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.
This was one of my most anticipated debuts as soon as I saw that it had 'witch' in the title. I’m a huge fan of witches and anything to do with witch lore--something I think paranormal YA doesn't have enough of, so obviously, I was super pumped to read it.
“Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar”
I couldn’t have said it better. While the premise of this book is no doubt engaging, there was a deja vu factor, making me feel that I’ve somehow heard this story before. This is a good thing however, and allowed me to slip into Schwab’s world that much faster.
The plot was set nicely and I especially loved the opening scene. The setting was a little surprising as I didn’t know this was a historical, but that could be because I tend to overlook these things (even the most obvious). So if you didn't know either, now you do. The Moor was so intricately described, I could actually see it, as well as Lexi's way of life. Which is all in part to great writing, of course. As for the characters, I liked Lexi's narration well enough, and enjoyed that she was very strong-minded and independent, but sadly, that's as much as I felt. This is definitely not a character driven story, which is good because I didn’t care much for the supporting cast. Lexi's mother's support was nice, her younger sister was sweet, and her uncle (along with the majority of the town), I wanted to punch in the face. In fact, the only people I was even remotely interested in were the two sisters because again, I love witches.
Then we have Cole. Love interests nowadays are hard to woo me, I'll admit. Maybe it's because I've readjusted my fictional boy standards with the sudden influx in this genre, but regardless, we just didn't click. (Sad face!) I empathized with him as he was so easily and wrongfully accused, but didn't really care too much for him. Empathy, but no sympathy here. And while I'm starting to sound like a cold-hearted-fictional-boy-hating girl (who doesn't care what happens to a person wronged??), let me retract and say it was most likely due to the familiarity of the story. I wouldn't say The Near Witch was predictable, but I had an inkling as to how it would all conclude, which I guess was why I wasn't too invested in Cole's well-being.
Also, as much as I did like this book, I feel obligated to let you know that this has one of those insta-love romances. It wasn’t too much of a problem per se, but the relationship came off as slightly rushed to me, throwing off the believability of it all, though I guess it wouldn’t be unheard of (in this genre, at least). And since the entire book takes place over the span of about a week, that may have also been a contributing factor.
With that said, The Near Witch is quite an enjoyable tale, but Victoria Schwab's writing was the real star. I can't wait to see (and read) what she writes up next!
The Near Witch will be available August 2, 2011.
(...but you can totally pre-order now!)