Book Review: Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha

“It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus…”

Hocus Pocus

I don’t often post reviews back to back, but today is the release day of Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel, and I just couldn’t wait to share my thoughts. This is going to be one of those posts where I date myself. I remember seeing Hocus Pocus in the theater when it released in July 1993 ~ 25 years ago! I saw it with my sister, brother, and friends. I was still a preteen, and I remember loving the movie. I laughed, I got nervous when Max lit the black flame candle, I screamed when Sarah Sanderson was found hiding in Dani’s bed, and I, like all other preteen girls, developed a tiny crush on Thackery Binx. For years, Disney fans have been begging for a sequel, but only if it includes the original cast, and I agree!

When I heard about the new book re-telling the original story with a new sequel included, I was excited yet a little hesitant, hoping that it wouldn’t ruin the original story and that the sequel would live up to my expectations. Well, the book releases today, and here is my review.

Honestly, I didn’t think I would like the re-telling of the original movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. The book alternates between Salem in 1693 and Salem in 1993. We get new details about Emily, like what she did that day before she was lured into the woods by Sarah. There is also a new character introduced who seems minor but should be noted. We get background info on what Dani and Max’s morning was like before they went to school that day, before Max heard the story of the Sanderson sisters in class. I liked these extra details and felt they enhanced the original story. Most of the story from that point is word for word the movie version. The plot and the dialogue are the same. You might be tempted to skip over the original and go straight to the sequel, but I would encourage you to read the complete original story first. There are little details added here and there that help set up the sequel.

Now…for the sequel…

For the most part, I thought it was fun and true to the original characters. I can picture Max and Allison grown up and living in Salem, trying to protect their teenage daughter from all things magical and witchy. I had always envisioned a sequel with Dani’s daughter as the focus, but I think this way worked. I won’t say much more about the plot because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will say that some unanswered questions from the movie are finally answered in the sequel such as:

  • Were Jay and Ernie (the bullies left in cages in the Sanderson Sisters’ house) ever rescued?
  • What ever happened to Winifred’s spellbook? (remember the creepy eye on the cover opening and looking around at the end?)
  • What ever happened to the black flame candle? Did it burn down completely? Could it be lit again?

In the sequel, we find out the answers to these questions and get to see what happens when “three ancient hags” enter the twenty-first century this time. I cracked up at some of the images described: picture Winnie trying to ask an iPhone a question and Mary trying to interpret Instagram. The sequel had the same comedic element as the first story and really took off as its own story rather than just repeating the first adventure, though parts of it were predictable. I think if this book is successful and the sequel gets positive feedback, Disney might consider making a film version, but that’s just my hope I guess.

Like the first story, the sequel concludes and we get a satisfactory ending…but with a twist. Just as Winifred’s spellbook opened its eye at the end of the first one, hinting that there might be more to the story, so we get a hint of more to come at the end of the sequel. I expect we’ll see another Hocus Pocus story in 2019. But maybe that’s just my hope again.

Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel is out today! If you’re a fan of the film, pick up the book. It just might “put a spell on you!” 😉 If you do read it, please feel free to come back to the blog and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear what other fans of the film think of the book and the sequel.

I received an advance copy of this book from Disney Book Group through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. 



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