1 out of 4 stars
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Maya is having one heck of a bad day. First, she’s fired from her job for accidentally buying cupcakes that insult the mistress of her boss thanks to a misplaced “h”. Second, after a bit too much wine on the way home, she is accosted by a man who claims she is a witch. Not only does he claim she’s a witch, but he claims she’s a witch who must fight demons. What follows is Maya being whisked into the world of magic, bumbling her way through training, and then promptly realizing she’s attracted to the one person she shouldn’t be.
The Witch by Mistake by Anna Brushna is tailor made for lovers of supernatural romance. Maya is trying her best in the magical world, but things just don’t go her way most of the time. She is charming, but she’s never too saccharine to be unbelievable as a character. Her rather humorous characterization is the real strength of the book, to me. Some of her observations, such as her shock that adults would leave a classroom full of children alone, then realizing that the children are witches, therefore perfectly fine without needing protection, are rather humorous. Maya’s reactions are natural, and she is a sympathetic character because of it. The romance in the story is also believable and has a nice resolution.
Unfortunately, I could only give the book 1 out of 4 stars. The rating is almost entirely based on the fact that the book is terribly hard to read because of grammatical errors, strange punctuation, and sentences that are so garbled it it takes several tries to figure out what is happening. “A” and “the” are dropped out frequently in the dialogue, making the writing confusing. Whole chunks of dialogue are so difficult to read, that I sometimes had to stop and reread them several times to make sense of what I think the author was trying to get across. The real issue with the book is the author not seeming to have access to a good translator. The dialogue, which a person would probably easily be able to understand if actually talking to a non-native English speaker, is very confusing when read.
The issues with the translation are very frustrating, because I feel like this book is probably very charming in its own language. What I was able to decipher through the poor translation was a book that seems to have a cute plot, very good humor, and good characters. Unfortunately, it took so many rereads of certain parts to figure out what was going on, those features got overshadowed. If the author translated this herself, I admire her attempt at what had to be a daunting prospect. I desperately wish an accomplished translator had been given access to edit the book though, as I can tell a charming book is there, just such a struggle to get to when puzzling through the dialogue that it harms the experience.
The Witch by Mistake shows evidence of being a good book, just not in the language I was reading it in. There are hallmarks that indicate the author has talent, but they are so hard to muddle through to get to, that I had to mark my rating of it down based on how difficult it was to read and make sense of.
The Witch by Mistake
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