Alternate lives, mystery and witchcraft

Carol Wright

By A Contributor

Just because Christopher Pike says he writes “weird” books does not mean he possesses a weird mind.

True, as an author of thrillers, Pike worships the strange and terrifying stuff that appeals to so many of his fans.

He wouldn’t be true to form if he suddenly ignored the paranormal; dropped the tales of vampires, witches and magic; failed to recognize the guts and glory of the young; tossed out revenge; good and evil; and left bleeding on the side of the road odd creatures with even more odd personalities.

In real life, Pike speaks directly and to the point, describing himself as a “normal guy.”

That’s what kills me. After I finished reading the first installment of his new series, “Witch World,” I was haunted by whether or not I would get back to feeling normal again.

In fact, long before I anguished over that, I was about one-third of the way into “Witch World,” when I debated if I should or should not continue reading the novel.

Yet my inner debate was not due to superstition alone.

I’m glad that I continued with this novel. I made the right decision to move forward and savor all 528 pages; Pike brilliantly composed this novel.

Pike is actually a pseudonym of Kevin Christopher McFadden. He possesses one of the most unusual and brilliant minds in the literary field.

Pike is an interesting individual.

Just go to his website where he posts frequent blogs to keep his network of fans up-to-date on his writings.

He’s very appreciative of his fans especially their concerns of his post-surgical recovery. Pain and pleasure seem to be constants in his literature.

He says he is humbled by pain and has more respect for those who must endure it.

Although it is a pleasure to be frightened, slightly confused, annoyed and temporarily grossed-out by Pike’s works, “Witch World” could hardly be classified as loose or carefree entertainment. It is complicated and challenging, jumping from one world to the other, then back again.

I wonder if Pike ever got lost in a maze of the two parallel worlds he so carefully etched into the minds of his readers.

Disturbed at being dropped by her ex-boyfriend, Jimmy, Jessie Ralle somehow braces herself when she’s stuck with him during a trip with her friends to Las Vegas.

It’s a post high school graduation trip of which their parents are not aware of as the young friends lie them to in typical fashion.

While in the Las Vegas casinos, Jessie meets handsome, smooth Russ who always wins big at blackjack or what is known to the gambling community as “21.”

Soon she finds out that she has been “connected,” and that she has special powers or witch genes that enable her to accomplish what normal people could not. One of her skills she uses in witch world is self-healing.

In witch world, she becomes Jessica, and she eventually remembers that she has given birth to daughter, Lara.

In the real world, she is Jessie and seems to not be aware of her daughter, who, as it turns out, is equipped with superior powers, a total of 10 witch genes so far, that cause good and evil sources (the Tar and the Lapras) to fight over and seek control of the infant.

Jessica discovers that some of her friends have also been connected, and together, she, Jimmy (James in the other world), and many high-ranking centuries-old individuals help her to become reunited with her boyfriend and daughter.

Yes, it is a complicated plot, but the novel as a whole is hard to put down. I have not read a lot of Pike’s novels or collections but I did enjoy “Christopher Pike’s Tales of Terror.”

That was years ago and since then Pike has written more than 50 books. Pike’s characters are all so convincing, whether they’re deep, mysterious, silly or corny.

The true evil ones in “Witch World” are the real monsters. They play tricks on the mind or attempt to force others to abide by a cause or code that is unacceptable.

Throughout “Witch World” there are references to historical battles; military strategies; the Emperor Julius Caesar, ironies of casinos, such as Caesar’s Palace, which has become Caesar’s World luxury hotel-casino in Las Vegas; the Red Queen and symbolisms, such as the transitional casino game known as 22; plenty of wizardry; alchemy; hatred; mind games; emotional and physical trials; much pain and torture.

I might add it certainly helps if one has a knowledge of gambling, parallel worlds, history (according to the ancients) and guessing whether or not Pike is serious or just pulling your leg.

In the end it’s always a choice: choosing good over evil or using evil to control one’s destiny.

In “Witch World,” the impossible is possible. Power, sacrifice, hatred and love can exist in both worlds.

There are advantages to living and dying in witch world and the real world.

In a sense the characters in Pike’s novel can be reborn.

There remain many questions for readers right up to the end. The answers are sometimes more difficult than the questions.

Readers must face the conflicts that Pike’s characters face. They need to answer to themselves whether love can overpower all evil and whether their belief in God has become stronger or weaker.

If “Witch World” were to be adapted to film, it would be interesting for readers to see how the plot, special effects and messages might be portrayed and received.

Currently, Pike is at work on “Witch World II.” I need to ask myself if I want to pick up where I left off in the first of the series. It’s probably too early for me to say.

But I know whatever my answer will be will not be taken lightly.

It’s just never that simple.

Carol Wright is a former Manhattan resident.









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