Round 2 of book reviews for Victoria Schwab’s books this week! Celebrating the release of This Savage Song, which is pretty good so far!
I’ve been making my way through Victoria Schwab’s books and found my way to her debut novel, The Near Witch. The Near Witch reads like a fairy tale, ethereal in description and characters fitting the tropes. Admittedly, I found the first 100 pages or so a little boring, but once the stakes were driven up, it became a much more palatable read.
The story focuses on the tiny village of Near where children start disappearing from their beds. Lexi, whose primary concern is her baby sister Wren, takes to finding out who could be doing this. She meets a young, strange boy who she names Cole, who is quickly pinned as the kidnapper due the timing of his arrival with the children’s disappearance. In my opinion, the story became interesting to me when it was the villagers vs. Cole and when Lexi faced possible exiling for her role in helping Cole. But throughout the story, we hear whispers of Near’s famed witch, who lived hundreds of years ago before the Council eradicated her. It feels kind of spoiler-y to discuss the ending, but it’s not hard to figure out the culprit from the title of the book, y’know.
I’m glad I worked backwards to The Near Witch. It had beautiful prose and a reasonably well-connected story that culminated in a creepy sequence that’s now actually fairly mild for Schwab by now. But the characters were only just ok, and I could not help but roll my eyes that Lexi and Cole quickly started smooching. Despite such, though, there was definitely promise in Schwab nd I’m glad she’s had the chance to continue her writing.