3 out of 4 stars
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Maya is having a bad day. First, her boss fires her. Then, she ends up talking to a stranger in a park who she's afraid is a maniac. He makes her try to remove this odd bracelet; when she can't, he makes her promise that she will as soon as she has enough knowledge. He encourages her to sleep, and next thing she knows, she wakes up in a foreign land.
It's in this new land that she learns she is a witch (yes with real magical powers). When the authorities are finally sure that she is who she says she is, they release her to a magical school where she can learn more about her abilities. However, she's still bound to this demon, and the only way she can return to her land is to remove his bracelet. Will she, in fact, be able to keep her promise and return to her world?
The Witch by Mistake is a science fiction novel by Anna Brusha. It consists of around 230 pages. There are some adult situations, but the novel would still be appropriate for high school age to adults.
My favorite part of this book was the new world that Ms. Brusha created. It isn't too long into the story before Maya is transported to this magical world where there are demons, witches, and demon hunters. The world is solidly built, and I had fun figuring it out right along with Maya. One of the fun aspects of this new world was a celebration called the Day of Power. During this festival, each of the fountains in the city had a different "potion" you could drink from. It sounded like something I wanted to be part of.
The world Maya finds herself in is quite different from her home in Moscow. As such, there was vocabulary that was unfamiliar. Some of the words are explained in the course of the story (as Maya has trouble understanding them as well). However, there were still many that I couldn't quite wrap my head around; I'm not sure, though, if that was due to the fact that these were made up words or if they were Russian words that were not translated. For example, Wiedzmina seems to be a term of respect for certain witches. Also, Veda is used, and it appears to indicate the person is a teacher. Though I think these are right, I was never certain. The book would benefit from a glossary of terms, so that the reader can be sure of the definitions for the strange words.
I loved the overall premise of the novel, and the quick pace kept me engaged. The story is told in the first person; therefore, it's almost like living the story with the protagonist. When she struggled, I struggled. I was able to easily empathize with her.
Having said that, there were a few small pieces of the story here and there that didn't quite seem to make sense. For example, Michael Kotik, a demon hunter in the strange land, was suddenly called Kitty, and I was never sure where that came from. There were tiny details like this throughout the story that could have been incorporated better. However, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the novel too much.
I give The Witch by Mistake 3 out of 4 stars. I loved Maya; she was an intriguing character to follow along with (and her luck reminded me of my misfortune). The story has a quick pace that was quite engaging, and the world building was stellar. I just felt that the addition of a glossary would have been beneficial. Also, a few of the details could have been integrated into the story more thoroughly, in order to avoid confusion. I do recommend this, though, to anyone that enjoys magical worlds, unfortunate circumstances, and an undercurrent of romance.
The Witch by Mistake
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