Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Near Witch
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Published: August 2, 2022
Hardcover, 282 pages
This is the story of Lexi, a girl living on the seam between the town of Near and the moor. One night, a stranger appears on the moor and the next morning, one of the town's children have disappeared. Everyone blames the stranger, but Lexi comes to know him and is convinced the kidnapper is someone else. In the ensuing search, Lexi comes to know more about witches, the moor and the Near witch.
What I liked: I loved the premise. It has everything I love in a story; witches and fairy tales. I loved the idea of the witches and the wind calling and the strange disappearances. As for characters, I loved the father, even though he wasn't physically present in the story. I liked how his stories were told.
I loved the language and thought it was beautifully crafted. It read like a fairy tale.
What I didn't like: The romance between Lexi and Cole. He didn't have much personality and he veered too much to the bad boy with a bad mysterious past for me. I didn't enjoy the romance between the two. They had just met and all of a sudden, they are kissing and in love. I think the story would have been better without the romance.
I also wanted some of the minor characters to have bigger roles in the story. Specifically, Helena, Lexi's friend, and one of the villagers, Mrs. Thatcher. I feel like they were both thrown in haphazardly and could have added to the plot if they were given bigger roles.
Overall, I did like the premise of the book, and it was beautifully written but the romance fell a little flat for me. I give it a 3, I liked it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I have been an avid reader since I was young, and have recently decided that I would like to blog about the books I read. I've never been much of a reviewer, but I'm hoping to get into it. I will be focusing on Middle Grade and Young Adult books, but some speculative fiction might sneak in there.

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

For my first review, I've decided to read an older book. I've been revisiting books and authors that I liked when I was little. However, I don't think I ever have read anything by Lois Duncan before. She is most famous for her book "I Know What You Did Last Summer." I have never read this book, nor have I seen the movie, or if I did see the movie, I have forgotten about it.

This book was originally published in 1974, and the edition I read obviously came from the 1990s, due to an advertisement inside the book, "Get it on videocassette!" and the cover is very 1990s. The book seems a little dated to me, with the 1990s look, and the book references carbon copies and the characters all write letters. While this is not a bad thing, I can see this book as not getting checked out that often from the library, and it may not be relevant to the the target audience.

This book is gothic fiction, and I was really enjoying it, until the "mystery" was solved, then I felt a little disappointed. I didn't find the final threat or antagonists to be horrifying. In a lot of ways, I think it's more a psychological thriller than a ghost story, which is what I was expecting. I didn't find the book to be scary, and I was expecting something a little scarier.

As for the characters, I think they were pretty well drawn, a few of them were bland, and I didn't understand the point of Jules being an attractive young teacher. I liked the contrast of Ruth and Kit, the main character and the conflict between them towards the end of the book. I would have liked to see that expanded.

Overall, I would give the book a 5 out of 10. I did like it, but it didn't pack the scare punch I was expecting, and I am a big scaredy cat, so that's not that hard to do!