Thursday, August 1, 2019

Review: THE NEAR WITCH by V. E. Schwab

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I was browsing my shelves for what to read next and this book kept jumping out at me. It wasn’t on my immediate to-read list but I decided to pick it up anyway because I thought I’d be in the right mood to love it, and I was right; it was just the whimsical slow-burn light fantasy that I wanted.

The Near Witch follows Lexi as she tries to figure out why little children are disappearing at night following the day when a stranger came to their town of Near where strangers never come. The book is very atmospheric and I loved the small-town setting. It feels like a fantasy only in the way that books set in the distant past feel like fantasy because of the medieval setting and the time period. There is a magical quality to the book, almost like a fairy tale, and I absolutely loved the whole thing.

There wasn’t a lot of characterization in the story. There is a bit of insta-love in here though, but I actually don’t mind insta-love that much; it was cute and I loved both the characters.

This book is very much focused on the plot at hand, what Lexi is doing to find the children going missing. We don’t learn too much about her past or about how life in the village works or about her friendship with Helena, and I think some more outside information would have been nice, especially like what lies beyond the hills of Near, but the way it is written now has a strong fairy tale aspect and adding too much to it would make it lose that special magic.

I like the wind magic in the book and the ability to manipulate earth and make plants grow. The witches’ abilities are pretty cool, not the traditional kind of magic I normally see, and I appreciated that.

The Near Witch is marketed as adult fantasy, but really it should be in young adult, or even middle grade, because this story is too precious for the adult genre.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was very sweet, and it got darker than I expected it to. I loved Lexi and Cole and their relationship and the ending and basically the whole thing. I was worried going into this book that I wouldn’t like it as much since it’s Schwab’s debut novel, but I actually think I liked The Near Witch better than the Shades of Magic series; it was just too precious. It’s a beautiful little fairy tale–esque story that was ethereal and magical and calming; it was exactly what I needed at this moment.

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