Tuesday, August 21, 2018

[Book Review] Hocus Pocus & The All-New Sequel

Book Review of Hocus Pocus & The All-New Sequel

Hocus Pocus is one of my favorite movies! So of course when I found out that this book was coming out, I could not wait! But did it hold up, or did it disappoint me?

I'm going to break this review into three parts; one for Hocus Pocus, the second bit for the sequel, and the third for the book overall.

Let's dive in!

Hocus Pocus & The All-New Sequel

Hocus Pocus

Reading this was so much fun! I have watched the movie dozens of times, so reading the tale was a nice treat! I loved that the book really centered on Max so we got to learn more about him. I also enjoyed learning more about Emily and Thackery in the chapters that flashed back to them in 1963. 

I had a couple of issues with this read through, one being simply the jump between the witches not understanding the modern world, to suddenly seeming knowledgeable, and then back again. Specifically in the car/broom chase scene where this happened: "Pull over,"Winifred demanded. "Let me see your driver's license." So they don't know what a road or a bus is, or that people wear costumes, but they know what a drivers license is? 

My favorite passages from this section:
In the dreams, the edge of the field ran right up to the edge of the wood and then stopped, as if perplexed about where to go next.

Max’s heart slammed against his rib cage, a rubber ball trying to escape this risk-taking madman.

“Oh, look,“ she sighed. “Another glorious morning. Makes me sick!

The house ahead of them was smaller than Max expected, but somehow it seemed to loom above them, as if its spirit were far bigger than the collapsing wooden porch and broken eaves.

Leaves fell around them like confetti in oranges and browns and golds.

"I'll wait outside," said Binx, jumping into the low branches of a nearby tree. "If anything happens, shout for me." 
Max eyed the noisy building. "How will you hear us?" he asked.
"I won't," said Binx. "But it might help you feel better. 

The All-New Sequel

The second half was... interesting. Let me pause here to say that I did NOT read the synopsis before I dove in, so I didn't know what to expect. However, as this is one of my all time favorite movies, I was SO excited to dive in to see where the author took the story. But once I started reading, I just tried to keep an open mind...

I was thrilled to find out that the main character was the daughter of Max and Allison! I also really enjoyed her interest in photography, but overall I just didn't care for her character. My favorite character by far was Travis; I loved his humor, but sometimes it felt way too forced!

I also really enjoyed that there were a few things thrown in that gave a nod to the first half, like Poppy saying that the only cookies her mom bakes are dark chocolate chip cookies- a nod to Allison and Max's conversation about whether milk or dark chocolate is better in a cookie.

My main issue was that it was so incredibly repetitive. I found myself skimming quite a bit. The main character kept circling around the same thoughts over and over again. Many chapters to new sections gave the readers a little recap of what had just happened, or what they were trying to do, which wasn't necessary in my opinion. It just bogged the flow down.

There were also weird "modern" bits added that just felt forced to me. For example when Poppy is thinking; "I've heard plenty about this particular house of horrors, but confronting it IRL is bone-chilling." Maybe I wouldn't have been to put off if this was in a dialogue section, but having it as part of the narrative just wasn't a hit for me.

I also really didn't like how some of the flow just didn't work. There were a few odd bits where something happened, but then it was brought up again like it had just happened. In one section, a certain character is right by the main characters side, but then she's no where to be found... and the way that it was worded made it seem like she hadn't been there in the first place. It would have worked better if there was a thought about her disappearing instead.

My next complaint was about how the witches returned. When it happened, I was left quite  underwhelmed. Because of the last bit of the first book (below), I was REALLY hoping that the story was going to pick up on a new character, not the same three witches again...

Meanwhile, on its podium Winifred's spell book slowly opened its
eye and looked around, feeling the loss of its master. But then it 
rose into the air. Jay and Ernie screamed and shook the bars of 
their cages at the strange sight. The book soared out of the window 
and into the early morning light. It floated above the cemetery and 
through the town square, passing the crowd of adults who filed, 
stumbling, out of Town Hall after a night of endless dancing.

