Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
June 2, 2015
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The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.Virginia Boecker's The Witch Hunter is a fantastic, magic and witch filled fantasy adventure. In the very beginning, I did think of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Yes because of the similar name but also for the historical-but-somehow-shinier feel.
Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.
Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.
Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.
But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.
Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.
The novel definitely fits into the time period it's set, but the story and the characters also transcend that. There are a few things that feel more modern, but because of how they're included, it seems to work.
I really liked Elizabeth's character from the beginning. We see her as a witch hunter, one of the best, but we also see that she's making mistakes - and she knows it. It's why she's slipping up that's the question . . . and if she can stop.
Then, she's accused of being a witch, arrested and sentenced to die and things get even better. Nicholas Perevil comes into her life just as she believes it's ending and things change for Elizabeth. I thought that the changes in Elizabeth's character were done very well. It wasn't sudden nor did it feel forced. We know about her life prior to her imprisonment so it's easy to understand how she felt. Now, as circumstances change, as new facts are revealed, she has to reexamine things.
I loved that any changes in her were done gradually and that we got to hear her questioning herself and the best course of action.
I really liked how magic was included in The Witch Hunter. There were the more dramatic scenes, but also those that showed how it could be more commonplace, more everyday. It made it easy to see how it was a part of the characters' daily lives.
The romance fits nicely in the story. It doesn't stick out, it doesn't overwhelm the characters or their thoughts or actions, it just works. It's not overdone.
I loved Elizabeth, Nicholas and the other characters she encounters as well as how the world of The Witch Hunter works. I liked that it was mostly Elizabeth's choices, her actions and decisions that made her 'special' not something arbitrary or by birth, etc.
It is the first book in a series but the ending wraps things up nicely. Though there are more than enough plot lines, questions and parts of character relationships there to have me eagerly anticipating Book 2, if you don't like cliffhangers this is a series book to read.
Other Books You Might Also Enjoy: the Steampunk Chroincles (Book 1 review) by Kady Cross and Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
arc received though NOVL newsletter, thank you to the publisher