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 perfectly atmospheric, and feels a little like a fairy tale – heavy on the moral but full of people doing the wrong thing. I adored it.
I also like how you, and Lexi, have to keep questioning what you know. And how the story of the Near Witch is woven throughout.
I really liked Cole, even with some of the insta love – possibly because despite the love angle, the interactions between Cole and Lexi are concentrated on finding the children and the witch.
There are parts that felt a little heavy handed when compared to Schwab’s later works, such as the town’s rampant belief that the stranger is behind the missing children, but it’s still well done. I also liked the backstory we got on Lexi’s dad and Otto. I’d have loved to know more about what happens next with Otto and the town.
Really sort of spooky and brilliant read.
Buy The Near Witch from Amazon UK.