Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
(Goodreads profile)

Source: Won
Publisher: Hyperion Books (Children)
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 288
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.
There are so many words that I can use to describe The Near Witch - mesmerizing, atmospheric, spellbinding, beautiful, lyrical... take your pick. All I know is that this is one of the best books I have ever read.

Victoria's writing is gorgeous. There is a lyrical quality to it and it immersed me completely in the town of Near. I feel like I took a trip to the moors, felt and heard the howling wind. I couldn't keep my eyes off the page, but at the same time, I wanted to take it slow so that I wouldn't miss a word. There is a skill to conveying whole images in a few words and it's definitely one that Victoria possesses.

As for the story, it really did read like a fairytale (albeit a spooky one). There is imagination and children's games and just so many other elements that I loved. The plot builds slowly in the beginning but in doing so, has the tension and intrigue built up so much that I was on the edge of my seat by the climax. There were parts that were peaceful and parts that were horrifying (in that fascinating kind of way, y'know?) and all of them blended together seamlessly.

The cast of unique and memorable characters are the icing on the cake for me. I loved Lexi as a protagonist because she is smart, stubborn, tough and can think for herself when it really matters. Cole AKA 'The Stranger' was a great love interest and I think that he and Lexi make a fantastic team.

So, if you haven't read this one yet, my only question is: Why not?

Cover Comments: I'm not really sure how I feel about this one! It's definitely a lot (A LOT) prettier in person and I like the overall jacket (back and spine) more than the front alone (sorry, couldn't find a picture). Also, when you tilt it in the light, there are these like white swirl things on the cover! That amused me for a while. So, yeah. I like what they were trying to do with the cover. I can see how the unsure-but-reaching-and-almost-touching ties in with the story.


  1. You lucky thing for winning this! I've been wanting to read it for ages. The writing sounds amazing - you don't get many books where there is a real lyrical quality to the writing. I'm also very interested in this Cole person - ahh I wanna read it! :P Great review, Sonia.

  2. Spooky fairy tale? I want to read this *so* much. Lexi and "the boy who seems to fade like smoke" -- why say Cole when that sounds so awesome? -- sound like great characters. And I love how washed-out and faded the cover seems. Great review!

  3. Oh.My.God. This book just went up in the need-right-now-or-I'll-die-ness. I loved your review. It was just enough to make me reach for the money and pound my way to a bookstore. If it weren't for my freaking straightener dying I would! (dang beauty products. I know I don't technically need them but ugh. I do. I really do.)

    I liked your cover comments too. I personally think the cover is freaking awesome.

    ♥ Trish

  4. Your review was quite "lyrical" as well :)

    This isn't my usual kind of read, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. The cover is catching, but I always wonder when the cover of the book doesn't seem to tie in so well with the story.

  5. Wow, you've totally sold me on this. It sounds amazing!!! I was interested before, but now I'm salivating to get my hands on a copy! I love that it has that fairytale atmosphere and the writing sounds beautiful.

    I'm searching for a copy for this as I type! Well, when I finish typing. Either way, I'm excited. Fantastic review!

  6. Liz: I KNOW. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that I'd won it <3 To think, it was in my junk mail... Hope you get to read it soon!

    Jenna: Uh huh. Let's just call him that. Although there IS a story behind the name Cole...

    Trish: YAAAAAAAY! You have no idea how happy that made me, seriously :) Darn beauty products. How dare you interrupt Trish when she's trying to spend money on books?!

    The Book Girl: Why thank you! :) It certainly is different from most covers on my shelf.

    Brodie: *Victory dance* It is. Beautiful. Hope you get a chance to read it soon! Hope everyone does.