Hey book fam!
I’m back, and I’ve missed you! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve sat down and blogged, not sure what really has had me stray away from writing, but I have barely wanted to write anything at all, not even a review! I’ve been devouring books left and right, and I have an ever-growing list of reviews to complete in the coming days/weeks, and back-dating my reviews so they coincide with when I read the books! Today, I decided to take some time and complete one off the growing list. This time I’m going to review Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha, which I just devoured last week after it’s release in three sittings.
THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS SO IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS BOOK AND ARE STILL LOOKING TO READ WITHOUT ANYONE SPOILING THE STORY FOR YOU – PLEASE STOP READING NOW!
First I would like to say, this is 25 years in the making, and my emotions after FINALLY seeing one of my all time favourite movies put into a sequel (especially in book form) are running high. Now, without further adieu, let’s get to this review.
Hocus Pocus, my beloved favourite Halloween film growing up (and still to this day), where do I begin. As a 29-year-old Halloween fanatic, I can actually remember June 1993 and this movie being released. I can remember sitting with my family and watching it for the first time. I can remember how desperate I was to own a black cat, and how much more I wanted Halloween to arrive.
The re-telling of the cult-classic movie was, as expected, wonderful. There were snippets of background that never were addressed in the movie, and amazing detail in describing certain scenes and characters. I absolutely adored the flash back and forth between Salem 1693 and Salem 1993, it really tied the story together for me and brought a few things to light that I always questioned in the many years watching the movie.
Now, the re-telling wasn’t as long as I would have hoped it would be, and the bulk of this just over 500 page book is that of the all-new sequel, based in Salem in 2018. Now, I’m not disappointed that the sequel was longer than the original, I just think the Hocus Pocus fanatic in me wanted more. More detail, more background, more information – just more!
The Hocus Pocus sequel follows Poppy Dennison (Max and Allison’s daughter – insert squeal of excitement that Allison and Max got married!) and her group of friends on All Hallows Eve 2018, exactly 25 years after Max, Allison and Dani faced the Sanderson sister’s after lighting the black flame candle back in 1993.
Some of my favourite things about this sequel are:
- The fact that Max and Allison got married, had a kid, and stayed in Salem made me smile. After hating on Salem so much in the original movie, it’s good to see that it ended up growing on him and his encounter with the Sanderson sisters didn’t make him run for the Hollywood hills again.
- MAX IS A TEACHER. I repeat – Max went back to the high school he met Allison in and is now a teacher. Who saw that coming? Not this girl.
Poppy is gay! I love the inclusion of the LGBTQ society into this novel. In today’s society, the number of people who are open about their sexuality and who they are is one to embrace and rejoice in. It made me so happy to see a main character, openly gay, and accepted all around. It also made me so happy to see a same-sex relationship blossom throughout the novel.
- Thackery and Emily come back! The reprisal my favourite character from the original screenplay (Binx), and the addition of a bit more Emily in the story intrigued me. I would have definitely loved to see Binx and Emily (as well as Elizabeth) in the sequel more, but I can understand why they stayed away from basically repeating the original.
- When Winifred, Sarah, and Mary return, the sinister evil can truly be felt. I absolutely adored that the story continued with the same witches it began with, and the inclusion of one that was never before mentioned. I felt the author captured the angst and frustration Winnie felt after 325 years of being in hell. But, she was with “Master” so shouldn’t she have been happy about that? Ah well, I digress.
- The inclusion of all the new age things – twitter, and instagram among others – was a nice touch. Especially when involving people based in the 1600s who really have no clue what is going on when it comes to technology. It gave me a good laugh to read about Thackery trying to figure out what a cameras use is, or when Winifred experienced cell phones for the first time.
Some things I didn’t like:
- Not once do I ever remember the Sanderson sisters talking about their mother in the original screen play; so the inclusion and importance they put on their mother in this novel threw me a bit. By the end of the book I understood why it was included, and what it meant to the book, but I can honestly say that relationship didn’t do much for me.
- The inclusion of a new Sanderson sister, Elizabeth, sort of perturbed me. Why introduce a new sister now? Where was she (even mentioned in passing) in the original screen play? When Max and Allison originally had the book and looked through it, why was there never any mention of Elizabeth, and now she’s such a large part of the sequel? WHY DO I NOT HAVE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS!
- Turning a new main character (Isabella) into a dog, just like Thackery into a cat. No one can ever replace Binx, protecting the Sanderson home for 300 years, and the lengths he went to protect Dani, Max, and Allison.
- The lack of inclusion of Dani, Max, Allison, as well as Billy, Binx and Emily. They were all so important, and such a big source of identity for Poppy and the Dennison’s, that I was shocked there wasn’t more written about them into the story, without over powering Poppy and her story. I would have adored to see Billy in this re-telling as I had a huge soft spot for him in the movie.
- The last few lines of the book – disagree with me, that’s okay – I couldn’t stand. I truly feel as if they’re trying to extend something that they could have ended perfectly with this sequel. The looming feeling of another sequel after this one, honestly upsets me. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the sequel in the first place, and now with the feeling of trying to set up a THIRD installment, just makes me uneasy.
All in all – I was extremely happy with this book, and I devoured it almost instantly. Despite adult responsibilities, I flew through the re-telling at work in a couple hours, then destroyed the sequel between one shift at work, and a tiny bit of reading at home. The attachment I feel to these characters and this story line is one I cannot begin to put words to. This movie has been a tradition in my life for 25 years, and will continue to be for the next 25 years. I am ecstatic a sequel to my all time favourite Halloween movie finally was released, though not in the way I was expecting. I can say that despite things I wasn’t too happy with about the book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and happily give it 5/5 stars. I would easily recommend this book to anyone, especially if you’ve seen/grew up with this movie and a love of all things magic.
I mean, it’s just a bunch of hocus pocus, right?
Love you, jerkfaces!
Until next blog – happy reading!
The Bookish Wiccan