Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch (The Near Witch)
 Grad Student here, reporting on my latest read, The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab. Ignore that cover, since it is totally unrelated, and lets get into it.

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 (Good Reads).

Originality: 6. This is a ghost story about a spurned witch. It squeeks over the mediocre been-there-done-that by having a really evocative setting—the wild, windy moor.
Absurdity: 2. The horror element is soft but well-done. The magic is earthy and not overwrought. No need to say SERIOUSLY YOUR MAGIC MADE THE CAROUSEL IN CENTRAL PARK COME ALIVE!?! (eye roll to the Wondrous Strange series (review))
Level of Paranormal Romance: 7. Did a strong female lead with a taste for magic fall in love with a mysterious loner dude who most likely has magical powers? Check. Did they quickly progress to small kisses on the neck? Yes. So paranormal and a tiny bit of insta-love. (Don’t get me wrong, Cole is fairly dreamy, but I am calling it like it is).
Level of Harry Potter-ness: 5. This book has POTENTIAL. The great creepy setting of rolling moors and malevolent wind, children going missing—this could have been a scary page-turner. I can’t put my finger on why, but I was not pulled in. Nonetheless, the tight lyrical quality of the prose was a nice literary change of pace compared to other YA paranormal reads.

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