Hello readers and writers alike! On this fine Sunday morning I have decided to bask in the afterglow I am left in after reading V.E. Schwab’s The Near Witch; and of course I have to share this with you.
In the town of Near the children sing about the witches old and new and then one by one the children are taken from their beds. This coincides with the arrival of the stranger whom the suspicions are directed towards. Lexi decides to trust her gut instincts and give the stranger the benefit of the doubt; and together they search for the children and the one responsible.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book primarily for the writing style of Schwab. In all honesty, this is my first dive into her works so I couldn’t tell you if all her writings exist within this whimsical poetry-like style, but regardless it suits this story tremendously and it has stayed with me. It felt moody, atmospheric, and has amazing flow.
“She spoke to the earth and the earth cracked
Spoke to the wind and it whistled back
Spoke to the river and the river whirled
Spoke to the fire and the fire curled
But little boy Jack he stayed too long
Listened too closely to the witch’s song”page 21
Another factor of this book that I truly enjoyed was the setting. Again this was amplified by the writing style and the descriptions that heightened all of my senses. But, the allure of the moor (Schwab has got me rhyming now) was reminiscent of the gothic literature found in Wuthering Heights. I loved reading the witches (not a spoiler as this is revealed rather early on and is common knowledge within the book) Magda and Dreska hobble around their small cottage and attending to their garden with hints of their craft showing through their knobbly fingers. I loved the songs the children sing and the stories Lexi reads.
The only thing I wished differently about this book was the repetitiveness; because of this I was quick to pick up on what was to come to the point where when Schwab had finally revealed it I was already well aware. It sometimes left the character Lexi looking slightly naive, but despite this she still has a lot of gumption and charm as a character that made her really likeable. I also really adored the easiness of her being with the stranger and how they seemed to fit so effortlessly. (I do wish he wasn’t as broody as he is in the beginning though- like c’mon Schwab he can still be thoughtful and mysterious and still have something to say)!
Overall, this book has charm and delights in all the right ways. It has that old sense about it with the town’s council and the folktales the townspeople cling to (think slight The Crucible vibes). The Near Witch is a stand alone novel and wraps up in a satisfactory way where I am not left wanting for anything. For any magic and witch lovers out there; this is a fairly simple story that just has that extra something about it that makes it oh so delicious.