ARC Review: The Witch Hunter-Virginia Boecker


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Release Date: June 2, 2015

cooltext1889161239 copyThe magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

You know that magical, exhilarating feeling when you find a book that you’ve been searching for, that giddy happiness that finally, FINALLY, someone answered your bookish prayers? The Witch Hunter was that book for me. Full of quirky characters, passion, magic, and twists that have you speeding through pages, The Witch Hunter is a must read. 

PROS:

  • The story from the very first page is gripping and borderline addictive, you want to know more and as the twists, turns, and danger mounts, the nail-biting certainty of an unhappy ending swells. Nothing is predictable, each turn is a surprise and I genuinely feared for Elizabeth. In a couple of pages, I was so invested in Elizabeth that anything that happened to her felt like a personal attack. 
  • The combination of what reads like historical fiction, Arthurian legend, and good old-fashioned fantasy takes you to another world. The witch burnings, the torture methods, everything is graphic and boldly written. Every ounce of carnage and pain is there full-frontal and piercing. I got lost in this world of magical creatures, BA hunters, and sadistic politicians. You’ll never feel comfortable trusting the majority of the characters because everything is uncertain and things can go from bad to worse with little notice. This is the kind of story that keeps you on your toes. 
  • Elizabeth is a relatable heroine. She never claims to be invincible. She has real fears that are heartbreaking and potent. She’s terrified of ending up alone and after the trauma of her childhood it’s like a punch straight to the heart. Elizabeth is a fiery little thing when she’s riled up. She’s bold, courageous and believes what she does is righteous. Sometimes she’s puzzled and conflicted, she struggles to sort through her feelings and her guilt is intense. Crafty, determined, and wily, Elizabeth is the kind of heroine I can get behind.
  • Secondary characters are charming, hilarious, and just as loveable as Elizabeth. Fifer is saucy, honest, the kind of blunt that is like a slap in the face but comical at the same time. Fifer’s love interest is complex, her short-fuse makes for constant entertainment and more than anything, her heart will win you over. Schuyler is a flirty, playful revenant. He’s witty, sexy, and dangerous, everything you’d want in a paranormal sidekick. George is a drunken fool but insanely lovable. John. Holy hotness. Calculating, practical, intense, not only is he gorgeous but his compassion makes him 10x more attractive.
  • John and Elizabeth are adorable. They’re shy and uncertain. It’s uplifting and wonderful watching their relationship grow. 
  • Blackwell is a wicked mastermind. The sheer level of plotting and evil plans is intricate and it’s hard to guess the endgame.
  • I loved the inclusion of several paranormal creatures, folk beliefs, herb uses, and reference to the Green Knight.

CONS:

  • Elizabeth’s attraction to Caleb was more telling than showing. The emotional build up wasn’t there. While Caleb and Elizabeth do have a past and those memories are revisited throughout the story, the chemistry is absent, despite what Elizabeth maintains. The final moments with Caleb were a bit of a letdown. I expected more emotion, more tears. 

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