Mills K.E., Witches Incorporated, Orbit 2009
Coming as it did after reading The Hunger Games, K.E. Mills‘ novel Witches Incorporated, the 2nd book of Rogue Agent, was quite a shock. After the break-neck speed of Suzanne Collins bulldozer fiction, the blunderings and the continual twittering of the protagonists in Witches Incorporated seemed set on slowing the advance of the story to a snail’s pace. Of course, the characters were meant to be funny and endearing, and in a way they were. Hilarious even at times. The pace of the first part of the story was so leisurely, being distracted by other activities was a frequent occurrence. My progress in reading the book was very slow in the beginning.
Witches Incorporated is based on a risky premise: capitalise on the ridiculous things people get up to whether it be in their daily lives or in wild adventures and make people laugh and enjoy themselves and possibly even think. As such it could be seen as the antithesis of the type of fiction epitomised by The Hunger Games. K.E. Mills mocks heros and commoners alike with slapstick joy and wordy banter. When I say the characters twitter, it’s not just because one of them is a bird! The only difficulty in such an approach is to maintain credible characters and hold the reader’s interest. And it is here that there’s a sort of quiet miracle in this second book when one or other of the characters, amid chaos and confusion, suddenly displays competence and grandeur. It’s like the sun rising! A real joy!