Leslie's Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

nearwitch ARC: 282 pages
Publisher: Hyperion

Release Date: August 2, 2011
ISBN: 9781423137870

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Amazon)
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.

Leslie's Review:
Just from reading the synopsis of The Near Witch I knew that this was going to be a beautiful fairytale story and I had pretty high expectations for it. I did have minor issues with this book but it still turned out to be a fantastic read that left me breathless and excited for what debut author Victoria Schwab will write next.

The Near Witch was a beautiful, lovely and intense story and I loved Ms. Schwab's lyrical writing style. I did have a hard time getting into it in the beginning because the pacing was really slow and it didn't grab my attention. Once I was one-third of the way in, however, the pace did start to pick up and from there I couldn't put it down. The climax of the story was amazing, thrilling and heart-pounding. Then, it tapered off to a very nice falling action to an ending that was predictable but made me happy nonetheless and I closed the book with a contented sigh. I am happy to say there were no crazy cliffhangers here--the story concluded satisfyingly with no loose ends.

I thought the main character, Lexi, was absolutely wonderful and I enjoyed reading about her throughout the book. She was very strong, brave, smart and resourceful. More than once I wanted to reach out to her and comfort her. Besides the slow beginning my other issue with this book was Cole the love interest. He was a mysterious, kind of a wallflower character to me and I really didn't know what to make of him. My first impression of Cole stuck with me throughout the book and even when Cole started to do more and become more of a hero to Lexi, his actions still never really made an impression on me.

I do recommend The Near Witch to anyone who loves a good fairytale because this book will bring back that cozy feeling you had when you were a child when reading a fairytale bedtime story. I had pretty minor issues with this book. It didn't help that I was in a bit of a reading slump when I first began to read this book so that probably colored my perception of it in the beginning. This book was a wonderful debut and I am very excited to read more by Ms. Schwab--she is another author to look out for in the future. 4.5 out of 5 stars


  1. I agree with you about Cole. I never really bonded with him and got to him as well as others readers did. The Near Witch is a fantastic book though and very original! Great review

  2. Yay! We have been hearing good stuff about this book and totally want to read it. We love that it's a standalone, too! Great review. :)

  3. Pacing is something that is almost as important to me as characters. Knowing that the story begins slowly will help as I tend to get antsy with a book and will even stop reading it if it is too slow. Great review, I will definitely give this one a try as I am a sucker for fairy tale retelling of any kind!


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