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The Near Witch

(The Near Witch #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  7,672 ratings  ·  1,403 reviews
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 nigh
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Hyperion Books
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,672 ratings  ·  1,403 reviews

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Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, underrated, to-buy
“Funny how when we start to tell a secret, we can’t stop. Something falls open in us, and the sheer momentum of letting go pushes us on.”

A dark and magical tale, that reminded me of The Woman in Black.
I'm a huge fan of Victoria Schwab because her writing and her stories are amazing and unique. An expert in world-building, character-depth and originality, all set in a thrilling and mysterious mood like no other.
The Near Witch is one of the author's earlier works. While it'll never be as good as V
C.G. Drews
This book is so so atmospherically CHILLING. Also super slow and like, woah hello to the instalove, mate, but this is also by one of my favourite ever authors so I'm a bit biased to love it despite it being the forgotten middle child who only gets given socks for christmas. Also how weird is to read older books by famous authors?!?? Schwab's stye has improved 100 x and like WOW.


+ So the setting, OK???? THE SETTING.
Insert heart eyes here. It's all moors and witches and this like Puritan-li
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every Single Person on my friends list. You better run for cover, now!!!
"Of every aspect of the moor, the earth and stone and rain and fire, the wind is the strongest one in Near. Here on the outskirts of the village, the wind is always pressing close, making windows groan. It whispers and it howls and it sings. It can bend its voice and cast into any shape, long and thin enough to slide beneath the door, stout enough to seem a thing of weight and breath and bone." *

There are books I like that most people hate. There are books everyone loved, which never appealed t
prag ♻
Jan 06, 2017 marked it as on-hold
Shelves: fav-author

Remember when I said I'd read all her books? Well, I'm finally doing it. Fingers crossed it's good.


1. The Archived: Read
2. This Savage Song: Read
3. The Unbound: Read
4. Leave the Window Open: Read
5. A Darker Shade of Magic: Read
6. A Gathering of Shadows: Read
7. A Conjuring of Light: Read
8. Vicious: Read

9. The Near Witch: Currently Reading

10. New Beginnings: To Read
11. Second Chances: To Read
12. Last Wishes: To Read
13. The Ash-Born Boy: To Rea
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
‘There are no strangers in the town of Near.’ Lexi’s heard this all of her life, so her home becomes an unusual place when a very odd stranger appears—and events turn darker still when his new presence coincides with the nightly disappearances of young children.

Long, long ago, the Near Witch lived in a small house on the farthest edge of the village, and she used to sing the hills to sleep.

It’s probably pretty evident by now that I am trash for Victoria Schwab’s stories. I think she’s one of
It's really easy to see how much time and thought debut author Victoria Schwab has successfully invested into the wording of her witchy kidnapping tale. Each sentence has been set carefully into the mosaic of legends, winds that have a soul and everyday life inside of the small town of Near, which is located within an endless stretch of moor and forest, far away from the rest of the pre-industrial civilization.

Although the description did not interest me at all, when I first encountered an ann
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is so underrated I want to punch someone.

The Near Witch was Victoria Schwab's debut novel, yes, the same author of Shades of Magic series. It's actually one of the first yafs I've ever read and loved. I had the pleasure of reading this right after it was released 5 years ago and I still read it from time to time. I read it whenever I feel a slump looming in the background. I reach for it whenever I want something ya but not romance-centered. It's like my go-to book to be honest.

It reads li
Patry Fernandez
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: año-2019
Reseña completa ->

«El viento del páramo siempre será engañoso. Tuerce su voz y le da infinitas formas, largas y finas, como para deslizarse debajo de la puerta, tan gruesas como para parecer de carne y hueso. A veces, el viento susurra nombres tan claramente que, cuando estás a punto de conciliar el sueño, puedes imaginar que escuchas el tuyo. Y nunca sabes si ese sonido debajo de tu puerta es solo el aullido del viento cantándole a las colinas para ha
Trina (Between Chapters)
Oct 24, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
DNFing this at page 77. I hope to come back to this at a later time because I want to read as many of Schwab's books as I can, but I am not in the mood for this at the moment. I have skimmed the past few chapters and still find myself incredibly bored. It's very slow paced and has not built a connection to the characters or setting for me. If I power through now, I will rate it low, so I'd rather try to see if it fits my reading mood better at another time.
Jan 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Katie by: amazon
I stopped at page 82, roughly one-third of the way through.

