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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Pages: 282
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy

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.
The Near Witch was a novel that once I picked it up, I absolutely could not put down. I finished it in about 4 hours, not even putting it down to eat.

This was a unique book with a lyrical and bewitching writing style. I loved the rhymes and songs that the kids sang, it added an extra layer of a sort of Gothic creep-factor that the book had going. I especially love how a lot of the crucial information pertaining to the plot and what would happen later on was in the bedtime stories that Lexi told her sister Wren, and the stories that Lexi's father told her.

The characters in the Near Witch were all so well fleshed out. Not only Lexi, who was a strong and steadfast heroine, but also the members of her family. Her uncle, Otto, basically took over the role of the male figure in the house since Lexi's father died, and while his actions weren't always the best, he only did what he did in the interest of keeping his family safe and I could understand that. Lexi's 5 year old sister, Wren, was just the cutest thing! All while I was reading, she reminded me of my little brother, who has the same spirit and playful, loving nature that Wren does, so I instantly warmed up to her. Lexi's mom had to be one of my favorite characters, though, because of the subtle things she did throughout the book to help Lexi when Otto put her on lockdown. She showed a quiet strength.

Lexi and Cole together are one of my favorite couples. Everything in their relationship is so subtle, but there was this instant connection between them. When Lexi first met Cole, she just knew that he wasn't bad, and she's protective of him from the start. It's hard to explain, but Lexi and Cole just fit so naturally together, and even if they did fall for each other a bit fast, I didn't mind it because it wasn't out of place. Plus, Cole just has this brooding attractiveness about him. He's not a hunk by any means, but still very sexy in a subdued way.

I'm just a bit confused as to what genre this is. No reference was made to a setting outside of Near, so for all we know, it could be in some magical other world, or it could be our own. There was also never any mention to a time frame of when this took place. While the atmosphere in the novel is decidedly old-timey, there were some points when a modern feel would creep in.

I recommend The Near Witch to fans of darker fantasy, almost verging on paranormal. Fans of historical fiction or fantasy will also really enjoy this book. 5 out of 5 stars.


  1. Please explain to me WHY I have not read this book yet? Am I just an idiot or do I have an aversion to amazing novels?

    I have not read one bad thing about A Near Witch!! It sounds.... wow. The writing sounds absolutely beautiful and aw gosh, I'd read it just to meet Wren. Adorkable kids have a way of burrowing into my heart :) And man, this romance..... GAH. It sounds like such a sigh-worthy bond. Damn you and your brilliant review. I WANT. NOW.

  2. I'm glad you loved this one. I always enjoy when I can not put a book down for the life of me. I have now read several great reviews on this book so I really need to read it soon because Cole sounds dreamy lol.

    Thanks for the great review :)


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