Seventeen-year-old Whit Allgood and his 15-year-old sister, Wisty, cling to survival as The One Who Is The One slowly squeezes the life out of the people. Ever since he took control and implemented the New Order (N.O.) government, all freedoms are revoked, and books, music and anything creative are outlawed. The siblings are shocked when they discover they have magical powers, thus making them a special target of The One. They are still learning to use their power, discovering some amazing talents, but it also brings new responsibilities. With their special gifts, they find themselves leading a group of misfit, renegade kids in a high-stakes revolution.
But it's hard to focus on a revolution when one is in the dark about their parental figures. Whit and Wisty don't even know if their mom and dad are dead or alive, held captive or fighting for freedom. And Whit has it doubly bad as he is fanatical about finding his dead girlfriend, Celia. He continues to hear her whispers and smell her perfume, but she lingers just out of reach. Sometimes Whit and Wisty receive confusing instructions from their missing loved ones, actually suggesting they turn themselves in to the authorities. Could The One have gotten control of them, brainwashing them along with the majority of the population?
Even with The One's powers increasing, he's obsessed with capturing the Allgood siblings and taking their gifts for his own. He will stop at nothing, including deception, torture and murder, to get what he wants. But in all of the darkness, a bit of light may be found, not unlike what occurs during the huge musical festival where Wisty discovers a love of performing on stage. Even during the fun, though, they can't let down their guard. The One has informers and double agents planted, ready to take down the Allgoods at the first opportunity. The children need to remember to trust no one, but sometimes they must do just that in order to survive.
In this second book of the Witch & Wizard series, James Patterson teams up with Ned Rust to continue the adventures of Whit and Wisty. As in the first installment, THE GIFT surges with fast-paced action and even more cool magical effects. The vivid descriptions and immense imagination fill the pages with color. I very much respect the theme of the importance of creativity, thought, ideas, music, books and art ("If there is one thing I need to teach you, it's never underestimate the power of what you or others create. Music, art, film, writing...there's tremendous energy here. This is life force. Very important."). I also love the line from Whit on smoking ("I look at each smoldering cigar and, one by one, I visualize the rolled brown tobacco inside. Foul stuff. I hate nicotine poison."). The authors work very well together and have come up with the clever distinction of alternating chapters of first person, some through Whit's eyes and others through Wisty's. Fans will be thrilled to know that printed on the last page are the words "TO BE CONTINUED."
I recieved this book for Christmas this year and loved it just as much as I did the first one. The plot is still mysterious and exciting, even though this book is somewhat darker and more complicated than the first as it nears to the finale. Whit and Wisty still have a hold on my heart and I cannot wait to read the final book in this series.