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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized6 Comments

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: borrowed ARC from author for review
Publication Date: 02 Aug 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 1423137876
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 288
Place(s) Traveled to: The village of Near
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
First Line: It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark.
There are different types of books out there waiting to be read. There are the books in which you must devour them in one sitting. There are the books that are to be tossed aside because they are unworthy of your time. And there are the books that are to be savored – read slowly so that each and every word can really sink in. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab is a book that needs to be savored as its writing simply defies words to explain it. I loved how Victoria describes things….a description isn’t just visual but audible as well and that is something that helps set it apart from other books that I’ve read. The Near Witch is the sort of book that I long to hear the audio version because with the right narrator (Victoria’s Mom!!!) then the story will come to life because of its amazing descriptions.
I fell in love with the village of Near…even with it douche-y overbearing & oppressive old-world thoughts on women I loved it. One reason is the old world charm. Life is simpler and there is something to be said about living a simple technology free life. Although, I’d never be able to fully live in a world where women are best kept in the kitchen cooking & cleaning. I am much more like Lexie and would be getting in trouble testing the limits of conformity and the desire to do things that I knew I could do better than the men. Lexie is such a strong and amazing character and I just loved her to pieces. She never let anyone tell her that she couldn’t do something. Instead she had the attitude of just wait…I’ll show you exactly what I can do. This may not seem like a big deal to you or I in the modern world but remember Near isn’t a modern place.

Lexie is also a heart breaking character as well because she really doesn’t have anyone to confide in. Her father wasn’t like other men in the village and he never let the fact that Lexie was a girl stop him from training her as a hunter and tracker. But with his death she lost that powerful voice that urged her to be more then people thought she could be. Especially with her mother retreating and becoming a shell of herself – struggling to move on with life when her heart has broken so much from the loss of her husband. Lexie’s mother will show flashes of her former self but they are rare and you can see how hard they are on Lexie who only wants life to be how it was.

Then there is Cole…the mysterious stranger who arrives in Near just as children start to disappear. Is he the one responsible? Or is he the only one who can save them? The villagers – including Lexie’s Uncle the town Protector – just want to drive off the stranger. Hit first and ask questions later because they don’t know what else to do. For why would a resident be taking the children? It has to be attached to this stranger because strangers do not come to Near. Again Lexie sets herself apart by being rational and wanting to ask first and punish later. She sets out to find out the truth of this stranger and finds herself drawn to him. And really, I can’t blame her. Cole is totally swoon worthy and I really want to know more about him!

Not all characters are likable though…the Council members, Bo….and UGH…Tyler!! My world those I wanted to smack on many occasion. Especially Tyler! He really needs to be transported to the modern world and taught not to be such a douche! (Dear blog reader, you should know that as I write this in January that my word of the moment is douche. I really can’t seem to stop using it…especially when it is so fitting for characters like Tyler.) Tyler who is the opposite of Cole…which then just goes and adds to Cole’s appeal. *swoon*

The Near Witch is very much a character driven story. They are what makes this story really come to life. But characters without action is just plain boring…so while you are getting to know these amazing characters there are these subtle layers of stories. There are the old tales told to frighten children…and which may not be entirely fiction. There are new stories told to cover up how things used to be and how the elders want the town to go. There are stories to entertain and to distract from the things that go bump in the night. The Near Witch is a mystery, its a fantasy, its a paranormal, its a story about family and friendship and even a little bit of romance. Its a story of so many different things all subtly and brilliantly woven together to create this rich tapestry of a world that you can see just out the corner of your eye.

There is so much going on in my head about what I want to say about The Near Witch but it is so hard to find the right words to use. I loved its fairy tale quality. Its haunting prose. And I hate how I can’t read this book for the first time ever again. With each re-read (and yes I know that this will be a book I re-read often) I know I will fall in love with it again and again. I will love the characters more and the story and probably even get something new with each reading. But there is just something so magical about reading certain books for the first time. The not knowing where each turn of the page will take you. Its the same sort of feeling I had after I read Pride & Prejudice for the first time or Cracked up to Be by Courtney Summers or any of the few other books that hold a permanent place on my nightstand. Its hard to believe that Victoria Schwab is a debut author and I know that I am going to be a fan of her books for a long time to come. As with Courtney Summers I’ll buy a book by Victoria just because its Victoria and be assured that the story within is something brilliant and wonderful.

Friends of mine…blog readers…I give you fair warning…The Near Witch is a book I’m going to be a bully for. So just save yourselves some time and run out and get it immediately! You won’t regret it. I promise.

6 Responses to “The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab”

  1. Caspette

    Oh Oh Oh why did read this I want now. Curses. Good review though this book sounds fantastic.

  2. Michelle

    I know you’ve been telling me this but I have to get on reading this one! It seems like everywhere I turn people are loving it up.