Tuesday, 9 June 2015

REVIEW: THE WITCH HUNTER by Virginia Boecker


The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn't look dangerous. A tiny, blonde, wisp of a girl shouldn't know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the king's elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.

When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she's arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she's to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor - Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.

As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas's curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate... and life and death.

Published: June 4th 2015
Publisher: Orchard Books
Rating: 4.5 hearts

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy!

"I was afraid of being alone.” My voice is quiet, small. I don’t know if they can hear me over the sound of the men shouting on deck or the waves lapping against the ship’s hull, but I keep going. “Of dying alone. Caleb says we all die alone, but I don’t think that’s true, not really. It’s different to face it alone. To know that no one is coming, that no one will ever come. To know it’s just you and that’s all it’ll ever be—”
I break off then , turn around to find the four of them staring at me, a chorus of horror and fear and sympathy on their faces.

First of all, what does The Witch Hunter have to offer?
  • A kickass heroine 
  • A romance to die for
  • More cute guys than you can shake a stick at (seriously!)
  • An extremely compelling and well-thought out storyline
  • Spellbinding magic and scenes that will literally take your breath away
There is SO much more, but if I wrote them all down, I'd end up writing the entire story. Basically, if you like your heroines tough and your storylines all heart-in-your-mouth, get this book. Immediately.

The Story

When I read the summary, I went into TWH with a clear picture on how this story was going to go. But I was wrong! So very wrong. In a good way, thankfully. TWH was fast-paced, instantly hooked my attention and reeled me in. And for someone who doesn't usually like witch-related books, I knew I was going to love this book.

The story revolves around a girl named Elizabeth Grey who is, you've guessed it, a witch hunter. From the moment we meet her, we are thrust into Boeckers magical version of  the Reformation of the 16th century. Her vision of this era is nothing short of genius. The plot is intricately woven together, not a single moment of the story is dull. Although a few scenes were devoid of that extra-special 'spark', I enjoyed this book enough to put it on my favorites shelf.

TWH had all of the elements I love the most: hot guys, pirates, romance, mystery, magic, witches and even a beautiful masquerade ball. I'm not sure how historically accurate the book was, but from what I know of the 1500's, it was very close. Although, I am still put-out that we were never told exactly WHY magic was banned. I might have missed it in the book, but from what I've seen in other reviews, I think there was no explanation? Also, there was no in-depth discussion about how everyone is able to perform magic. Fingers crossed that in book 2 we get more information on what makes a witch a witch.

The Characters

First of all, I'm not quite sure what Elizabeth saw in Caleb, exactly. For the first 3/4 of the book, I wasn't interested in him at all. Surely if you were THAT close, you would have defied orders and gone in to save her despite what was planned. I guess there's a lot about Caleb and Elizabeth we just don't know.

(Spoilers below. Highlight to read)

I wasn't particularly bothered when Caleb died. In my eyes he hadn't redeemed himself enough to warrant tears.

Elizabeth Grey is easily one of my most favorite of heroines despite her few flaws in the book. She is a character that grows and changes as the book progresses. Her transition from being a tough witch hunter to something she never could have imagined is beautiful, truly. Through the pages you can see for yourself how her frame of mind changes, and how she acts around the people she once would have called her enemies.

Which brings us to...

Nicholas Perevil's crew.

These were my favorite characters of TWH. Each one is so likable and well-crafted. I started out hating a certain female character in the crew, but by the end of the book I loved and adored her. The love-interest sneaked up on me, that's for sure! I barely noticed him when we first met him, disregarding him almost instantly. Actually, I thought Elizabeth's love-interest was actually George! And I'm still kind of gutted that it wasn't him - he was a complete cutie-patootie. Plus he's absolutely hilarious, which made him so very lovable. Each one of the crew -especially Nicholas- has a killer background. I can't wait to read more about these characters in the next book!

Overall Thoughts

Wow, after reading back what I've wrote so far, this has come out very mixed. I feel the need to stress that I personally adored this book. But while I loved Boecker's stunning new take on witches, I think that there will be a majority that don't. This book is one of those that you'll either love intensely or simply hate. It's a matter of personal taste, not the writer's storytelling ability. But as I practically leap at books set in historical eras and times, I LOVED The Witch Hunter. This review is the hardest I've had to write in a long, long time. I will never be fully satisfied with this review, and I've rewrote it three times over two days. It's just... so difficult to fully express how I feel about this beautiful book!

"Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear."

Finally, I should also add that this book is a treasure-trove of meaningful quotes.

Rating: 4.5 hearts

1 comment:

  1. Now I have to buy a copy! Laughing. Good post. It sounds intriguing.