I never thought I would find a book that would fight for the title of worst book so fast. After Warcross, I thought it was all over. There could never be a book as awful as Warcross, right? Well I guess How to Hang a Witch proved me wrong. It starts out fine, but it progressively gets worse and worse until you would rather burn the book than read it to the end. It’s like the book wears a mask to deceive you and then shows it’s true ugly self at the end. Let’s just say I’m glad How to Hang a Witch isn’t a series…hahaha… yep, definetly no other books…
Salem was a place that Sam never thought she would go to. She had always lived in the city and since her dad forbade her from seeing her Grandmother, going to Salem seemed like it would never happen. When Sam’s dad goes into a coma, Vivian (her step-mother) suggests that they move to Salem to save money. Sam doesn’t like this idea at first since she’ll be away from her dad for a little while, but she soon learns that not being able to see her dad for a couple days is the least of her worries. Sam has a bad run in with the descendants, and soon, The whole school hates her guts. The only one she can turn to is Jaxon, but as things continue to go wrong in Salem, Sam turns away from Jaxon, knowing he won’t believe her and what she’s seen, and instead teams up with Elijah (a ghost who is not very happy that Sam is staying in her grandmother’s house) in order to put a stop to everything happening in Salem once and for all.
Starting off with the characters, Sam was actually pretty interesting at the beginning of the book. She was a tomboy but she wasn’t clichéd. However, towards the end of the book she is just annoying. The same thing goes for almost every other character in the book. Jackson was an OK character at the beginning of the book and he stays constant throughout, but Eli has the same problem as Sam. I liked Eli at the beginning because he was like Sam’s sassy ghost friend and I found that funny, but later on, he just becomes unbearable. The only characters who become better as the book progresses are the descendants. I couldn’t tell any descendants apart at the beginning, but later on I could distinguish them a bit. The only problem is that all of the descendants are clichéd. Alice is harsh, Mary is a crybaby, Lizzie is cruel, and Savannah is kind. Even the guy descendant only had the character trait of “boy” until later on in the book.
I actually like the setting in this book. It takes place in the small town of Salem, which doesn’t have many possibilities in terms of creativeness, but the book makes it work. The spots Sam goes to all help give Salem this homey, yet eerie vibe. Everything from the coffee shop to the mysterious woods help create an interesting image of Salem. These settings also correspond with the plot. When Sam goes to Mrs. Meriwether’s house, the plot has this happy and hopeful tone, whereas when Sam goes back into her own house, the plot turns to a more creepy tone
As for the plot itself, well… it’s just plain confusing. Each relationship between two characters is its own story line. The interactions Sam has with each person drives the focus away from the main plot instead of towards it. Even the plot itself is twisted. The mystery is nothing more than a chain of hypotheses from Sam. One moment you think Sam is cursed, then it may be her family, then it may be all of the descendants, then it may be something even worse than that. Now, from what I just wrote, it may seem like a nice progressing plot, but the way it advances is terrible. Each new clue jolts the plot in another direction and with the character interactions added into the mix, the book becomes almost impossible to follow.
Now, here comes the best part. Earlier, I said Sam became annoying toward the end of the book along with Eli. Well, here’s why. So at the beginning, it’s clear that Sam and Jaxon have a bit of a relationship going on. Jaxon even confesses his feelings to her. Sam doesn’t reject his love, instead, she pushes him on. Now that alone might not seem so bad, but here’s the worst part. Sam, knowing that Jaxon loves her, starts a relationship with Eli. #1: I don’t know how that could happen since Eli is a ghost (they do some… questionable things) and #2: Sam starts a relationship with both guys at the same time and as the book goes on it just gets worse and worse. I mean, at the end, (SPOILER AHEAD) Eli has to leave, and Sam begs him not to, even telling Jaxon to leave so she can beg with Eli. Only after Eli is gone does she continue her relationship with Jaxon. (OUT OF SPOILER TERRITORY) I shouldn’t even have to explain how terrible that is. It’s like a love triangle gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Lastly, the ending is… well, for the state the book is in toward the end, expected. The climax is boring and the plot twist is obvious. It doesn’t help that the terrible love triangle also reaches its climax during that time. Oh, and the mystery that has been brewing up all this time? Yeah, it doesn’t even make sense in the end. The climax doesn’t utilize the clues we are given, and instead, it just makes up its own ending regardless of whether it makes sense or not. But, as I said, It was expected for the state the book was in toward the end. I’m not saying it has an excuse to be terrible, I’m just saying it was expected.
Overall, this book had promise in the beginning, but that promise was quickly turned into bad writing and a forgettable mystery. The mystery is confusing for all of the wrong reasons, and the plot doesn’t help it at all. If you want to read this book, don’t. Unless you don’t care about the pain you will go through, it’s not worth it.
What is hidden, come to view. Make plain the hand with which you drew. Your magic mark I wish to see. With these three drops reveal to me.