Review: The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson


Well crap.

In September, I decided to make it a #girlsrule month and only read female authors.  It was a great reading month for me with a lot of winners and many 5-stars given.  My plan was to read this one early last week and then finish off the month with an NK Jemisin (I started with her Hugo winner early in the month.)  Unfortunately I got sick and didn’t read as much as I hoped.  So, this was the final book of the month and, whomp whomp, it was my least favorite of the batch.  This really stinks because Amber Benson seems like a very cool person and I was hoping to love her writing.  I’ll try to keep it brief but I had several issues with The Witches of Echo Park.

First, it’s an urban fantasy.  I read tons of UF and most have a similar feel to the writing styles.  Of course, each writer has their own voice but it should fit the genre.  TWOEP had the feel of a cozy mystery which completely threw me off.  It was way too cliche and the characters and their relationships were not fleshed out properly.  We expect that with a cozy but not an UF.

Speaking of the characters, my second issue was that Lyse is either a train wreck, Mary Sue or idiot.  I honestly can’t decide which.  It was so hard to care for or about her.  She was all over the place and her reactions didn’t make sense.

One of those ‘reactions’ is my third issue – the “love” story.  What the holy heck?  She meets a guy outside a coffee house, he invites her in and she decides not to go.  A few days later, he finds her in the middle of the night after she’s fallen on the sidewalk and cut herself.  She is speaking incoherently due to blood loss and then in the next paragraph, they are making out (HEAVILY) and she goes home with him so he can “bandage her leg”.  She and her aunt are all of a sudden talking about this being a real relationship with real feelings.  HUH?

Lastly, this doesn’t feel like a fully plotted story.  It’s more like the prequel for the real book which is to come.  Almost nothing happens plot wise.

Sorry to say not very good.  2/5 stars for an interesting idea that wasn’t executed very well.

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