Published by Hyperion Books CH on August 2nd 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
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.
V.E. Schwab is a brilliant author. After reading A Darker Shade of Magic, I knew I needed to read anything and everything she wrote. So, I started at the beginning. The Near Witch is an unique and eerie tale, and it’s hard to believe that this was Schwab’s first published novel.
First, the writing is beautiful. I could clearly picture the town of Near and its surrounding woods. The descriptions were amazing, and I relished over every line. There’s definitely been growth in Schwab’s writing with every new novel, but, let’s be honest, it was phenomenal from the beginning.
Then there’s the characters. I genuinely loved Lexi and, even though she makes mistakes, I admired her curiosity and desire to find the true answers to problems instead of leaping on the easy solution at first glance. Everyone in the town had their own story and motivations, and I found myself wanting to know more about each of them, in particular the elders of the town. Lastly, the mysterious boy Lexi sees wound up being my favorite character, and his backstory was the most heart-wrenching of all.
That being said, there were some brief points in the story that fell a little short for me. Pieces of the plot were predictable; however, the paths taken to reach those points were often unanticipated. Really, it’s those twists and turns that kept my eyes hooked on every page. Even though I desperately wanted to know the ending, I didn’t want to miss how the story evolved.
Overall, The Near Witch was an excellent, entertaining, spooky, quick read. So far, V.E. Schwab can do nothing wrong in my book, and, given my thoughts on her most recent novels, that won’t change anytime soon.