Title: Witches Protection Program
Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, Fantasy
In this paranormal, urban fantasy novel, its main character, Wes Rockville, struggles to meet the expectations that come with being a part of an overachieving family and proves to be an incompetent law enforcement agent, especially in the eyes of his father. Because of this, he is reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government movement called – as promised by the book’s title – the Witches Protection Program.
At some time in history, the sisterhood of witches began to turn on each other. Eventually, they split into two factions: the Davinas and the Willa. The Davinas use their magic for the benefit of mankind by mastering the methods of medicine and healing, whereas the Willa witches use their powers to create mayhem in society. With that said, it is the program’s mission to protect the good witches. (Segue: The law that created this organization was established under the secret legislation of George Washington!)
The first thing I noticed about Cash’s writing style was the great use of imagery. A number of descriptions were enough to clearly paint the scene in my mind, but not too excessive that it distracted me from the plot itself. In fact, the novel was easy to read.
The characters, however, were not particularly likable. Wes, Alistair, Junie (Segue: What kind of nickname is Baby Fat? Sorry. I just had to bring it up.), Morgan and the other characters were tolerable at best. I did not grow fond of any of them. I guess this is because I failed to see any character development at all within the story.
First and foremost, Wes came off as bratty, stubborn and – I cannot emphasize this enough – whiny. For someone who has an entire family that breathes and thrives on law enforcement, Wes sure can moan and grumble about his shortcomings while failing to see the bigger picture that is the common good. Additionally, for a male protagonist, he simply lacked empathy. Not to mention the gutsto actually be a hero. I mean, he did not even exert any effort to cope and learn to deal with the magical environment he was suddenly thrust into.
Secondly, Junie’s character was not fleshed out well. If anything, she was a cookie-cutter. What with the whole ‘ugly on the outside, but with a heart of gold’ thing she was supposed to portray.
Actually, I had an issue with every character in the novel. But I did not despise any of them per se. Like I said, they were tolerable at best. I did dislike Morgan’s aunt, Bernadette, though.
Anyway, to summarize everything I’ve read, the story itself is all right. However, I did spot a few glaring plot holes and some things just did not add up or make any sense to me. One prime example is the training Wes underwent in order to be fully prepared to take down witches, or more accurately, the lack thereof. His orientation and education regarding the world of witchcraft consisted of a ten-minute long infomercial and an immediate introduction to weapons he had never seen before in his entire life. It baffles me how and why Alistair immediately pushed Wes into the witch war frontlines, so to speak. Personally, I think more thought has to be put into this book. A number of things were overlooked, which lessened the overall realistic quality of the story. Like I said, some things lacked sensibility.
Honestly, this was not an engrossing read for me. I guess that it just isn’t my cup of tea. But of course, my two cents don’t speak for everyone. As far as I know, this book has received numerous glowing reviews from other readers. I’m sure that although this book did not completely capture my attention, there are a number of people who would find this book enjoyable.