“Haunting and lyrical The Near Witch reads like old time folklore. And I love it.”
From Goodreads: 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.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.
The Near Witch is a fairytale written in the 21st century that reads like a 16th century tale. The world is lush and the folklore of the Near Witch is full of detail and haunting beauty. Lexi is comparable to an old world Nancy Drew, her hunt for the children is based on instinct and her knowledge of Near.
When a new boy comes to town and children start to go missing the citizens of Near, especially Lexi’s Uncle, want to find the boy to question him about the children. It must be him stealing them from their beds because he is the only stranger and strangers are bad news. The problem with finding him is he is rumored to be up at the house of the two old witches, whom make everyone in town a bit nervous.
Lexi has had her share of misfortune as a fairy tale heroine should. She lost her father and her uncle is now their breadwinner and he just wants to marry Lexi off. Lexi, however has other ideas and employs the knowledge her father gave her before his passing in every way she can get by with.
The Near Witch is a strong contendor for my book of the year, there are several quantifiers that go into me choosing and Victoria Schwab’s debut has them in spades:
Readability: The plot flows extremely well from one thought, one mishap to the next.
Escapism: When you are in the world of The Near Witch everything else melts away and you are surrounded by black forests and howling whispering winds.
Writing: Style is reminiscent of old folklore tales, and the verbage used was fantastic.
I whole-heartedly recommend for all to try this book, it is not ‘another’ paranormal tale, it is not a YA romance, it is a hauntingly lyrical and intimate look into the lives of those who live in the Near. It reads like a classic and I cannot wait to see what Victoria Schwab writes next.
The Near Witch is out in a month or so but until then beware, do not listen too closely to the wind for it whispers secrets and invitations to places you would much rather not go.