Friday, October 30, 2015

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Publication Date:  August 2, 2011
Publisher:  Hyperion Books
Pages:  282
Series:  Stand Alone
Genre:  Paranormal
Synopsis:  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.

Review:  The Near Witch is a story that you would find in an old book of fairy tales, tucked away on your childhood bookshelf.  You will find whimsy and wishes tucked in between every page.

Accompanying the dreamlike quality of the book, the writing is nothing short of poetic.  The setting is so vivid that I could practically hear the wind singing and see the dead woods in front of me.  There is also something I didn't expect: the eerie, mystifying vibe that encompassed the town.

Sounds seem sharper, too, at night. A whistle.  A crack.  A child's whisper.

There are no strangers in Near.  But then there is a stranger, so isolated moor people do what is expected: accuse him of kidnapping.  While the plot was not anything new, and often predictable, it was nothing but captivating and familiar, like an old Disney movie you've watched for the millionth time over but never cease to be excited for.

Lexi is stubborn and fierce, and my singular complaint about her is that she isn't exactly unique--there is nothing about her that stands out to me.  Cole, however, is a different story altogether.  Reserved, empathetic, and a nice change from the typical romantic interest.

Magda looks at me as if I've gone mad.  Or I've grown up.  It's kind of the same thing.

Speaking of romance, Lexi and Cole's is sweet and heartfelt--only it is a case of insta-love, unfortunately.  Although, in a strange turn of events, it still felt natural and you understand why they felt for one another.

The one thing I truly missed from this book was depth--what about life outside of Near, what is it like?  In that way, The Near Witch greatly resembles a fairy tale: wonderful story contained to a small world.

The Near Witch unfolds slowly, pulling you gently into this town where witches are outcasts and children are disappearing from their beds without a trace.  The fear and hatred of the townspeople is true to life and the overall characterization is incredibly well-thought out.  Victoria Schwab crafted a terribly realistic as well as magical novel.

4 Keys


  1. Oh this definitely does sound like one of those old Disney movies!! Boo to the instalove but this still sounds like a great story. Also I think witches are so interesting. Great review!

    1. It really is! Instalove and all, am I right? But it is still such a wonderful story--especially the witches! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Ooooooh! Sounds interesting! I must check this out. Thanks for sharing! :)

    anna | annaish

    P.S- I hope you enjoy Carry On! It's amazing! :)

    1. It's a great book--I highly recommend it! And I am loving Carry On so far! XD Thanks for commenting!

  3. Ooh this sounds like such a good book! I ADORE that magical fairytale feeling. Another one to add to my looooong list of books I need to read! Lovely review, Erin! ♡

    1. It is so magical and lovely! I was really impressed, especially considering it's a debut novel. Thanks for commenting, Rebekah!

  4. I can't wait to finally read something by the famous Victoria Schwab and this looks like a good enough start. Despite that it really doesn't sound too original it does seem to have some unique parts. The insta-love is a shame, but hopefully, it won't bother me much either.
    Amazing review! :)
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    1. Victoria Schwab is a wonderful author and this is her debut novel, so starting here would be perfect, really! It isn't unique, but is just beyond pleasant to read. And while there is insta-love, it isn't nauseating--thankfully. Thanks for commenting! XD