Book review | The Near Witch by V. E. Schwab
Author: V. E. Schwab
No. of pages: 368
Genre: Fantasy fiction
Published on: 18th April 2019
Published by: Titan Books
My rating: ★★★★☆
The near witch is a story told to frighten children. The wind is Lonely and always looking for company. There are no strangers in the town of near. These are the truths Lexi has heard all her life. But when a stranger appears in near, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. Then children start disappearing from their beds and as the hunt for them intensiﬁes, Lexi discovers that the witch might be more than a bedtime story.
I've heard a lot of V. E. Schwab before but never tried it. This was my first V. E. Schwab book and naturally I was quite expectant. Did not disappoint me at all. I was hooked right from the beginning. There was a time when I used to devour fantasy fiction but I slowly grew out of it. Now, after reading The Near Witch, I'd definitely read more V. E. Schwab.
The book's premise is based on an ancient children's song and bedtime story that is very popular in the small village of Near. Everyone knows about the story of a witch that lived years ago, who loved children, but was hated by the adults. The Near Witch is more of a legend than a tale and that the village of Near, the blowing winds and the moor surrounding it was itself built with the Near Witch's breathe and soul.
One night when a strange boy comes to the village and from the next day children start disappearing when the world goes to sleep, the villagers go on a manhunt to find this boy. Only Lexi believes that it's not the boy but some darker things are luring the children at night from their beds.
I have nothing but admiration for this book. The story's premise and the mysterious and dark vibes in the book were enough to make me fall in love with it. Lexi, the protagonist is one brave soul and the fact that I kept cheering on Lexi inside my head whenever she went out on some mission will tell you how much I adored this character. Lexi's back story and the strange boy's back story added moroseness to the book.
PS, the book has one bonus short story about the stranger and I totally dug in it too.
To be honest, I'm in love with V. E. Schwab's story-telling. The entire novel is written like a song. Like a siren or a witch's song that hypnotizes you and lures you. Right from the beginning I became a fan of the author's work. And the fact that The Near Witch was the author's first book and the first book itself has such amazing narration, just thinking how her succeeding books would be makes me excited to read her next books.
Definitely recommend it to people who craves fantasy fiction with headstrong female protagonists and mysterious premises and I'd also recommend it to people who want to try their hands at the genre of fantasy.
V.E. Schwab is the bestselling author of Vicious, which was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2013, an Amazon Best Book of the Year (as well as Best Book of the month), a semi-finalist in the Goodreads Choice 2013 Book Awards, and the ALA top pick for Fantasy for their 2014 reading list. It was also noted in various author best-of lists, from Laini Taylor to Chuck Wendig. She is also the author of The Near Witch, The Archived, and The Unbound.
I received a copy of the book from the publishers in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.