Publication Date: February 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Orchard Books
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Series Status: The Witch Hunter #1
Format and Source: Kindle edition, Netgalley ARC
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn’t look dangerous. A tiny, blonde, wisp of a girl shouldn’t know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the king’s elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practise it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.
When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she’s arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she’s to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor – Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.
As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas’s curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate… and life and death.
The first book in an incredible new series set in a fantastical medieval world.
This book was OK. There were things I liked, and there were things that irritated me.
One thing I enjoyed were the psychological factors. Elizabeth was taught from a young age to see the world in black and white, good and evil, and to not question these beliefs. So when those with magic – whom she believe are evil – save her, she continues to try and not question these beliefs that were instilled into her. Of course after a while she finally realises magic isn’t evil, but the fact that she doesn’t accept this at first, and continues to be cautious around magical beings makes her character a lot more believable.
The world building is also quite good and detailed. Not only was it set in an era and area where this happening is almost believable, the magical world itself is well-made too. Usually paragraphs are spent in the beginning of most fantasy novels mapping out the world and how it works. Instead with this it was explained where it was relevant, and not all at once, making it a lot easier to comprehend.
Now for the main thing that irritated me, which happens to be something I complain about a lot: the romance. There were two romantic interests in this book, one of which Elizabeth was obsessed with, the other she was suddenly attracted too. Both of these irritated me. What makes it worse is that these relationships were the centre of plot. Yes, there were other things going on plot wise, but the fact that these romances almost overshadowed the main plot thoroughly irks me. This point is also one of the main character flaws I found in Elizabeth. It is only slightly redeemed by the knowledge that her greatest fear is being alone, but I still don’t like how it was pulled off.
This certainly isn’t all bad, and Boecker definitely knows hot to build suspense. There were several points I almost shout, “Just tell them you’re a witch hunter!” which is not something you can do at midnight in a house full of sleeping people. Admittedly I found the ending a tad anticlimactic (to the point I can barely remember it).
Overall I recommend this to people who don’t mind quite a lot of romance mixed in with their fantasy and action.