Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

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. (From Goodreads)

Although the synopsis says it's fairy tale and romance, The Near Witch also had a well-crafted eerie vibe to it. As with most of the YA that I like, the romance between Lexi and Cole didn't overpower Lexi's story. She had a strong personality, and that didn't fall prey to the "damsel in distress" phenomenon (and everyone knows how I feel about that). 

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the question of who/what was behind the disappearances of the children. I had flashbacks to the film The Village, and became suspicious of just about every character. I really mean almost every character. I went through a chapter where I was debating whether Lexi was somehow involved in it.  I won't spoil it for anyone who has yet to grab a copy, but I really loved the thrill of the mystery.

I do wish that there had been some greater exploration of the witch's past. Really, I just wanted the book to be a bit longer. Schwab's ability to craft a story and make the setting seem real kept me hooked. I'm definitely looking forward to more!

The Near Witch
By Victoria Schwab
Published by Hyperion
288 Pages
Received for Review
Rating: B


Alyssa from Good Books to Read said...

Great book with a very intense story.

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