Friday, 30 December 2016

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell






Rachel has spent most of her life trying to ignore her magical "gift", and with good reason: sixteen years ago it ruined her family's life...
For all it's faults, this story has a truly original concept: more the pity for the way it turned out.
The initial dark tone ends up disappearing in an avalanche of badly explained facts, stereotypical characters, and a never ending mention ( and eating) of pies!
I really don't understand how all of that people aren't diabetics. Really!

Even so, it was readable, so, there's that...

The story starts with twenty six old Rachel still living in her family home. And I say still, because that house doesn't harbour happy memories... When a wish suddenly appears ( in front of her eyes, written in a piece of paper like they used to) after a long hiatus of them not bothering her, Rachel freaks out and decides to disappear town, before something bad happens to her friends. You see, Rachel doesn't have a good relationship with her gift ever since a catastrophe happened.
SPOILER: At ten years old she wished her young brother would get lost. After that, Michael disappears never to be remembered by his parents. Only Rachel remembers him.
Dark right? Well it even gets darker!
But then Rachel arrives to this little town, Nowhere, capital of the "Lost and Found".
I don't know what I was expecting, maybe a town full of odd ones?
But with the exception of Catch, a seventy five old woman who makes magical pies, with which she binds people's secrets, the rest of the folks were basically normal. Which was kind of disappointing.

I was expecting more out of Catch's and Rachel's relationship. Although it ends up developing itself in a very aloof and cranky way, it always felt too superficial. And the same thing happened with the rest of the story and it's characters.
I wanted more out of Catch's background. When did she start making the pies? SPOILER When did she start getting sick? Who was that stupid ex-husband of hers?
Instead, the author decided to present her as just this cranky old lady constantly making pies: normal pies and magical pies.
________
Badly explained fact #23... why would people eat her pies if they suspect that someone may be trying to make them forget something??
Look, I don't know about you, but I would probably swore pies off for LIFE.

Then there's Ashe, our broken hearted hero...
Handsome, attractive, always ready to help... and with a wife of whom he still hasn't divorced. Can you say, awkward much?
The ex wife is presented as a cheater, although I really don't understand how Ashe found out about it. Her name is Lola ( -__-) and we really don't understand why she cheated on Ashe SPOILER (WITH THE GUY'S FATHER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!... well, there's mentions of great charm involved. Another magical ability??
Unfortunately that _ and that person's motives _ were never developed. Maybe because she didn't want to enter the soap opera domain. *cough* Too late I'm afraid...
Like I said there's a lot of mentions of people eating pie.
Constantly.
So, I guess there wasn't space or time to develop any thing else.
As for the final part, it went from magical realism to Disney land. Which was awkward.
Another plot that was extremely important, ends up not being resolved, and the ending was really wish washy.
Basically, great concept, but the execution could've been (way) better.
Also as a fan of Sarah Addison Allen I am not impressed...



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