a J K Rowling fan with a darkly funny side, give it a shot. I can see the full work providing a nice afternoon beach read. More than that might be asking for too much.