Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Witch Hunter - Book Review


The Witch Hunter - Book review
Virginia Boecker
(The Witch Hunter Book #1)
YA FANTASY
UK Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn't look dangerous. A tiny, blond, wisp of a girl shouldn't know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the King’s elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.

When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she’s arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she’s to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor - Nicolas Prevail, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.

As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nichola’s curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate… and life and death.

Review:

Witch Hunter was an interesting read and I really enjoyed the voice of the main character. She has a spunky personality which often leads her into trouble, and what I felt the book lacked in romance was more than made up for by the uniqueness of each character. Plus some good old fashioned butt-kicking. I am definitely interested in continuing this series.

Elizabeth is a witch hunter. One of the few elite soldiers charged with hunting all those who practice magick. Yet when she is found carrying a bundle of harmless herbs, Elizabeth finds her world turned upside down when her superiors accuse her of being a witch. Now she is on the run and must seek help from the very people who she’d sworn to hunt. 

Hiding her true identity, she teams up with a group of rouge magicians and offers them aid in return for safe passage out of the country. But Elizabeth knows she can only hide her past for so long, and as her secrets spill out one by one, she finds her loyalty divided. One side holds her mind, the other has captured her heart. But the question remains, which side of the fight will she choose? And which side will choose not to kill her…

One of the reasons I liked this story is because I found the main character, Elizabeth, to be both strong and quick witted. From the beginning of the book she is a very capable heroine, and although a little naive in many ways, she follows her heart and ultimately makes the right choices.

Yet this book is very character based, and part of the reason I kept reading was to find out more about the histories and personalities of the other characters. I believe the author could make several books just from their pasts alone! I say this as most of the secondary characters, mainly the rebel magicians, come into the story fully formed after already going through many personal trials and ordeals. These life-shaping events are referenced but I’m hoping each characters past will be more fully explored in the next book.

In terms of plot, I thought much of the story was quite predictable. I worked out the bad guy's secret pretty early on - not really a big issue for me as I always read to the end of a book to discover if I was right or not - however I fear some less patient readers may grow bored with such predictability. 

That said there was some nice action scenes and, despite lack of surprising twists and turns, the story moves at a nice pace. However my main nit pick is that I felt the romance lacked sparks. Essentially I found Elizabeth’s love interest, John a little boring and a bit plain for my tastes, but hopefully he will become more exciting in the next book.

All in all, 3.5 stars! Witch Hunter is a nice debut novel with a feisty heroine and ultimately a fun read.