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.I've heard a whole lot of praise for The Near Witch, so needless to say, I was super excited to read it. I really liked it, but I had some complaints. Though there is no denying Victoria Schwab has a way with words and a great ability to create a palpable atmosphere.
The vibes you get reading The Near Witch are awesome. I got this feeling that it was always windy, so there was always the sound of wind in your ears, making it hard to hear. This made it feel creepier to me, I don't know why. But the idea of a village secluded by this vast, mysterious moor that people don't really venture onto is creepy, right? Good stuff.
I liked Lexi, because she doesn't settle for the lame information people tell her. Instead, she goes out and figures things out herself, and heroines who sit about and moan make me angry. Lexi had a dilemma and did something about it. We've been talking a lot about women in my British literature class and it's good to see a girl who sees problems and fixes them. This was not the case in a lot of fiction even up until recently. She really sticks it to the men who thought she should just sit in the house and let them take care of it.
I did think the relationship between Lexi and Cole was not developed enough, though. She sees him on the moor, talks to him once, is attracted to him, and then they're together. It happens pretty quickly, and I just didn't feel like it was a natural progression, but more of a device to make sure Lexi was there to defend Cole to the Elders. That being said, I did think they were cute once they were together, and Cole is sigh-worthy. Can't help but like the wounded, sad type, which Cole exudes in spades. Plus, he can control wind, which is pretty awesome, right?
The witches, Magda and Dreska, were probably my favorite part. You never knew when they were going to be sweet and grandmotherly and give Lexi a charm, or when they were going to kick her out of their house spewing crazy mutterings. Unpredictable and fun!
Risk a paper cut? The Near Witch is awesomely atmospheric. It's a story of myths, betrayals, backstabbings, and love. How could you not want to read it?
To buy: Amazon
I also must thank Disney-Hyperion for graciously providing me with an egalley through Netgalley. Thank you, thank you!