The Near Witch

by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch Cover imageA stranger has come to the village of Near. Which is strange, because Near has no strangers. Surrounded by the dangerous and hostile moor, Near is a rather insular place.

But with the appearance of the stranger comes terrible times. Children are disappearing from their beds at night. Lexi knows the entire town blames the stranger, but she feels he is not at fault.

She fears it might be something far more sinister preying on the village at night.

The Near Witch is an edge-of-your-seat, spooky fantasy that happens to have glorious writing. Not only is it a great story of witches and folklore, but also one of caution about how group-think can turn deadly.

Throughout the novel, Schwab interjects amazing rhymes and stories about the Near Witch of Near’s past – the stuff that is now legend and child’s play. The stories and rhymes are haunting and gorgeous, so well written that I actually Googled whether or not this was a retelling.

I very much enjoyed Lexi. She was strong and independent, but recognized that there were people/things she should respect and heed. I thought her relationship with the Stone sisters could have used a bit more umph. Or maybe I just wanted to see more of that relationship. Lexi was so curious about the two village witches but never really discovered much about them. I really would have liked to see that fleshed out a bit.

As I mentioned, the writing is gorgeous – evident in both the stories told by Lexi to her sister and just in the descriptions of the village and the moor. It set an excellent mood and turned the moor into a feature character of the story.

I highly recommend The Near Witch. There is a romance thread throughout,* but read it for the lush description and haunting tales of the Near Witch.

* I would have mentioned it if I didn’t think that a. it was a fairly typical romance. Nothing was particularly earth-shattering about it and b. I would have to immediately talk about something semi-spoilery that happens DUE to the romance. It involves another person. I was appalled. See, I’m already getting worked up. So, let’s pretend I didn’t mention it and move on. Unless you’ve read it and want to be appalled with me in the comments.

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