I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about The Near Witch, and was glad I was approved for a galley. The Near Witch is a hybrid of folklore and fairy tales. There is a slight semblance to The Pied Piper, and yet Miss Schwab manages to make the story all her own. It is certainly worth the hype. What an awesome debut novel.
It is said witches and hunters live on the edge of the village of Near. Lexi Harris being a child of the latter lives in such a spot, having the advantage of seeing the comings and goings of town. The thing is, there are no strangers in Near, so when one catches her eye in the window she is curious about him. He seems to melt into the darkness. The town where everybody knows everybody wants to know who this stranger is, but before anyone can meet him the children of Near start vanishing. Lexi’s sister Wren hears children outside asking her to come play; a melody that adults do not hear. Who is responsible for luring the children out of bed and can Lexie convince the town from repeating history?
The Near Witch gave off a nostalgic feeling and it flowed so well. It was well paced and it had just enough romance. It’s lyrical, full of pretty prose and not in a confusing way. One thing I wasn’t expecting was to genuinely be scared. What started as sort of mysterious grew into a genuinely chilling book. One scene in particular really freaked me out and I had trouble sleeping that night. It had me wanting to double check my windows. It’s funny because although some parts scared me, I felt the book was lovely (such a strange dichotomy, but it worked.) I felt for the characters, and I felt outraged at the villagers. I wanted to be best friends with Lexi, and I wanted a sister like Wren. I love when I actually care for the characters I’m reading about.
I love this book. It has everything, it’s a ghost story with magic and witches. What’s not to love? It kept me repeatedly guessing, and I also learned a lot about how fear can blind us. You know what else is awesome? It’s a standalone!
P.S. Has anyone seen Sigur Ros’s Glósóli video? It sort of reminded me of The Near Witch, with the same kind of eerie, magical, fairy tale feeling.
I received this ARC from publishers via NetGalley.