Steph Su's Reviews > The Near Witch

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
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's review
Aug 13, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: debs11, best-of-11
Read from July 12 to 24, 2011

I’m not usually a fan of being scared, but I make an exception for Victoria Schwab’s gorgeous debut novel THE NEAR WITCH. Reading THE NEAR WITCH is like treating to yourself to a five-star restaurant, with an especially decadent dessert to top it all off: the characters and plot may at times be frustrating, but the very experience of reading this story is worth it.

I’m going to continue with the dessert analogy to describe the writing. Victoria Schwab is like an innovative master pastry chef: she takes common ingredients and spins them together with such intricacy and skill as to create formations we had never dreamed of before. I wanted to bookmark every other page in this book, to be able to go back and reread the surprising yet utterly delightful ways in which Victoria Schwab uses language.

In comparison to the writing, sometimes I felt that the characters and plot were a bit lacking. Because THE NEAR WITCH is so tightly set around one village, the atmosphere and relationships feel intentionally claustrophic. The majority of Lexi’s actions involve running back and forth between houses to figure things out. Sometimes it gets tiring, reading of the ever-increasing cycles of suspicion and desperation chapter after chapter. And some of the “bad guys” feel a little one-sided in their “badness.” But THE NEAR WITCH winds tensions up for a truly creepy resolution that will steal your breath away, an ending that was, in my opinion, worth any character or plot frustrations I had along the way.

THE NEAR WITCH proves itself to be one of the stronger debut novels I’ve read in 2011 so far. It’s a delightful treat for those who think they’re tired of magical books about witches and romance. I’m looking forward to seeing what Victoria Schwab has for us next!
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Reading Progress

07/12/2011 page 102
35.0% "Mmmmm the language here."
07/24/2011 page 288
100.0% "Wahhh so tense at the end."
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Daisy (new) - added it

Daisy It's really good! I read an early draft!

Steph Su Daisy wrote: "It's really good! I read an early draft!"

I'm really looking forward to it! I've been seeing Victoria's name pop up in the YA blogosphere/Twitterverse recently. :)

Victoria Schwab Aw, I just saw this, and it made me smile! Maybe I'm supposed to just lurk, but thanks Daisy, and Stephanie, I hope you like it!!!


Steph Su Victoria wrote: "Aw, I just saw this, and it made me smile! Maybe I'm supposed to just lurk, but thanks Daisy, and Stephanie, I hope you like it!!!


Haha, lurk away if you want, Victoria (that's what online anonymity is for), but we don't mind the occasional comment either! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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