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Saturday, August 13, 2011

"The Near Witch" by Victoria Schwab

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.

Let me start off by saying, this story was so beautifully written. I can safely say that I will gladly whatever Victoria Schwab writes in the future.

I love that she kept the era this was set in, so ambiguous. It added to the mystery and allure of the story. You get the impression that it's taking place many years ago, but you never really know for sure. I loved how she built up the moor that surrounded the village of Near. It was so haunting, but at the same time you just wanted to know what was out there.

Our main character Lexi, was totally badass. She may not have been your conventional kick butt heroine, but she wasn't afraid to stick up for what she believed and what she wanted. I liked the fact that she wasn't a prissy girl, who couldn't do anything for herself. She was a hunter and tracker, she even chopped her own wood for her family. Her little sister Wren was absolutely precious and I could picture her dancing around and playing her games. Cole wasn't your typical male lead either, but that doesn't mean he wasn't swoon worthy. In the beginning he was very hesitant to be around Lexi, but as we learn it is for good reason. As the story goes on he proves how worthy he is and shows how much he cares for Lexi.

The direction the story took and the way the people in the village were behaving, in the second half of the book, actually scared me a little. Not because it was horror movie type stuff, but it was a very realistic feeling portrayal of the way humans behave when they need to have an answer or someone to blame. It was an excellent, if frightening, insight into the human condition.

This story was haunting, romantic and at times hopeful. I hope everyone will give this book a read :0)

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