"A woman haunted the woods behind my house."
(This is going to sound a bit like a rant. Sometimes a reader needs to do that. I apologize in advance.)
The woman in white. Interesting enough all by itself, but paired with magic and witches, and multiple dead teenagers in a small town in the USA, it's all kinds of awesome. With that being said, I did have a lot of trouble with how that was dealt with. I found it hard to get into the book. Then the middle was okay, fast paced and interesting enough ("interesting" seems to be the only word I can find to describe it, which speaks for itself just a little bit). But the ending made it really hard to like the book at all, because everything is turned upside down and bordering ridiculous.
"I told her - and my therapist - that the nightmares had stopped. And they had, technically. As long as I didn't let myself sleep."
But let's look at this one by one. The plot: the idea was awesome, as I've sad. The way it was written way okay, but it could have been better. In the beginning, it always felt like something was missing. In the end, there was just too much of everything and it seemed so random at times.
"Magic isn't real." "Ghosts aren't either, remember? I don't see you questioning that."
(view spoiler)It also could have been more mysterious. The flashbacks were a great idea, but too obvious. Also the witch thing… if you put an old woman all alone in a creepy house, and then call her a witch on the first page, we're going to assume she is a witch. Don't pretend it's a plot twist.
"You know as well as I do that nothing good ever happens when there's a young MacAllister in this town. They're cursed."
The characters ran along the same lines. They were okay, funny, interesting and even a little mysterious. But there always seemed to be something missing. And I'm not even talking about things that were left out to make the plot twists more interesting, they just didn't feel well rounded. Their backstories, seemed a little random (again, me being repetitive with adjectives, but it's hard to find others that fit here…) and even though that all came together in the end, none of it felt smooth to me. It all felt too forced, too obvious, too… I don't even know what word I'm looking for now.
"Don't let the fact that he's gone turn you into a ghost."
That all seems really negative, I know. But here is why I still gave it 3 out of 5: it was fun. I want more writers to dive into subjects like ghosts and magic (but especially ghosts, and ladies in white and stuff…) and just have fun with it. Everyone is always trying to become the next Stephen King when venturing into the Horror genre. But we already have a Stephen King. What we need is something new, something fresh. And "A Magic Dark and Bright" was just that, a much needed breath of fresh air in the YA horror genre. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but I'll still continue this series.
"It's not murder, little sister. It's survival. They are the antelope, and I am the lion."