My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was fortunate to read this book prior to its release date thanks to NetGalley.
The Near Witch is a beautiful tale which thrives on its gorgeous writing and prose. Victoria Schwab creates this wonderful, yet haunting setting in the town of Near and its surrounding moor. The book is quite short, so sometimes I felt it was a bit rushed. I especially found the instant bond between Lexi and the stranger to be a tad unbelievable initially, but it developed beautifully over the course of the book, so I quickly overlooked that tiny “flaw”. On the other hand, I also appreciated the quick pace in terms of story development since it never felt like a chapter was purely filler.
The book is advertised as “part fairy tale, part love story” – for me it is actually more of a scary story. I don’t usually get frightened when reading a book, but the eerie depiction of the witch and the wind definitely gave me a chill, so don’t go reading this on a windy night.
I kept wondering in which era the story is taking place, it is never mentioned in a clear way, but you can make assumptions. Overall I think it doesn’t really matter since the story seems timeless.
This is Victoria Schwab’s debut novel and what a high bar she has set for herself. Seeing as The Near Witch is a standalone book, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
Expected publication: August 2, 2011 by Hyperion Books CH