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The Near Witch Paperback – May 15, 2012 by Victoria Schwab (Author)

I loved Victoria Schwab’s "This Savage Song" and enjoyed "The Archived, but this book, her debut, was. ..anti-climatic. "The Near Witch" is the story of a small town that has a connection to witches, a history of hysteria, and a bad habit of blaming the wrong people for their problems/bad situations. Lexi, the main character, seemed like many other YA characters. She was stubborn, focused, and prone to making the wrong decisions. The synopsis for this book says this book’s part love story and part fairy tale. I don’t necessarily agree with that, seeing as the romantic element is insta-love and the fairy tale part is non-existent. I’m just. ..not quite sure what think of this book or the fact that the same person that wrote "This Savage Song" wrote this book. I skim read the last 50 or so pages of this book, but didn’t really feel anything as I closed the book. It isn’t like this book is awful; it isn’t, but it had so much potential that was lost along the way. Regardless of that, I understand first books are rarely perfect, so I’m still a Schwab fan, and will read the Near Witch novellas! Check it out!

About the Author Victoria Schwab ( is the 23-year-old product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a Southern upbringing. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is working on her second novel.

The Near Witch Paperback – May 15, 2012 by Victoria Schwab (Author) Review

This should be 3. 5 stars really. I wish I could say I loved this book – I certainly wanted to love it, but there was something essential lacking for me. It’s a bit hard to put my finger down on because the story was beautifully crafted in so many ways – but the plot moved a bit slowly, and the characters seemed lackluster. Victoria Schwab is a word smith of the highest caliber. Her words flow gracefully across the page as if dancing. Every scene is painted with painstaking perfection in our minds – we can practically feel the moor grasses beneath our toes, and the wind pushing at our hair. Her story reads like a dark fairy tale, the kind you imagine your mother reading you just before bedtime, as the darkness creeps over the sky and sinister shadows play across the walls. I loved the content – it’s whimsical, a bit creepy, and deliciously dark – but it’s a slow and sleepy sort of story. It doesn’t pick up the pace, and become a page turner until near the very end of the book, so I found myself a bit yawny throughout much of it. I think I’m just spoiled by the latest generation of fast paced action oriented urban fantasy books. Sadly the characters felt a bit lack luster to me. Alas poor Lexi – I did not feel I knew you well! Lexi is strong, determined, loyal, protective, and skilled. Her hunter father taught her to track and defend herself. She stands up for her family with great courage, and faces untold dangers for their sake throughout the story, so you LIKE her, but you don’t know her. I never really had a sense of Lexi, or the mysterious Cole. Perhaps it’s because the narrative of the story focuses more on the world around Lexi instead of what’s going on in her head. I know all about the wind, but sadly I don’t feel I really know Lexi, or any of the other characters in this story. And then there’s Cole, the mysterious boy that shows up just before the children start disappearing. He’s quiet, awkward, and seemingly socially challenged, but he’s also noble, and brave. If possible, I knew him even less than I did Lexi, although his back story is well fleshed out. The lack of closeness I felt with the main characters detracted from the enjoyment of their romance. The love unfolds between Lexi and Cole beautifully and sweetly – there’s a lot of tender, shy kisses shared, and gentle touching. It’s lovely, but I just couldn’t get too swoony over it since I didn’t feel attached to either of the main characters. If you are in the mood for a well written, sleepy sort of fairy tale, the Near Witch is perfect. The story will bewitch you with its artful prose, and even if you feel a vague lack of connection with the protagonists you’ll still enjoy the journey. So grab a warm blanket, and curl up with a nice cup of tea and relish your travels in the dark, wind beset moors that surround the town of Near. -Read Reviews-

The synopsis for this book calls it “part fairy tale, part love story,” but it is SO much more than that. There’s loss and sadness and mystery and horror and lessons about understanding and acceptance and beautiful world building and so many other things that are all woven together so intricately that this story is unlike anything I’ve ever read. This book gave me all of the feels, and had me laughing one minute and crying the next. Victoria Schwab is a literary genius (and this was her debut!). Fairy tales are my favorite kind of stories, and I especially love when there are new stories incorporated into books. The story of the Near Witch is terrifying enough to be a true fairy tale, but it’s still different enough to be its own thing. If I was a child and I heard the story that Lexi tells Wren, I would be scared enough not to go out onto the moors. That witch is crazy – especially after how she was treated. And speaking of witches, I love how there are hints of magic and their “craft,” but most of what they do is connected to the Earth and its elements, which I love. I mean, I love witches of the Harry Potter variety too, but I think those that are more connected to nature are the most interesting. Victoria creates characters that are deep and dynamic and is constantly molding and changing them throughout the book. Lexi is strong-willed, independent, and hurting, but she also cares deeply for her mother, sister, and friends. She is willing to go to great lengths to protect them, even if it means defying her uncle’s orders. And even though she remains those things, she matures quite a bit and becomes a more well-rounded version of herself. And then there’s the stranger boy. He’s mysterious and quiet, but he holds so much pain within himself that it’s kind of ridiculous. I think he’s my favorite character in this book, and I love his relationship and interactions with Lexi. All of the more minor characters are excellently crafted as well, and I found myself wanting to know more about their background and their lives and more of why they do the things they do. As I was reading this book, I never wanted to put it down. The whole story flows just like a fairy tale, and never gives too much detail or not enough. I can’t even begin to fathom how Victoria pulled this out of her imagination, because the world and character building are phenomenal, and everything about Near is just so gorgeous and precise. I felt like I was walking around the village, or out on the moors, or in the sisters’ cottage. I could feel the wind and smell the dirt and the wildflowers. Everything about this book is just wonderful. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has read and loved any of Victoria’s other works, but hasn’t read this one yet. And to anyone who enjoys fairy tale books or books about witches or love stories or fantasy books. .. and to pretty much anyone. Because I honestly think there is something in this book for everyone. This book is one of my favorite reads this year, and I’m so glad I finally got around to buying and reading it. Definitely a 5/5 from me!

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