Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Near Witch - Book Review

Title: The Near Witch

Author: Victoria Schwab

Release Date: August 2nd, 2011
Format/Page Count: Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Synopsis: A darkly romantic young adult novel about a sixteen-year-old girl who lives on enchanted moors. A strange boy arrives in her small village, and right away, children start disappearing.
Expectation: Really excited about this one. Got caught up in the whirlwind of discussion on Twitter about the release of The Near Witch. 

Market/Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal Romance


“It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark. The match hisses to life.”

So begins the beautiful and beautifully lyrical The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab. This reader was immediately mesmerized by the intoxicating poetic prose in which this enchanting fairy tale/paranormal love story was written. Schwab’s debut novel is a fast paced charmer destined to be a classic. Her storytelling prowess, combined with her excellent ability to mash the best elements from the Gothic horror novel with those from modern YA romance and paranormal novels, and, remarkably, those from the latest wave of dystopian YA, leaves the reader hooked from page one to the end.

 The town of Near seems trapped in a near trance of fear and suspicion as they live their lives deep inside a whirlwind undercurrent of fairy tales, rumours, truths and half-truths swirling around the presence of the witches on the town’s outskirts…both living and dead.

One of the best aspects of The Near Witch is the headstrong and independent main character, Lexi Harris. Lexi lives in a small secluded town dominated by its male citizens. But Lexi doesn’t accept her station in her male dominated society; and she certainly doesn’t take no for an answer. When the rest of Near gets up in arms over the arrival of a new stranger—something the isolated town doesn’t usually deal with—Lexi is the only one capable of keeping a level head. It is her determination to do the right thing that propels this story forward at such a galloping pace. And the first person present tense voice of our protagonist puts the reader right at her side, cheering her on along the way. Schwab picked the perfect voice to tell her story.

When the town’s youngest children begin to disappear, Lexi will do anything to prevent her little sister Wren from becoming one of the missing. She will also do anything to save those who are already gone. But the men of her town, led by a Council of three and her own Uncle Otto, do whatever they can to prevent her intrusions and interventions.

This story is so well written, the reader will want to devour it in one sitting. But it’s also one of those books they will want to take their time with, so they can cherish the ride. Every character is well drawn, from the stranger Cole, to the sisters Thorne (Magda & Dreska), to Lexi’s jilted paramour Tyler Ward.

This was a remarkable adrenalin spiked read. Schwab is a master storyteller with a beautiful lyrical style readers will fall in love with immediately. The Near Witch is marketed as a YA, but it is absolutely a story for all ages. I look forward to seeing the next offering from Victoria Schwab. And the next and the next. A writer who can tell such a tight fast-paced story in such a lovely voice is definitely a writer to watch.

Expectation exceeded in spades.

Size: 5


  1. Great review! Sounds like an awesome read :)

  2. Thank you, Linda. :-) I'm still singing its praises to whoever will listen. ;-)