Official Review: The Witch by Mistake by Anna Brusha

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Official Review: The Witch by Mistake by Anna Brusha

Post by kandscreeley » 10 Apr 2019, 11:45

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Witch by Mistake" by Anna Brusha.]
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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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Post by Dentarthurdent » 15 Apr 2019, 13:32

Based on your emphasis on the world building, you must have found it thoroughly impressive. That's an awesome attribute in a fantasy book. I am also a fan of festivals, fictional or otherwise, and the potion fountains sound amazing. I'll definitely give this a try. Thanks for the descriptive review.
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Post by kandscreeley » 15 Apr 2019, 13:49

Dentarthurdent wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 13:32
Based on your emphasis on the world building, you must have found it thoroughly impressive. That's an awesome attribute in a fantasy book. I am also a fan of festivals, fictional or otherwise, and the potion fountains sound amazing. I'll definitely give this a try. Thanks for the descriptive review.
Yes. I definitely found it to be an interesting world. It's one I would want to visit. Thanks for your comments.
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Post by SunVixen » 15 Apr 2019, 14:12

Is this book translated from Russian? In Russia, many authors (mostly women) write about magical academies and brilliant young witches. There are so many of these books that Russians have already started writing parodies about brilliant witches.

"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. "

"Wiedzmin" is Polish world for male witch or warlock. In Andrzej Sapkowski's books, this is the name for people who fight monsters and protect humans. Andrzej Sapkowski's books are very popular in Russia. So, this Аnna Brusha borrowed this term from the book of Andrzej Sapkowski and turned it into a word for female witch.
In Slavic languages, the vowel sound at the end of some words turns them into feminitives. So, this is a made-up Polish/Russian word. The real word for the witch in Russian is "ved'ma".

The word "Veda" is actually a very ancient Russian name. It comes from the very ancient word "vedat'", which means "to know." So, it may be a good term for a teacher. Nowadays, this word has disappeared from the Russian language.The modern word for " to know" is "znat'". However, it is still used in the Belarusian language, because this language is more archaic than Russian. So, "Veda" is a very ancient name turned into a term for a teacher.

Thus, both words are not real Russian words.
Last edited by SunVixen on 15 Apr 2019, 14:40, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 15 Apr 2019, 14:33

Sounds like an exciting book, but it's too bad that some pieces of information were missing from the book.

Great review!

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Post by SunVixen » 15 Apr 2019, 14:55

Sorry, I forgot to write about it!

"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."

The word "kot" in Russian means "cat", and the word "kotik" means "my little cat" or "my dear cat". The surname of this demon hunter meant almost a “kitten”. Therefore, he was given the nickname "Kitty". In Russian, it looks like a very funny joke.

The word "kotik" does not apply only to cats. This is also word for young children or pretty girls. In this book, "kotik" is the surname of a demon hunter. :lol:

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Post by kandscreeley » 15 Apr 2019, 15:10

SunVixen wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 14:12
Is this book translated from Russian? In Russia, many authors (mostly women) write about magical academies and brilliant young witches. There are so many of these books that Russians have already started writing parodies about brilliant witches.

"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. "

"Wiedzmin" is Polish world for male witch or warlock. In Andrzej Sapkowski's books, this is the name for people who fight monsters and protect humans. Andrzej Sapkowski's books are very popular in Russia. So, this Аnna Brusha borrowed this term from the book of Andrzej Sapkowski and turned it into a word for female witch.
In Slavic languages, the vowel sound at the end of some words turns them into feminitives. So, this is a made-up Polish/Russian word. The real word for the witch in Russian is "ved'ma".

The word "Veda" is actually a very ancient Russian name. It comes from the very ancient word "vedat'", which means "to know." So, it may be a good term for a teacher. Nowadays, this word has disappeared from the Russian language.The modern word for " to know" is "znat'". However, it is still used in the Belarusian language, because this language is more archaic than Russian. So, "Veda" is a very ancient name turned into a term for a teacher.

Thus, both words are not real Russian words.
Thanks for the information. That's actually quite interesting. Brusha does sound somewhat Russian, so I suppose this is all very possible. At least I know I was somewhat close in my assessment of the words!
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Post by kandscreeley » 15 Apr 2019, 15:11

SunVixen wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 14:55
Sorry, I forgot to write about it!

"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."

The word "kot" in Russian means "cat", and the word "kotik" means "my little cat" or "my dear cat". The surname of this demon hunter meant almost a “kitten”. Therefore, he was given the nickname "Kitty". In Russian, it looks like a very funny joke.

The word "kotik" does not apply only to cats. This is also word for young children or pretty girls. In this book, "kotik" is the surname of a demon hunter. :lol:
It looks like YOU should have read the book! All the nuances that I missed! I guess that one was related to the language issue as well!
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Post by kandscreeley » 15 Apr 2019, 15:12

Stephanie Elizabeth wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 14:33
Sounds like an exciting book, but it's too bad that some pieces of information were missing from the book.

Great review!
Well, apparently, it would be enjoyed more if you were familiar with Russian terms. Having said that, I still enjoyed the book. :)
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Post by bigscarythingy » 15 Apr 2019, 20:22

I'm a fan of fantasy and this sounds like something that might attract my interest. Sounds a little like a cross between the Narnia books and Harry Potter. Great review.
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Post by Dragonsend » 15 Apr 2019, 20:38

Thank you for a great review. Those translations might be obscure, even for a native. Sounds like great fantasy writing.
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Post by kdstrack » 15 Apr 2019, 20:52

It is always amazing when the author is able to draw you into the story like you have described. And now that we understand the background behind some of the words, we will enjoy it even more. Great review. Thanks.

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Post by Ellylion » 16 Apr 2019, 06:31

Sounds like an interesting book for fantasy lovers :) Of course, you are right, the glossary should have been added for those not familiar with Russian or Polish language. I love exploring new fantasy worlds, so I would give this book a try :) Great review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 16 Apr 2019, 07:44

bigscarythingy wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 20:22
I'm a fan of fantasy and this sounds like something that might attract my interest. Sounds a little like a cross between the Narnia books and Harry Potter. Great review.
It sort of is, but the main character is a bit older than in either of those books. It was interesting.
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Post by kandscreeley » 16 Apr 2019, 07:44

Dragonsend wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 20:38
Thank you for a great review. Those translations might be obscure, even for a native. Sounds like great fantasy writing.
I believe I would have gotten a bit more out of the book if I had truly understood the words and where they came from. Still, it was fun to read. Thanks!
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