Wednesday 2 November 2011

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Pages -  282
Published by Disney Hyperion  in 2011

It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark. The match hisses to life. 
'Please,' comes the small voice behind me. 
\'It's late, Wren,' I say. The fire chews on the wooden stem in my hand. I touch the match to each of the three candles gathered on the low chest by the window. 'It's time for bed.'
With the candle all lit, I shake the match and the flame dies, leaving a trail of smoke that curls up against the darkened glass.

Goodreads Summary
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.

Whoa! This book is just dripping with atmosphere! 
The words created send a tingle down your spine and a constant peering over your shoulder to make sure no one is trying to scare you witless. The village of Near is beautifully built and I found this world reminded me of the one set in The Village by M. Night. Shyamalan. It has a dark and gothic feel to it that really gives you the creeps.  You can almost feel yourself standing in the mist, watching it whirl around you.

This book will leave a chill in your heart and soul. As the children begin to disappear without trace or struggle, fear grips you tightly and won't let you go. You will find yourself recalling the tales of your childhood, always told to you in the darkness and guaranteed to find you wanting to sleep with the light on. 

The whole story is told in first person from the main protagonist's point of view. You find yourself experiencing everything that happens at the same time Lexi does. Lexi is a very strong character, never once does she crumble, even when she is faced with such danger. She is so much stronger than the older women in her village.  She is adamant that the stranger is innocent and will not stop fighting his corner until the rest of the town believes her. There was a little bit of instantly falling in love going on between Cole and Lexi, but they were both so well written causing me to love them so much, that I overlooked my pet hate for once.

This book is filled with strong imagery and settings. The descriptions bring the world to life like a 3D pop up book. I just wanted to step into the page and absorb the world of Near. I couldn't figure out the time period in which the book was set, but I am having a guessing at the 1800's but with a touch of an alternative reality. I could be wrong though. 

I thought the plot was extremely well written. I panicked as I reached the last few chapters, worrying that everything would not be solved. Obviously the author was just playing with me, as she easily had time to tie up all the loose ends. 

This book shows how paranoia and speculation can create added drama often leading to disastrous consequences. A word, a rumour, can turn into the so called truth in a matter of moments, causing an innocent person's life to be in jeopardy.

Victora Shwab is definitely a welcome new member to the debut author ranks. She writes with breathtaking beauty whilst masking the fact that she is quietly stealing your soul. A spine chilling thriller, not to be read at bedtime! May just need to leave the light on tonight.


  1. It's a creepy book? *shakes head*
    I do not do well with creepy books!
    Nice review!

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  2. Oooh - a spine chilling thriller! Sounds good! I've been hearing lots of good things about this one!

  3. Sounds awesome, I've been meaning to read this one since getting an ARC on NetGalley but just ran out of time. Definitely on the read list now! Great review Viv :)

  4. I got this book in my swag bag at World Fantasy Con and I can't wait to get started! Thanks for the informative review.

  5. Jenni - chilling it is!

    Krazzyme - ooh you must try it.

    Leanna - it is fab. I highly recommend it.

    Teddyree - glad to read I wasn't the only one who ran out of time on Net Galley with this one!

    Lena - you will love it. It is completely awesome. Just like your book!

  6. Fantastic review-I adored this book so much! So beautifully written, and I loved the village mentality.

    The Cait Files

  7. I am liking spooky week :) Very spooky indeed

  8. This sounds fantastic! Anything that sends a tingle down my spine is something I want to read!

  9. Cait - the village is just amazing. I could move into it.

    Blodeuedd - thank you!

    Darlene - I highly recommend this book.

  10. I HAVE to get this book, it sounds right up my street. x

  11. I kinda put this one out of my mind thinking I wouldnt like it for some reason but now Ive seen your review I think I's love it, will have to get it added to the wishlist

  12. I've always been kind of on the fence about this one but it sounds quite good. Might have to check it out :)


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