Blurb: 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.
I was very excited to read this book, not only because it was fantasy and written by V.E. Schwab whose writing I have come to adore but mainly because this was her debut novel that went out of print years ago and has been given a second chance.
V.E. Schwab is an extremely talented writer and my opinion about that only strengthened after reading this book. However when it comes to the story, it did not exactly meet my expectations.
When I pick up a fantasy book I look forward to having my mind blown. I like to sit at the edge of my seat, bite my nails, and completely invest myself in the characters and the imaginary world the author has created. I want to keep turning pages and become reckless about my sleeping schedule. You know, just the regular thrill of reading a fantasy novel. So I don’t exactly want to say that Near Witch wasn’t a good book it is possible that my expectations with this genre are a little high.
But I somehow found Near Witch to be extremely predictable. More than that the romance sub-plot was a massive disappointment. It was so abrupt and forced and sudden, it made no sense and was frustratingly childish. I like books that are character driven, even if the story is repetitive and predictable, if the characters are well developed I will undoubtedly enjoy it but the Near Witch majorly lacked there as well. Almost all the characters were poorly written and I felt nothing for the lead characters at all. They could have both died at the end and I wouldn’t have bat an eye.
All that being said I do believe Near Witch would be highly enjoyed by younger readers. The writing is smooth and fast paced, I may not have been highly entertained but I wasn’t bored either, you know what I mean? I love V.E. Schwab and for a debut novel Near Witch is an extremely great attempt.
I think the one part I extremely loved about this book is the introductory letter that Schwab writes to the readers in the beginning. It’s so beautifully written with such inspiring words, you can read it here and decide if you want to give her first book a second chance or not.