Joining a wizard movement: ‘Crewe Chase and the Jet Reapers’
Set on avenging his uncle’s murder by humans or, rather, “Cados,” Crewe Chase’s dream is to go to Barbota Castle and learn how to become a better wizard so he can defend the witches and wizards around him being murdered by those who fear them. When he gets his acceptance letter to this university, however, he enters a world with secrets he doesn’t know exists while trying to pass by the unavoidable college atmosphere, his studies the only thing important to him. But, things are trying to get in the way of that, making his goals harder to reach and people harder to predict.
I received Crewe Chase and the Jet Reapers by E. Sisco to review some time ago and regrettably couldn’t open it when it reached my inbox. At the time, as most who regularly follow my blog know, I was moving and many other things were happening in the background. It came at a truly inconvenient time, but I promised to review it and therefore read it—and I’m glad I did.
As with all my reviews, I point out what stuck out before I get to the basic what I liked and didn’t part of it, so we’ll start there.
When writing prose, the thing a writer has to keep in mind is that every narrator has a different voice. A writer might have a unique voice, but narrators belong to the book. This post on writing in third person won’t answer to this completely, but it’ll help. The big thing is to watch how your prose sounds. In Crewe Chase and the Jet Reapers, I saw a lot of _____ happened because _____. Everything Crewe did or anything another character did or said was because of something else. Too many becauses. Things like that simplified the read and made it a little hard to enjoy for a while.
It took me a few chapters to get into this book because the prose is hard to appreciate. It’s written as if it’s a middle-grade novel; however, this kid is in college, and I don’t recall seeing anything about MG material. It’s PG to say the least, which I appreciate because I’m not much of a cursing, sex, and insane graphic violence kind of reader (though I enjoy my share of it). So, if you wanted magic and violence and hardcore people, you won’t get that. The prose itself warns you because you almost feel like a middle schooler is narrating it. But, don’t let that turn things off for you. I’ll get to why in a moment.
While it did start off slow despite the immediate death that occurs in the first chapter, it picked up pace in the narrative when I understood what was going on. Humans were killing wizards and witches like they were rats, and Crewe Chase is determined to take part in what I’m expecting to become a huge uprising. Book two will definitely have a lot more action in store, I think, and I look forward to that.
Once I got used to reading the narrative, things were fine and I enjoyed what I was reading.
When I first started reading and smiled slightly at how the book was written, I waited for the cliche of characters that would come with it. When creating characters, the goal isn’t to throw as many as you can into the book so something exists. Characters matter—all of them—and it’s wise to give them all lives, pasts, and personalities that are unique. This post on creating characters will provide good basics, but did this book tackle that? Well, I expected not. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find the characters as individuals whose personalities matched no one else’s. In other words, everyone was unique.
This is important to me as a reader because I care about characters more than the story. If I can’t appreciate who I’m reading, I really don’t care about what I’m reading. Crewe’s adult character stood out as a confident guy with a plan. His best friend was more laid back but still confident, and their friendship worked. Then, Crewe met Liam, who immediately claimed Crewe as his new best friend. This relationship was rocky from the start but slowly became an incredible bond, and I loved reading about their time together. Liam’s infatuation with Kendra turns Crewe into the love “guru” despite his better judgment, but Liam’s ignorance and naive attitude work in his favor and the two become slow, yet good, friends. Ione is odd in her own right, though I don’t exactly know why, but that’s okay now. Crewe’s character was strong for any character whose personality faltered. I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of that in the next book.
Cheyenne was the real kicker here. Her random hatred for Crewe set me and everyone else off, all of us confused, and their constant battle throughout the year ended in a blowout when Crewe hit her hard with her own medicine. This got her attention, and at the end of the book, I found that my suspicions were true, but I won’t reveal that.
Crewe’s hatred for the Cados
The main character is arguably the most important character in a book. Understanding who they are and why are essential when a writer fleshes them out. The problem comes when the writer has an idea for the character, but that character’s personality doesn’t fit the standards that are set. I think this became a problem here in the book, but check out this post so it doesn’t become a problem in yours.
While I can see how Crewe could hate Cados (humans), I don’t see it in his personality. The only show of true violence is his threat to snap someone’s neck, but he’s never violent on purpose aside from that. He’s smart, compassionate, and truly loyal. I know it seems easy to separate his loyalty and compassion toward wizards and witches from his hatred toward Cados, but even when he wasn’t at Barbota University, he never once killed a Cado, tried, or anything of the sort. He just lived life and tried to stay out of trouble. As much as the writer seems to want us to think he’s willing to kill, I don’t see it.
It’s Crewe’s goal to get into a group that will allow him to do just that, but I’m eager to see if what I’m thinking about his character will play out, or if this is simply a character flaw that I won’t understand. Some people can separate what they consider garbage from what they consider things worth keeping, but Crewe doesn’t seem to do that. He saves a scorpion, even. He isn’t a killer. So I just don’t see it.
That said, I love Crewe Chase.
What I liked: I enjoyed the characters and how they interacted with each other. Each was unique and their lives were presented in a way that, for the most part, matched how they acted as people. Crewe and Cheyenne’s treatment of each other was engaging and presented a problem that would not have existed at all had Cheyenne not been there. The book would have been dull without Cheyenne, and she only plays a minor role. That shows skill in character presentation and integration.
It was neat to be part of Crewe’s secret partner discovery (no, not the intimate kind), and while I didn’t care much for how the partner came to communicate with him so quickly, I’m glad they were there. I’m trying not to spoil this part for you, though whether I say it here or let you read it, you’ll know the second you reach the point. This book has so much heavy foreshadowing that you’ll know the ending before you get there, among other revelations, but that’s okay. With the characters as they are, you wonder more about how they’ll react. That’s the fun.
What I didn’t like: Crewe Chase was a humble guy with a goal, and things didn’t stop making sense with his character until I realized his character was more compassionate and pacifistic than the book initially made him out to be. I worry about whether he can kill a Cado now, but that might be a conflict between the author and the character that I don’t know about.
I wasn’t a fan of the prose itself just because it felt like I was reading a simplified version of a huge story. I got used to it after a while and started to enjoy the story, and now I’m enveloped in it enough to have to read the second book. So, if you do get the book, give it time. Seriously. It’s a good book and it’s worth reading, but it takes a while to appreciate how it’s written. It’s “he looked at them because he wanted to hear them” kind of writing, in which you’re being told the obvious a lot, but it becomes white noise. So keep reading.
After all of it, I’d say the book is worth more than you might think. If I’m wanting to read the second book, it’s automatically not one star. So, I’ll shoot this one a solid three. If you want to read the book, it’s free on Kindle Unlimited, but you can get the e-book, of course, or the paperback. I’m getting the e-book because it’s not close enough to my heart to get the paperback. But I will be reading book two, which is also out. Get Crewe Chase and the Jet Reapers by E. Sisco
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