I am at a loss when it comes to all of the rabid fans of this novel. I found it as dull and drab as the grey skies of moor country.

The writing is stilted. The narrator is boringly typical. The author named the little sister "Wren", which is so nauseatingly whimsical and twee, in the YA world of, missing a parent, girls.

It did, indeed, feel familiar, as the jacket promised, but not in a comfortable, favorite hoodie, kind of way - more lik
WOW! I cannot believe this is Schwab’s debut! This was, in my opinion, one of her strongest works! I mean, maybe not *quite* Monsters of Verity or Shades of Magic good, but close! It was a stronger book than The Archived, and I liked it better than Vicious.

Because wow, this book was spectacular! Everything about it was just wonderful!

Let’s do a list of things I liked, shall we? Because I like lists, and also because there was literally nothing I disliked! (Except for the fact that it was so so g
"My father used to say that change is like a garden. It doesn't come up overnight unless, you are a witch. Things have to be planted and tended to and most of all the ground has to be right. He said the people of Near had the wrong dirt. He said if you could just break through, there was good soil there, down deep."

I'm so glad this is back in print! It's such a beautiful and a tad bit eerie fairy tale!! Victoria Schwab never fails to amaze me with her stories. I've read all of her books and rea
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: why-the-hype
This book could have been a 5 star read for me. It had a few things going for it: beautiful, poetic writing, an interesting idea revolving around witchcraft, magic and mystery, and raving reviews from fellow Goodread reviewers before the book’s publication date.

But here’s why it ended up a 2 star read instead.

The book is written in the first person, narrated through the protagonist, Lexi. I generally find that first person narration usually works if the voice is witty, engaging and gives the re
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
Schwab herself calls this book “quiet and strange”, and it is true. There isn’t a clear place in the market for it. Perhaps because of that, it feels more like a whimsical, timeless story than any of her others. It could just as easily be written ten years ago or fifty years ago.

I found myself thinking it would make an excellent movie, something gothic by Guillermo del Toro perhaps. Because this book has so much ATMOSPHERE. Schwab’s writing style is a bit more florid than usual, and I‘m a big f
Patricia Riley
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: favorites
I was lucky enough to get a ARC of The Near Witch and it turned out to be, by a mile, my favorite of the (many) books I read in 2010! Within two weeks of getting it, I read it twice! As I read it again today to celebrate it's release it will be the 6th time I've read it! Suffice to say this book managed to do two things that I have not had a book do in a very, very long time:

1) It so completely drew me in and entangled me in the world of the story that if someone had jumped out in front of me w
Kendare Blake
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Near Witch is...elegantly creepy. The Near Witch is....organically pretty and organically gross. Victoria Schwab's debut is one of lovely, moody, atmospheric writing. You'll smell the fresh baked bread. You'll breathe deep of crisp moor air. And you'll get gritty, loamy, dirt all up in your nose and mouth and eyes. It's quite the experience.

I enjoyed the determined spark in protagonist Lexi. I enjoyed that I wanted to throttle those characters struck with mob-mentality. Or at least I wanted
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disappointment
I had hope for this book, witches! Children being kidnapped! Supernatural stuff going on in the background of woodland and small village! What can go wrong?

In the end, I can't believe the author actually can manage to make witches and magic and supernatural threat so damn boring.

In the end, the teenage romance/love triangle makes the book feels like one of those run-of-the-mill YA.

The writing is fine (but not so fine if you compared it to the likes of Neil Gaiman's), and the same can't be said t
Hillary Hunt
Victoria Schwab's writing will rope you in with its lyrical loveliness, I will say that. But the actual plot of the Near Witch is rather ho-hum. After all the swooning reviews I read for this one, I was expecting more. Here's why it didn't capture my fancy:

Not much suspense. You pretty much know what's going on the whole time, there are no surprises.

The book is written in first person, from the pov of Lexi. And yet her character came across as very vague and nondescript. I did not understand wh
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
Well, that was just creepy enough to give me nightmares every night while I was reading it. It's not the jump out and scare the bejeezus out of you,'s the kind of eerie story that sneaks up on you, digs down into your subconscious and makes you start seeing and hearing things when left to your own devices. Or it did me, anyway.

