Review: Witches Be Crazy: A Tale That Happened Once Upon a Time in the Middle of Nowhere

Witches Be Crazy: A Tale That Happened Once Upon a Time in the Middle of Nowhere by Logan J. Hunder

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Ever since I put this book on my shelf “digital-on-deck” – most likely somewhere around 2019 – I’d been looking forward to reading it. The title seemed interesting and the description on Goodreads seemed fun. (I got this book as part of a Humble Bundle) It seemed as though it might fall into either a Terry Pratchett-like parody of fantasy or maybe a fractured fairy tale. At first it seemed to go alright – it had some dad-joke level puns, and I like those. (eg a town called Farrawee) Or a Who’s-on-First style joke with someone named Herrow.

Unfortunately, there were many reasons I didn’t enjoy the book. At first I thought maybe the book was self-published, but according to Goodreads it was published by Skyhorse publishing. In his discussion of the value of publishers vs self-publishing, John Scalzi mentions that there are two benefits to having a publisher: copy-editing and promotion. Skyhorse seems to have failed miserably on the former. If you’ve read my reviews or blog posts you know that I sometimes make spelling errors. But I’m just Joe Schmoe writing book reviews and blog posts. A book should not be riddled with spelling errors, homonym errors, and verb-tense disagreements. It’s the last of those that really drove me out of the story. Half the sentence would be present tense and the other half past tense.

Getting away from what some might consider to be pedantic issues – the story didn’t work for me either. It had a semi-random nature that didn’t really have a point and the the whole subplot of the female-only city was terrible. All the solders were sent into a panic attack because of a spider. All the women have been taught that men are only going to force themselves onto the women. What is this – 1990s strawman feminism? It was just sigh-inducing.

The final straw for me was that the title didn’t have anything to do with the book. It was just chosen to make a pun on a common phrase. There were, in fact, no witches. Not even non-crazy ones.

According to the “about the author” page, this was the author’s first book. I’ve never successfully written or published a book. So, good on the author. They did something that many think is easy, but few accomplish. But their publisher did them dirty on this one. There should have been another cleanup-pass on the language and maybe even an editor to tighten up the plot a bit. Good luck on their future novels – may they hone their craft and turn out to become a great writer.

View all my reviews