Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch
By Victoria Schwab
Hyperion Books CH

To Sum It Up: All of the children in the small town of Near know the legend of the Near Witch. Lexi Harris knows the story better than most; her father would whisper all sorts of stories about the small village in which they live, tales about the moor which surrounds Near on all sides, and rumors of the witches who live on the brink of both worlds. When Lexi catches a glimpse of a strange figure standing on the hills just outside the reach of her home, she doesn't know what to think. And when the figure becomes a wisp of a shadowy wind and disappears just before her eyes, Lexi begins to think that she is imagining things. That is, until the next morning, when the whole town of Near is gossiping about the stranger. It is all harmless curiosity until children start to go missing in the night. Almost everyone in town is convinced that the mysterious stranger is the culprit. Lexi is the exception. She has met the stranger, Cole, and he's just a boy, maybe a few years older than she is. And while the whole town is convinced of his guilt, Lexi believes he is innocent. Cole wants nothing more than to help, and Lexi can use all the help she can get. While the rest of the town wastes time chasing shadows, Lexi has a real idea of who is magically making the children disappear. Lexi doesn't just believe in the stories of the Near Witch; she believes that the Near Witch is real.

Review: The Near Witch was an excellent book. I have always been fond of fairy tales, so when I heard about this book I just knew I had to read it. It was a fantastic story and I really did enjoy it.

The Near Witch isn't one of those princes and princesses/happily ever after sort of books; it kind of reminded me of one of the Grimm Brothers' stories. And since I love the Grimm Brothers, I obviously liked this story as well. Victoria Schwab perfectly mixed darkness and danger into her fairy tale. I actually remember reading the first couple of pages and thinking, wow this really reminds me of The Hunger Games. I mean, come on, the main protagonist is the eldest daughter of a single mother, who just happens to be the town's bread baker :D Said girl has just recently lost her father whom she was extremely close to, leaving the teenage girl to look after her beloved little sister while her mother ghosts around the house, an empty shell of her former self. Try telling me that you wouldn't be thinking the same thing! Lexi, the protagonist of the book, even wears her father's old leather boots and hunting knife, and Lexi just happens to be a tracker. Talk about déjà vu!

Anyway, enough about the factors which reminded me of The Hunger Games; let’s get back to the book I'm reviewing. The Near Witch was really sad at times, and the conflict was pretty haunting. I couldn't read certain parts late at night because like the little wimp that I am, I got pretty creeped out. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I like to think of myself as fairly brave. I usually don't get scared so easily.

Aside from my fear of being kidnapped by the Near Witch, I really liked the plot and premise of the book. I thought the whole thing was pretty unique. Sure, witches and the battle between good and evil are in a lot of fairy tales, but Schwab managed to put a new twist on some old ideas. The characters and mystery of the book were enjoyable as well. I really like Lexi. She sometimes reminded me of Katniss Everdeen while also being a totally new and different fictional character. Lexi was strong but didn't think she had to do everything on her own; she was more than willing to accept help from others. I also liked the fact that she had a mind of her own. The whole town seemed to be brainwashed, except for Lexi.

Cole was all right. He was the main male protagonist but I didn't care about him. I obviously liked how he helped Lexi and all; he just seemed a little weak. Not weak in the muscle sort of way, but in the emotional, strength of mind sort of way. He was very quiet, and I tend to like the snarky type of fictional guys. So, in a way, me not loving him is not Cole's fault. It's me, not you, Cole! He was an okay guy and I liked his back story, but he just wasn't my kind of guy.

My favorite characters in this book have to be the Sisters. I loved them; they were hilarious. The Sisters are two hedge witches who live on the outskirts of the small town of Near. They are not accepted in the town's society, but they still help whenever they are needed. The Sisters are very old, sarcastic, powerful, and intelligent. Those girls had attitude, and I loved them for it! Almost every time Lexi or Cole had a problem, they went to the Sisters for help. The two witches seemed to know everything. They knew what was going down and how to stop it. They were just that cool.

In the end, I enjoyed reading The Near Witch. It had me intrigued from the very first page. I enjoyed the story, and the characters were likable. Besides being beautifully written, the concept was truly unique. Heck, I think Disney should make a movie out of this fairy tale! Not many people can write good, original fairy tales anymore. To say the least, I would gladly reread The Near Witch or read a sequel, if there is one; I'll need to check on that ;) I'd even happily watch a Disney movie adaptation!

All in All: The Near Witch was very enjoyable to read. I do not have my own copy of the book nor do I think I will be getting one any time soon due to a lack of funds; I will, however, happily jump at the chance to read a sequel. I love this sort of stuff; I just eat it up!


  1. Sounds like a very good book!
    I love any kind of fairytale, especially one with a little darkness and danger!

    Great review!

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  3. It's so interesting that a fairy tale/witch book would be similar to THG but it sounds like there are a few similar aspects.

    I feel like I've heard of this but I didn't know much about it, but now I want to read it and get to know Lexi - and I'll be sure to read it during the day as I'm a big wimp, too!

    1. Lol, don't worry, I made sure to stay away from night time reading with this book too. You should definitely read it when you have the time! Thanks for the comment! :)

  4. Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know I am a new follower! I look forward to seeing your future reviews.



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