Page Count: 288 pages
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
I heard about this one before it was published, as did a lot of people in the community. It's been really popular and I'm not sure that I've actually heard someone say they didn't like it. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened. I’m only saying that it seems to be oh-so rare.
When I opened this one, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that there would be witches and children missing. I didn’t know where exactly it would be set, other than Near.
It never specifically says where or when the story takes place, but I didn’t mind it. In my heart, Near is a world of its own. The moor is so vast and alive, I never could picture it really being of this world. Maybe it’s just how uniquely Victoria Schwab has described it, but I can’t.
I know everyone says this, – and I didn’t buy into it until I actually read the book – but Schwab’s writing is lyrical, rhythmic. It has a steady beat to it. I feel like I could read this to a metronome and not be disturbed.
Pacing. Oh my gosh, does this book have pacing down. Everything just continues to build and build, pressure rising, until you can’t tell if things are going to explode or if someone will finally cut the right wire and diffuse the bomb. In the last 100 pages, I can’t even begin to tell you how many heart attack I nearly had. Everything, everything, was crazy and suspenseful, and I literally read so fast that, at one time, my eyes hurt from moving too much too fast.
This book opened quite a few doors for me, in terms of what I’m thinking of trying out. Historical (though, as I said earlier, it was never specified that it was in the past, though there are an abundance of hints to say that it is.). I’ve opened up a little more to the realism mixed with fantasy, since this book obviously touches on that, seeing as how Lexi is human, but surrounded by the paranormal.
The wind was beautifully described in this novel and was certainly one of my favorite parts of it, despite the fact that it spent a good portion of the novel luring children from their beds. The idea of the wind being someone’s lullaby, and that lullaby being dangerous, was so interesting to me.
The legend of the witch bleeds so flawlessly into the lives of the villagers. The children sing songs about her. The sisters, witches themselves, respect her. Her story flows into games and sneaks into scary stories. I wouldn’t actually mind hearing a composition of the Witch’s song. I think that’d be crazy cool to hear.
I don’t even know what else to say. It’s crazy how awesome this novel was. I had high hopes for it and now I’m just freaking out because it was completely amazing. I think this may be one of the first times where I am STALKING goodreads for more books. One will show up and then I will freak out. You just watch.
2011 isn’t nearly over yet, and I know that this one will be near the very, very top of my favorites for this year. It’s such a good book. I pinky swear.
Songs I listened to while reading: