If I cannot live in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world pre- or post- Vol-Vol…he-who-must-not-be-named, can I live in the world Annastaysia Savage created in Any Witch Way? I thought Annastaysia’s world-building was superb. The story starts in our reality, but as Sadie learns of her true identity, our reality blends and eventually fades into the realm of magik and fantasy. Annastaysia incorporates all of the magical creatures and myths we grew up reading about in fairy tale books from imps and nymphs and centaurs to creatures that may be a little obscure. She also creates her own vivid and terrifying, evil creatures for Sadie to battle. She introduces these creatures without bombarding the reader with too much back story.
Any Witch Way by Annastaysia Savage
Released: April 2011
Publisher: Journal Stone
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Enduring the teasing and ridicule of her school mates, Sadie struggles through life as a pre-teen on the eve of her 13th birthday. Three years ago, a car crash took her mother, but Sadie never saw her body. She refuses to believe her mother is gone. Holding fast to that feeling earns her the nickname “Crazy Sadie.”
Despite her one wish to be normal, Sadie only finds solace with a small group of unusual characters. These unlikely friends give her a semi-normal life outside of school in a bookstore where strange and mystical things seem to happen. If Sadie entertains her deepest suspicions, her friends are a little mystical.
When her birthday arrives, however, Sadie finds herself whisked into a magical world that swirls just under the surface of normal life. Not only does she learn she’ll soon become a witch, but she also discovers she must battle The Syndicate to save her new world.
The world Annastaysia created was so vividly described too. Beautiful images of the magikal realm were painted in my mind as I read. But, I was confused when the different realms and planes were brought up. While I have a vague concept of what the planes are, I’m not entirely sure how they work. This doesn’t conflict with the reader’s ability to understand the storyline or appreciate the world, but it might make a reader curious.
Any Witch Way was an action-packed novel from start to finish. Around every corner, enemies, strange creatures, and paralyzing potions confront Sadie as she tries to put the Syndicate at bay. Even though there is a lot of history to introduce to Sadie and the reader, it doesn’t slow down the plot any. Oh, and I should mention this story is filled with plot twists. I did not predict what the ending had in store!
I loved the characters in this story. Sadie grew from a girl who is unsure of herself into a brave and confident witchling. She achieves it all without a romantic interest helping her along the way which is even more awesome! All of the races of creatures in the story, and there are a lot, have defining personality traits so they don’t just blend into each other, and it was fun getting to know each one.
Overall, I loved this story! It was funny and scary and heartwarming and full of adventure– all under one book cover. Typically I have a difficult time getting into fantasy novels since the world-building often outshines the characters, but Any Witch Way had a nice balance of both. Oh, and I still can’t get over how much I loved the magikal world.