I've had this book on my shelf for ages. I'm a huge fan of Victoria Schwab's work, so I don't know why I resisted picking this novel up until now, except that
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

When I heard that V.E. Schwab’s long out-of-print debut novel The Near Witch was going to be re-issued, my first thought was, “Oh hell yes, I’d read it!” even with the full understanding that things might be a little rough. Schwab may be an experience writer now, but debuts are debuts—most are like raw, uncut gems, their latent potential waiting to be released. I certainly wasn’t going to judge it by the same standards as
Céline (lumierewhispers)
4 🌟

I wasn’t expecting it to be this good — but trust V.E. Schwab to have even her debut book written so beautifully. I loved the setting, the creepy atmosphere of the moors and the town of Near. Wasn’t a big fan of the instalove but the complicated family relationships more than made up for it ! And the sisterly love...... heart eyes. Wren is such a lovable character.
I also really liked The Ash-born Boy novella that was included in the book! It made me wish we could have had both POVs in the N
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Rating: 2 Stars/DNF

You should know, right off the bat, that I am not a patient person. It's not one of my better traits, which is why I make such a conscious effort to be patient, to give every book an equal chance, to really try and connect with the characters. Yet, although the overwhelming majority of readers have loved this book, including some of my most trusted reviewers whose opinions nearly always match up with mine, I was unable to bring myself to actually finish The Near Witch. As Vict
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Wow, what a beautiful, haunting, atmospheric book about witches and a fairytale gone wrong. It was magical, enchanting, creepy and told so beautifully. I stayed up at night reading it, wanting to know where the missing children in the story had gone.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 This is her freaking debut novel and it already shows what a genius writer she will grow to be in the future. V. E. Schwab i adore you and i loved this little, creepy tale of wind and witches. ...more
Aly's Bookish Wonderland
“When I was small, the wind sang me lullabies. Lilting, humming, high-pitched things, filling the space around me so that even when all seemed quiet, it wasn’t. This is a wind I have lived with."

I'm glad I read The Near Witch after already having fallen in love with Schwab's magic. Although it's not my kind of book (hello, insta-love), the atmosphere of The Near Witch sent real shivers up my spine, and it is most definitely original, haunting and enchanting.

The town of Near is abandoned to i
Stories about witches, fairy tales or folk tales, myths and legends – these are key phrases that turn me into a Pavlovian dog and this book, at least the blurb, mentioned most of them, if not all. That I didn’t really care for the author’s other book, I had read earlier, and had truly forgotten what it was all about didn’t really stop me from reading this one. In hindsight, I should have paid more attention to those small naggings that went on in my head. Anyway, hindsight can’t help me now as I ...more
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
My library finally got this in! You know, like half a year after it was released?

After I Finished:


There are no strangers in the village of Near, until one night, Lexi sees a mysterious figure on the Moor, disappearing in a single gust of wind.
The next morning, word of the stranger has spread and everyone is curious. But when a child is stolen from his bed, the locals are quick to blame the stranger. Lexi is sure that he is innocent, and with the help of Cole (the name she made up for him when
Sabrina Ye
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*12.12.2018, update:

I'm really glad that this book got repub and a new gorgeous cover 😍 Can't wait to get my hands on the new edition 😆


"Fear is a strange thing,” he used to say. “It has the power to make people close their eyes, turn away. Nothing good grows out of fear.”

This book is like a dark, haunting song that sings through my mind, so magical and beautiful <3

It really pains me that it got a freaking ugly cover arghhhh. THE BOOK DESERVES BETTER.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never ever thought I would rate a V.E. Schwab book less than 4 stars but then I read The Near Witch and I just can’t give it more than 3 which saddens me.

Victoria Schwab is my all-time favourite author, she is simply magnificent, a wonderful deeam of a person and I love her dearly. However, it is very obvious that TNW is her debut novel. What I will say about it is that it is beautifully written (I don’t think I’ve read quite so many sumptuous descriptions about the moors and the wind) which r
Wow, what a great book!

The Near Witch is my favorite kind of fairytale. It has all the wonderful elements and moments I look for in an escape.
The setting is rich and luscious with vividness. I can see the town, the children dancing and singing, the cottages nestled on hills, the whispering moors and the forest trails, each having it's own energy.
These characters are all genuinely interesting. A stranger's arrival stirring up commotion in a town where no strangers venture, ever. Missing childre
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Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes," "like," and "y'all."

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.
“Maybe one day the words will pour out like so many others, easy and smooth and on their own. Right now they take pieces of me with them.” 59 likes
“Magda looks at me as if I've gone mad. Or I've grown up. It's kind of the same thing.” 26 likes
More quotes…