Release Date: March 12th 2019
Publisher: Titan Books
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars
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.
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.
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.
This is the rerelease of Victoria Schwab’s debut novel featuring an all new short story titled The Ash Born Boy. The story is a dark and atmospheric tale that follows Lexi a young girl living in the small town of Near. The town is extremely isolated so when a stranger comes to visit the villagers become very unsettled. Soon after children begin disappearing from their beds and the mysterious stranger is instantly blamed for it. Lexi believes the stranger is innocent, but will she be able to prove it?
This was such a gripping read! I have fast become a fan of V. E. Schwab and I was so looking forward to reading her debut novel. Though it has been reprinted it has not been edited or changed since the original publication and it was fascinating to see how her writing has grown from this book to Vengeful and City of Ghosts.
The Near Witch is a story full of magic, mystery and danger. It kept me reading long after I’d planned to put the book down and I completely fell in love with Lexi and her sister Wren. She’s determined to do what she thinks is right (regardless of what her uncle thinks), she stands up for herself and she’ll do anything to protect her sister. The story unfolds beautifully and the plot is well written with an air of Neil Gaiman around it.
The creepy atmospheric setting is really brought to life in Schwab’s elegant writing and I could almost feel the icy wind of on the moor. While I really enjoyed this book it didn’t grab me as much as some of the authors other work but it was still a hugely fascinating read. The additionally short story too was a brilliant look at the back story of the visiting stranger. If you’re a fan of Victoria Schwab or you like magical tales full of atmosphere, I’d highly recommend this one!