The Witch Hunter
by Virginia Boecker
Original Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
#1 in The Witch Hunter
View at the Traffic light:
Here’s my review of The Witch Hunter in a nutshell: I had fun reading it, and I hardly remember everything about it. That’s exactly the kind of book it is. I didn’t want to put this book down, but I never got TRULY invested in the plot or the characters. Boecker excels at pacing, but the rest of the book didn’t keep me super entertained.
There’s good stuff in this book, really! The addition of magic and witches is fun, and there’s a quest to break a curse. Now, I’m not always a HUGE fan of quest plots. . . but I think it really worked here because there was always something for the characters to work towards. The plot of “magic isn’t allowed for reasons” isn’t exactly new in fantasy, but it didn’t bother me.
However, where The Witch Hunter mainly suffered for me was the characters. . . or rather, Elizabeth, the main character. There’s this odd thing that happens in fantasy books sometimes where authors spend so much time and detail crafting out the secondary characters and their histories and personalities that they become much more vibrant than the main character, which is what I feel happened here. Three days after finishing this book, I can tell you very little about Elizabeth’s personality. I couldn’t tell you a WHOLE lot about any of the secondary characters, but I could tell you a lot more about them than I could about Elizabeth. They carried the weight of the book the plot couldn’t.
I also had a lot of trouble with the setting in general. I KNOW this is historical fantasy. . . but other than a general vibe, I didn’t feel the world was really built to feel that way. On a smaller level, I had so much trouble picturing everything that was happening. And I’m not the most visual of readers! I don’t things spelled out for me because I can fill in the blanks in my head. I rarely mention setting in a review unless I think it’s stellar or lackluster, and The Witch Hunter definitely falls on the lackluster side. Also, there’s some sexual coercion mentioned at the beginning of the book(not shown) that’s used as a plot device, which I’ve made quite clear in the past how I feel about that. It really didn’t feel necessary and I think there were other ways to go about starting the plot.
I was entertained while reading The Witch Hunter, but I found it forgettable and flaw. It’s really more of a 2.5 from me, though I did enjoy it enough that I may consider picking up the sequel depending on reviews. 3/5 cupcakes.