Tag Archives: witches

The Witchfinder’s Sister

The Witchfinder's Sister Book Cover The Witchfinder's Sister
Beth Underdown
Ballantine Books

Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth—but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew’s soul.

There is a new darkness in the town, too—frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice’s blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he’s become, Alice is desperate to intervene—and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew’s reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul.

Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother’s brutal mission—and is drawn into the Hopkins family’s past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evils—before more innocent women are forced to the gallows.

Inspired by the real-life story of notorious “Witchfinder General” Matthew Hopkins, Beth Underdown’s thrilling debut novel blends spellbinding history with echoes of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for a truly haunting reading experience.



3 1/2 Stars Rounded Down

Having had an interest in witch trials for as long as I can remember, I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of “The Witchfinder’s Sister.”  Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

Parts of the book were interesting, as well as horrifying, and the characters were intriguing.  The problem is the other parts were just so slow and dull that it cancelled out the good parts in my mind.

If “The Witchfinder’s Sister” sounds like something you may like, then by all means give it a try.  It may be that the problem with the story was me.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The King Slayer (The Witch Hunter, Book 2)

The King Slayer Book Cover The King Slayer
The Witch Hunter, Book 2
Virginia Boecker
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
June 14, 2016

An action-packed and suspenseful sequel to The Witch Hunter, perfect for fans of Graceling and the Grisha Trilogy.

"I think, in time, you'll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory."

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He's readying for a war against those who would resist his rule--namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth's strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she'll go to save those she loves.

"[Filled] with everything a good fantasy book needs: swords, poison, black magic, and betrayal."--April Tucholke, author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, on The Witch Hunter



“The King Slayer” is an excellent follow-up to “The Witch Hunter.”

For those who read the first of the duology, you will be happy to know that all of your favorite (and not-so-favorite) characters are back, most of them with much bigger parts in the story.  I’m almost afraid to write anything in this review for fear of spoiling someone.  I can say that it is as good as, if not better, than the first.  The world is still one of the most well-built I have ever read.

There is something that some may find controversial, but given the historical context, it’s really the only way it could play out realistically.

Oh, and please Virginia Boecker, give us a book about Schuyler.  There seems like so much to tell, and I don’t want to see him go.

Highly recommended to anyone who loved the first.

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


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Gore

The Witch Hunter

The Witch Hunter Book Cover The Witch Hunter
Virginia Boecker
Juvenile Fiction
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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.



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