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The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch (edition 2011)

by Victoria Schwab

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3255034,071 (4.09)10
Title:The Near Witch
Authors:Victoria Schwab
Info:Hyperion Book CH (2011), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Wishlist

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The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

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I've picked this book for the author's voices, conveying a dark atmosphere for the night, and a light one for the day.

Some kind of a Piper of Hamelin story. Children are disappearing. It might be connected to a strange boy on the moor, or some atrocity the village commited long ago. Lexie, a teenager, must find the children before her little sister will disappear, too.

The magical system resembles fairy tales - witches can do certain things, there are no real explanations given. Instead, the focus of the book is more on personal interaction. ( )
  hnau | Nov 28, 2014 |
The villagers warn their children of the witch of Near. Many years later the warnings become a reality as the children disappear from their beds at night. Something is luring them away.

Lexi has learned how to track from her father. She is determined to find and bring the children home. With the help of the mysterious stranger that she names Cole, they begin to find that many legends are formed from some truth. Truth is often altered by prejudice and misinformation, just as the villagers are doing to Cole.

This book is vivid and full of originality. I enjoyed the descriptions and the bravery of one young lady who is willing to make a difference and to look for the truth, not what appears to be on the surface. ( )
  Bookworm_Lisa | Jun 19, 2014 |
Words like haunting and beautiful are usually used to describe this book. I have to agree. Loved Schwab's writing style and would love to read more. If this becomes a series, you can be I'll sign up for the next installment. ( )
  emmyson | Oct 9, 2013 |
RATING: 2.5-ish?

I am now convinced that no matter how much I tell myself (and everyone else) that I will not (or should not) put stock in all the raving, gushing reviews for certain books, I'll always end up being influenced by them. "The Near Witch" is another unfortunate example. I should have known that the book simply couldn't be as good as advertised... and it wasn't.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I liked the concept. Even after reading the book and being thoroughly disappointed by it I still like it. If I didn't not even a gazillion positive reviews would have made me buy it.

Unfortunately the concept is all that's good about this book. It starts and ends with the concept. Instead of the intriguing paranormal mystery I'd been promised, I got a book riddled with YA cliches from the insta-romance to the brooding male character and a 'Katniss-clone'; for Lexi, our female protagonist is very strong and can use a knife... oh yes.

As if horribly stereotyped characters weren't bad enough, the world building was weak, weak, weak. The action takes place in Near, an isolated village in... we don't know. Is it in America? The Moon? Some fantasy land? We're never told. Oh, I reckon the author was trying to make everything oh-so-mysterious by not telling us where it was, trying to make it clear that Near was very isolated and all, but it was way too much. There is simply no context at all when it comes to place, time and culture in this book.
For example we know women wear dresses and there is no electricity but when does the action take place? Again, we're not told. In the past? Future? Some medieval fantasy land? Who knows? Not the reader. It drove me mad throughout the book. No, really. That's too much myst(ery) thrown at my eyes, I think.

Yeah, so world building? Bad. Very bad.

As for the story, it was neither well developed nor nearly as interesting as the blurb made it out to be. The culprit was pretty obvious and the mystery insipid. Even the writing was annoying. I mean it would have been great if the characters were complex enough to match it, but since they weren't... ugh.

Overall, a very disappointing read. Weak world building, annoying insta-romance and very badly developed plot. Nice concept, though. And great wording, the author was going for poetic, I suppose, to add mystery to the story. But that was only partially achieved, since the entire book was uneven and pretty random. 288 pages were insufficient to properly tell this story. ( )
  slayra | Sep 21, 2013 |
Full review to be posted soon:

Children have gone missing in the village of Near but the blame to their disappearances is blamed on a mysterious stranger. However, a young girl suspects that this isn't the case and that a darker force that lives in the moors is to blame and when the disappearances affects her own family, the only person who can help is the mysterious stranger, Cole who may be the only to help her. Haunting and atmospheric, and at time pretty creepy, although I did find the first half plodding in pace and because of this I had trouble getting into the book. I also didn't find the romance that grew between Cole and Lexi interesting and I wished there was more development. Nonetheless the second half of the book, picked up in pace and it was pretty chilling in tone, I was definitely creeped out by the witch and the ending. I just wished the first half of the book was as strong as the second half.
( )
  Has_bookpusher | Sep 20, 2013 |
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Book description
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.
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Sixteen-year-old Lexi, who lives on an enchanted moor at the edge of the village of Near, must solve the mystery when, the day after a mysterious boy appears in town, children start disappearing.

(summary from another edition)

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