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The Near Witch

(The Near Witch #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  16,316 ratings  ·  2,949 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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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  16,316 ratings  ·  2,949 reviews

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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
I hate that I put off Victoria Schwab's books when I know I'm going to love them. This one is definitely VERY different compared to the work she's releasing now, but I found it enchanting from beginning to end. It felt like a dark fairy tale and I was living for it.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, owned
“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
when i saw this in my local library, i thought VS secretly released a new book that was somehow kept quiet. so i was very interested when i found out that its actually a rerelease of her debut novel.

reading an authors debut novel, especially after having read their other books first, can be tricky. all authors have to start somewhere, so if the writing or story isnt as great as a reader might be used to, it can be difficult to remember to not judge. but i do think its always enlightening to see
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
Elle (ellexamines)
Little did I know that all of my works would center on those who felt lost inside their own worlds, or found in someone else’s.

the new cover of this is........... so stunning
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, audiobook
Schwab's work is always amazing. I will admit, I was a little worried that her writing wouldn't be up to par with her more recent books since this one was made a while ago but I shouldn't have worried at all. The writing was ver atmospheric and the world was gloomy and fascinating. The character of the Near Witch wasn't your average ghost story and I really appreciate the book for that. Not to mention the ending with Cole's back story!!!!
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
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

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
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
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“You really are like him, your father.”
“I can’t tell whether you think that’s good or bad.”
“What does it matter? It’s simply true.”

I have read This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet, Vicious and Vengeful, City of ghosts, Tunnel of bones, A Darker Shade of Magic, A gathering of Shadows, A conjuring of Lights, The invisible Life of Addie LaRue and the Shades of Magic novels and I enjoyed most of them. It is obviously that I am a fan of Schwab’s bo
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
Helena of Eretz ✰
I rather enjoyed this debut of one of my favourite authors. I knew, going into it, that it wouldn’t be on Vicious’ level, or A Darker Shade of Magic’s, but regardless, it was also quite special on its own.

It was atmospheric, very spooky and chilling...with ghosts and witches...with unwelcoming villagers and lost children...with unsolved mysteries and unjust witch-hunts. And I enjoyed every moment of it.

I’m definitely glad I gave this book a chance, considering that it’s always risky...reading
Sophie (Blame Chocolate) *on hiatus*
The Near Witch

Read the full review and more at Blame Chocolate.

🧙‍♀️ A big thank you to Titan Books for the review copy. This has not influenced my opinion in any way. 🧙‍♀️

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the book I was hoping for. Maybe my expectations and all the hype surrounding everything the author puts forth ended up interfering with my enjoyment. Either way, I just didn’t feel the grip and excitement I was expecting.

I did enjoy parts of it, don’t get me wrong, but I also felt very frustrated by others and esp
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Maja Ingrid
May 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
This is V.E Schwab’s first published work, which shows. In a good way, because it shows just how much she’s developed as a writer and story-teller.

It annoyed me a little I learned so little about the world this was set in. We barely even learn much about the village Near. We learn a little about social structures, how women are supposed to to womanly stuff and men do men stuff. But I had some issues trying to create a picture of how the world looked and functioned in broader strokes.

The story
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
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
Julie Zantopoulos
"Fear is a strange thing, it has the power to make people close their eyes, turn away. Nothing good grows out of fear."

Near is a cozy town bordering the moors, the woods, and the land where nothing grows. The setting of this novel is a character all its own, it's rich and alive. I adore the small-town feel, the town's lore and history, it's ghost stories and traditions. Just like most small towns, they have some warped ideas/ideals and our main character Lexi is questioning them all.

"Change is
Ashley Daviau
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a beautiful and haunting read, I was instantly hooked and dragged into this stunning story. The only reason I didn’t binge read it in one sitting is because I was reading along with a friend. I can’t believe this is Schwab’s first novel, it’s kind of mind blowing! She just knocks it out of the park every single damn time. It reads like a beautifully eerie fairy tale and I couldn’t have loved it more. It’s just so deliciously creepy, it made my little black heart so happy!
Sabrina Ye
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another 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

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
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Near Witch reads like a classic fairytale with roots embedded in the tale of the Near Witch who could control the elements and grow magical gardens. The tale the children have been taught though, isn't entirely accurate, and when a mysterious stranger comes to town, and children begin disappearing from their beds, the menfolk go on a literal witch hunt, and 16-year-old Lexi needs to find the missing children before the men hunt the wrong person.

I loved that this incorporated a mystery elemen
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Witchy Reads Book...: Chapters 16-30 8 7 Aug 31, 2020 02:31PM  
Witchy Reads Book...: Chapters 1-15 8 8 Aug 19, 2020 10:19AM  
Tome Time: Read: Chapter 30 (end of book) 3 4 May 13, 2020 12:22PM  
Tome Time: Read: Chapter 26 3 2 May 13, 2020 12:56AM  
Tome Time: Read: Chapter 23 3 2 May 11, 2020 03:33PM  
Tome Time: Read: Chapter 19 3 2 May 11, 2020 02:03AM  
Tome Time: Read: Chapter 14 2 2 May 09, 2020 04:55PM  

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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.

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