Hello fellow book nerds! So I am a HUGE Victoria Schwab fan. I started with Shades of Magic a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love with her writing.
So, when I heard that her first book was being republished, I couldn’t contain my excitement. To make this experience even better Polly Grice from Titan Books sent me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Friends – this made my heart swell. I am honestly so grateful for this amazing opportunity. This book was everything and I’m in shock that it was her first book. I’m also upset it didn’t do well the first time around because it truly is amazing.
Personally, I’m so glad that Victoria has been able to gather such a following to republish this book because it is one that needs to be read and told. We would have missed out on something fantastic other wise.
Rating according to Goodreads:
5-It was amazing
4- Really liked it
3- Liked it
2- It was okay
1- Did not like it
“Long, long ago, the Near Witch lived in a small house on the farthest edge of the village. She was very old and very young, depending on which way she turned her head, for no one knows the age of witches.”
The Near Witch
5 out of 5 stars
Taken from Goodreads
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.
I don’t even know where to begin with this review. This story was so amazing and just blew me away. I’ve always enjoyed Schwab’s writing so when I heard her first published book was being republished, I was so excited to read where it all started. And friends, this is definitely where it started. The story was so simple but complex at the same time. It starts off so strong with the presence of a stranger, and strangers never come to Near. As the story progresses, so did my investment. I needed to know what happened to the children and if the Near Witch was real. What happened in this small town? There was so much suspense and thrill but it never became overwhelming. In true thriller novels, you become anxious and the need to know is so strong but this was different. It was more of a need to succeed – a need to bring the children back and keep Cole safe. To listen to the moor as Lexi does, as she has learned from her father. To be as curious and unsettled as Wren but quiet and strong like their mother. To believe and know as the sisters. There was so much packed into this little story and I know it will sit with me forever. It was so hard to put down this book as I continued to read it. Her descriptions were so fantastic that I honestly imagined everything she described. It was so easy to do so but done in such a poetic way that the details really blended into the story, instead of being necessary.
Along with a fantastic story, the characters were amazing. I loved everything about Lexi. She learned how to track from her father and her admiration for her family is so strong. One of the things I loved about her characters was her true nature. She never questioned her skills or the innocence of others, most likely because of her dad. The way she reacted with Wren was priceless and I’d like to hope that if I was in this story, that I would be a lot like Lexi also. Cole was…. I don’t even know if I have the words to describe him. He was such an amazing character. Strong yet never grounded. His progression and story was a great one to get. The development between him and Lexi was perfect. Each character brought something to the story and made it fantastic. But it was really about Lexi and Cole discovering the truth, together.
Overall, The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab is an amazing experience. And yes, this was an experience. This story was something else and so fantastically done. With a perfect pace and an intoxicating story, each word flowed together that nothing felt out of place. I was truly blown away and am so happy I was able to read this. Along with a great story, Lexi and Cole were everything. Their characters were meant to tell this story. I highly recommend this book – especially if you are a Schwab fan. Even if you’re not, this is a story for all ages.
“I don’t want just any story; I want his. I want to know of the world beyond Near and the way they speak and the stories they tell and why he is here, in his singed gray cloak, and why he is keeping his words so close.”