26 May, 2018

REVIEW: THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Near Witch
Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: The Near Witch #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release: 2011
Source: Kindle
Pages: 288

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BLURB: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget.

EXPECTATIONS: I started reading Victoria's books in 2015 and since then I have never given her less than 4-5 stars. Expectations are high but I am also aware this is one of her older works so there will be room for improvement.

THE WORLD: It's a fantasy world where witches exist. I'm pretty sure it's inspired by the legend of witches before and during inquisition times. Witches in this world are both male and female and they can be good or bad just like any other person. The book takes place in a small village called Near.

CHARACTERS: The main character is Lexi Harris, a sixteen year old girl living with her mother and little sister, Wren. They live in a small village called Near where everyone knows everyone. It's said that long time ago a very powerful witch used to live in the village but something terrible happened... and one night a stranger appears. Lexi is very curious and goes searching for the stranger who she ends up naming Cole but as soon as he arrives the children of the village start disappearing one by one... and it's up to Lexi's uncle, Otto, to find who took them and why.

ROMANCE: Unfortunately it's insta-love but taking into account the book is very short it couldn't have been any other way. It wasn't too bothering, just cliché-ish.

GOOD: The idea was good, it reminded me of the short story Leigh Bardugo has about The Darkling. It gave me the same feeling. Great writing and main characters who are relatable, characters whose motives you can understand whether good or bad but like all short stories sometimes they leave you with an emptiness feeling... the feeling that in order to be great, it should have been a full novel and not just a short story. It's a frustrating feeling I tell you.

BAD: Since it's more a short story than a novel the characters are a bit two dimensional and while some things take their time (like the build up) others rush (like the romance) so I took 1 star off because of that. The book is still very enjoyable anyway.

OVERALL: 4 stars. I read that this was Victoria's debut novel (I would call it short story) and for a debut it's actually pretty solid. The writing is good but you can see Victoria's development in her later books and I think that's beautiful. I would recommend this book as a perfect short story for Halloween, something light you can read easily and is entertaining.

What do you think about THE NEAR WITCH?



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