It continued flying, higher and higher, seeking its master...

It wouldn't stop until it found her. 

I actually closed the book and debated DNFing when the witches returned. But I pushed on... I'm not sure it was worth it. The overall story was interesting, but I just didn't care about the characters, the repetition was horrible, and it just didn't keep my interest.

I really disliked the first half of part two, but toward the end, it got more interesting. I did like a few things that were added to the tale to wrap things up, but again, it all felt too neat and rushed. Some of it felt a little late, such as the line "You can never really kill a witch."

My favorite passages from this section:
You don’t need external affirmation, Mom would say - but one could argue that you don’t need cheese fries, either. Both are pretty damn satisfying indulgences.


I really liked the design of the book! The cover is fun and colorful. I loved the silhouettes that began each section as well as the illustrations on each of the chapters, which were titled in a fun way, such as:
Hocus Pocus chapter header illustration

I also really liked the town maps that were included at the beginning of each section. It was really neat to see how the maps changed from the beginning of the tale, to present time.

In the end, I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this. I definitely love the first half and would happily read that time and time again. But the second half? I think I could have done without that one. It was just far too repetitive and a bit boring to me.

Thanks for reading!
Have you given this one a read yet? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I have a feeling I will feel the same way about the second part. That's disappointing.

    1. Yeah... ugh. I hope you have better luck though! :)

  2. Oh, that's too bad! At least you will always enjoy the first part!

  3. Yeah, I've been hearing that the second part isn't that great...which is a bummer. I do LOVE Hocus Pocus though. :)


    1. Right?! Ugh... I need to watch the movie (yet again) now! :)

  4. I know Hoopla has this one so if I do decide to grab it, then I'll get it from there.

  5. That's too bad about the sequel. I love though that the novelization of thw movie turned out though. :)

  6. The inconsistencies would drive me bananas! The part about the driver's license... ugh. I'm sorry the sequel didn't live up to expectations. Hocus Pocus is also one of my all-time favorite movies! I always watch it around Halloween, and this year I'm going to watch it with my son (he's four) for the first time. <3

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Right?! It was just too much for me... Aw yay!!! That's so exciting! Enjoy sharing it with him! My fiancé and I also watch the film every year! I can't wait! :)

  7. Confession. I don’t get the movie. I was never a fan. So you can see why I wouldn’t understand the hype about the book either. I know everyone was so excited for it though so I’m sorry to hear it was a bit all over the place.

    1. Ugh yeah, I'd recommend skipping this one then. The first part is JUST like the film, and the second part is just a mess...

  8. Can you believe I haven't seen the movie before? It sounds like the book version was fun and entertaining. But I am sorry the sequel didn't work for you. It doesn't sound too well written :/

    1. Oh!!! I'd love to hear what you think if you watch it! :) And yeah... I wonder if it was rushed with all the hype surrounding it once it was announced it was in the works...

  9. Replies
    1. Right?! I hope you have better luck if you read it!

  10. I liked the film...it was always fun to put on when I wanted a few laughs. I haven't read the book though. The sequel doesn't sound up to much though which was a shame.

    1. Yeah... I'm not sure that I would reread the sequel... I would definitely reread the first book though! :)

  11. I didn't realize that this was two stories! I don't think I have ever watched the whole movie, maybe just parts while channel surfing. Sorry the new story was so disappointing.

    1. Yeah, it was quite the bummer... but oh well! The first part was still totally worth buying this one! :)

  12. I've seen a few mixed reviews for the second half. I'm glad the first half was a good read though. I do love Hocus Pocus.

  13. Aw, that's disappointing to hear about the sequel, although I'm glad the first half worked out well! I loved the cover of the book, though, and those chapter headers *are* pretty...it's tempting to buy for the look alone!