Review: The Witch Hunter

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Title: The Witch Hunter (The Witch Hunter #1)
Author: Virginia Boecker
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 2, 2015

I received a eARC of The Witch Hunter from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads)

The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.
Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.
Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.
Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.
But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.
Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.
The Witch Hunter is a quick fun adventure. It was so easy to get pulled into the story with the fast paced and gripping writing, the world filled with tension over witchcraft, and the snarky characters. While there were definitely some darker and serious parts, the story played out as more of an adventure book with a little bit of romance and funny characters thrown in. The plot had a little bit of everything that I love: mystery, families of choice, self discovery, and a good dose of magic.

Elizabeth Grey lives in a world were magic is illegal and witches are hunted. And she is one of the ones doing the hunting. However, the world she knows changes when she is accused of being a witch and finds herself saved by Nicholas Perevil, essentially the rogue version of Merlin. Soon she is learning things to make her question her life before and Blackwell, the country's head inquisitor and leader of the witch hunters.

Elizabeth went through so much character growth during the book. Growing up in a society where witchcraft is seen as evil and working as a witch hunter, she has to completely change all the way she thinks and explore every idea she has been taught when she is helped by the reformists, a group of pro-magic people led by Nicholas. She has to look over her upbringing, her family group, her crush, and even her society's history in order to determine what is real about witchcraft. I loved being apart of her struggle to make sense of this new world and to see her resistance and discoveries when faced with these new ideas. The world that Elizabeth saw at the beginning of the book was a completely different one by the end.

Also drunk Elizabeth is my favorite!

Elizabeth and John's relationship was sweet. It felt a little bit rushed over such a short period of time, and there is this thing with a bird and a tree that I still don't really understand. All that being said, they were so cute with their glances and growing relationship. John is such a kind with a sad family past guy that it is very easy to like him.

I loved the supporting characters especially George and Fifer. Though they may have not been as fully developed as I would have liked, I thought they added a lot to how much I enjoyed the story. I really loved George. As the King's Fool and a reformist, he was an interesting and hilarious character that started to form a friendship and understanding with Elizabeth. While his character wasn't fully explored in this book, I am hoping for more of him in the second book. (Also we got backstory on almost every character but him! I mean am I the only one who saw the reference to him being gay that just never got brought up again?) Though I didn't seem to like Fifer when she was first introduced, I adored Fifer by the end of the book. Most of it probably has to to with her relationship with Schuyler, a revenant brought back from the dead. They just remind me of those couples that just bicker all the time but really care for each other. Surprisingly super sweet.

The ending sort of fell a little flat for me. As usual in these types of books, the big showdown happened, but then there was this last chapter that ended kind of "eh." I actually didn't know that it was the beginning of a series and not a stand alone, but even then the transition into the next book was still a little lackluster. Still definitely going to read the next book because I want to see what happens in this world and to Elizabeth and John and my lovely George.

Rating: 4 out of 5. The Witch Hunter is such a page turner! I would totally recommend it.

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