Book Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

If you’re a Schwabling then you know about The Near Witch and how exciting it’s re-release has been. This book alone is worth having just as a physical inspiration and Schwab’s introduction to the re-release of The Near Witch is a must-read for any aspiring authors. The history of how this novel came (and failed, and came again) to be is fascinating, inspiring, and a cold harsh look at the publishing industry and how if you’re going to be an artist you can’t ever give up on your craft, you have to keep pushing forward despite the struggles.

The Near Witch is definitely a book I would have loved as a teenager, and while that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it now it’s just the truth that I am at a different part of my life now than I would have been when this book was first published.

I adored the world Schwab created and how even while following the type of paranormal love story that was popular at the time she still manages to change some conventions of the genre. Unlike many protagonists that were popular at the time Lexi is not special. She is not a witch and she doesn’t have any powers, she’s just a village girl grieving the death of her father, the change in her family life, and her deep love for her sister Wren who she fears will disappear with the rest of the children in Near. Lexi’s whole motivation is about her love for her sister and even if she is just ordinary she will do everything her mortal self can do to protect her sister and find the missing children of Near.

Cole, our special mystery boy, also didn’t follow the conventions expected of him either but was his own unique brand of sweetness that I wish this genre had more of. I loved the inclusion of the short story “The Ash-Born Boy” because it explored Cole’s backstory more and showed readers how Schwab’s writing grew from the original text to its in-universe short story.

The Near Witch was a story that kept surprising me the further I read. I kept expecting it to be a cookie cutter shape of the paranormal romances that dominated at the time but Schwab’s self and writing shone through, even in her debut she had her own voice and her own story to tell and she wasn’t afraid to tell it.

The re-release of The Near Witch, like Schwab herself, is a unique and unforgettable take on paranormal young adult romance that reveals Schwab’s perseverance as a creator and the different ways to tell similar stories. It’s inspiring, and I know Schwab’s work will continue inspiring her many growing fan base of readers.

Publication: March 12th 2019 (Originally August 2nd 2011)
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 354 pages
Source: Pre-order from Indigo
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
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.
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.
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.”

 

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