The Witch Hunter

The Witch Hunter Book Cover The Witch Hunter
Virginia Boecker
Juvenile Fiction
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
2015-06-02
368

The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut. Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear. Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him. But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate. Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

 

Review:

I became so absorbed in “The Witch Hunter” that my cat began taking it as a sign that I was going to forget to feed or pet him and began knocking books off of shelves every time I picked up my iPad to read it.  It’s an excellent start to a new young adult fantasy series, and I don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next.

I loved the mix of fantasy and history, and the world-building is fantastic.  In fact, it reminded me of my favorite roleplaying video game ever, “Darklands.”  Granted, if you are a young whippersnapper unfamiliar with games using DOS, you’ve probably never heard of it, but trust me when I say it is an excellent game and any book that is reminiscent of it is a winner.  Superstitions, alchemy, spells, witches, wizards, strange creatures, ghosts, corrupt government, and plagues abound.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

The characters are multi-faceted, with flaws that will drive you crazy one minute and endearing traits that have you loving them the next.  Elizabeth had me screaming in frustration and wanting to strangle her, but I understand the reasons why she acted the way she did.  The author does a wonderful job of revealing personalities at a pace that fits the story.  The plot also includes a mystery which gives you plenty of hints to solve it, so the resolution does not come out of nowhere, but is vague enough to leave you guessing until the end.  I love it when I’m stumped but can look back and see the clues were there all along.

I recommend “The Witch Hunter” to anyone ages 13 and up who enjoy fantasy novels with a historical twist.  It’s gruesome at points, with references to sex and rape, but the latter two things are not graphic.  In fact, parents who read it with their younger children may find it a good starting point for a discussion on what constitutes consent.  The only thing that made me give four stars instead of five is that a few tropes that are employed a little too often were used, but that in no way ruins what is an otherwise excellent book.  Highly recommended.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Content Warning:

Mild Language, Sexual Content, Violence, Some Gore, Rape References

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