Review #5: Witches Gone Wicked: Womby’s School for Wayward Witches (spoilers alert)

Witches Gone Wicked: Womby’s School for Wayward Witches by Sarina Dorie

Ebook

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You think you know the world of magical boarding schools? Not from a teacher’s perspective at a school for at risk youth.

Like any twenty-two-year-old who grew up obsessed with fantasy novels, Clarissa Lawrence expects all her Harry Potter fantasies to come true when she is invited to teach at a school for witches. Her dreams of learning magic–and being a good teacher–are complicated when she finds out her deceased mother was the equivalent of the Wicked Witch of the West. As if being the new “arts and crafts” teacher isn’t hard enough at a school for juvenile delinquent witches, budget cuts are just as severe in the magic community, administrators are as unrealistic in their expectations of teachers, and the job is a hazard if the students find out you can’t actually do magic.

Amidst all these challenges, Clarissa must prove she’s not her mother’s mini-me and that she belongs at the school so she can learn to control her powers. If she fails, her powers will be drained, or worse yet, she might be enslaved by the Fae.
As if this isn’t enough pressure, she has to figure out why teachers are mysteriously disappearing. If she doesn’t, she might be next.

I obtained a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Voracious Readers Only, a website which aim is to help new authors get their novels out into the world by giving them away to reviewers in exchange for an honest review. I really liked the idea of helping new authors out and possibly stumbling upon the next J.K. Rowling so I thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately, this book was not it.

Witches Gone Wicked follows Clarissa Lawrence, the newly appointed art teacher at Womby’s School for Wayward Witches. Clarissa is a witch, even though she was brought up without any knowledge of her powers, making her completely unable to control them now that she has reached adulthood so, for her, teaching at Womby’s will not only be her job but also an opportunity to learn how to use her magic. An exciting prospect!

As soon as she steps into the school though, she keeps starting accidents, getting into trouble and making enemies amongst the other teachers. As it turns out, Clarissa is Alouette Loraline’s biological daughter (a former headmistress that had turned to the dark side and committed unspeakable acts) so needless to say that most teachers are not rejoicing at her arrival. But poor Clarissa does not know anything about her biological mother, or her own magic, so she will have to use her time at the school to discover what crimes her mother has actually committed and find out how to use her own powers.

Ok so, I was not fussed on this book for multiple reasons:

  1. It is so clearly copied on Harry Potter. The school is set in a derelict castle, the main character is closely linked to someone evil, they are using wands and “hoodies” of invisibility, the position of art teacher is cursed and no one has ever maintained it for more than a year (they either died or disappeared in mysterious circumstances), the school is dotted with little creatures called “Brownies” that take care of the chores and the kitchens (just like the house elves in Harry Potter), one of the main teachers is a clear copy of Severus Snape: a gloomy and detestable man, possibly linked to evil forces, but who is really just a big softie inside, and finally the very line “I am the chosen one” is used in the book. How someone can publish a book with so much plagiarism inside it is beyond me… As you can see, this didn’t sit well with me and to be honest, it felt like I was reading Harry Potter erotica since the book is also filled with sexual themes.
  2. The writing is not great: I found too many typos to keep track of and some of the sentences are so awkwardly worded that I had to read them a good few times to make sense of them.
  3. There is just too much of everything: too many characters to keep track of, too many types of magic (from wands to flying carpets, to fairies and genies, etc…) as if the author was trying to incorporate every single type of magic into the same world and it does not always feel very consistent; and finally, too many storylines: the one where Clarissa needs to figure out what her magic affinity is and how to control her powers, the one where she needs to figure out her mother’s past, the one where she is trying to unravel another teacher’s past and the enigma of what happened to Derrick, her high school boyfriend who mysteriously disappeared years ago. Clarissa is set on finding Derrick again when she arrives at the school, but poor Derrick is never found and his storyline goes out the window.

All in all, this book felt a bit all over the place for me. I liked parts of it and I wish the author had not tried to make it so complex because it just gets confusing. Less is more sometimes. And I also wish it was not so obviously copied on Harry Potter. Also, it is classed as an adult book because of all the swearing and erotic content (which is fair enough), and yet the main character behaves like a teenager…

As it is, I do not think I would recommend it to anyone. In my opinion, it needs some re-working to have some potential. As I said, some parts of it were interesting so if it was simpler and more organised (in particular, the typos and awkward phrasing need seeing to) maybe I would have enjoyed it more.

Now, this is just my honest opinion and reading from the reviews on Goodreads, I can see that a lot of people have really enjoyed it so maybe it’s just me, who knows…

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