November’s Book Club: The Last Witch

I’m not sure where to start with this one other than I was not mentally prepared to read a collection of short stories. A few of these were interesting, for example the retelling of Beauty and the Beast where the Beast has been cursed by a vampire like creature and pays to have girls stay with him. Most of the stories, however, had me thinking about Paul from Dune.

For anyone who has not had the pleasure of reading Dune, or watching the movie, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. The catalyst for the story is betrayal, of course, and Paul is catapulted out of the comfort of his life and into the harsh desert. I have the unpopular opinion that Dune is a terrible book as the characters are flat and Paul’s purpose is to be the chosen one of chosen ones. Let’s take a wealthy boy and put him in charge of a native people because someone came and added a legend to their culture. It was too convenient and felt insensitive to the native’s way of life.

The stories are very different, but I feel the same way about Geralt that I did about Paul — He’s too perfect and one dimensional making the story read as a video game. After reading this, I actually understand why these books were turned into a video game: the plot allows for pivoting based upon character decisions.

I have to be honest and say that I couldn’t finish this one and moved on to December’s book club (because life’s too short to read bad books). The Hate U Give has been on my to read list for a while, but I’ve been struggling to pick it up because the topic is heavy. Despite it’s heaviness (and having read a few chapters already it is heavy), it seems unfair to put off reading it with everything that’s going on right now.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.