The Witch Hunter
At least, that’s what the summary says. Unfortunately, The Witch Hunter really didn’t read this way. To say that the book did not tap into its full potential would be an understatement. And if that alone wasn’t enough to make me pull my hair out, the fact that it was one of my most anticipated reads this year certainly was.
To start off, I liked the world building. Historical fantasy is something I’ve only just recently begun reading so I can’t say I’m the best judge of this but to me The Witch Hunter had a very realistic feel to it. There were a few moments where I felt like I was in the middle of the action so that was some really interesting writing and Virginia Boecker has done a wonderful job bringing this universe to life.
Elisabeth turned out to be my biggest turn-off in regards to this book. She felt like a bland character with little to no attributes of her own. Kind of like a historical-fantasy Bella Swan. And she wouldn’t stop talking about Caleb. It got my on nerves, like, a lot. Even when she’s thrown into prison (to be burnt soon) and he promises to return but FUCKING DOESN’T, she’s still whining about him. It’s aaaaal about Caleb and how wonderful and strong he is and how he made her a witch hunter and SHUT THE FUCK UP ELISABETH.
She is then rescued by Nicholas Perevil and he group of witches/wizards who band together and stick with Elisabeth and her rather ungrateful attitude towards them. This is another thing that I HATED. Elisabeth was accused of being a witch by Blackwell and he was the one who was going to have her executed. And even though Nicholas saved her, offered her his home, his people, his protection, she still wanted to turn them over to Blackwell and earn his pardon.
Blackwell himself, was one of the few characters of this book I honestly enjoyed reading. He was unapologetic and true evil and even though he didn’t feature in too many pages, here was a villain who was evil and proud of it. #VillainWins If I decide to ever come back to this series, I will definitely be hoping for a lot more of Blackwell!
Another thing I liked? The ships. HOLY SHIT. Nicolas Perevil’s band of magical misfits included a feisty witch, a pirate, a certain Cavendish, and a healer. And it’s this healer guy who had my heart and my total attention every time I saw his face on my (Kindle) screen. John heals and he’s gentle and patient and he blushes. The Elisabeth – John ship was fucking fantastic, it gave me all the feels and I loved it. Truly. Another ship I shipped? Fifer and Shuyler. For a dysfunctional couple featuring a witch and a necromancer, these two were both hilarious and swoon worthy and omg if I don’t have a John/Shuyler/both of my own, I’m going to burn something down.
The synopsis of The Witch Hunter felt a wee bit misguiding because it reads like there might actually be some good action in the book. NOT TRUE. Way too much of the book focused on Elisabeth’s obsession with either Caleb or John or her need to escape from Nicholas. The actual “action” was limited to like, three or four real scenes with gore and bloodshed and they were too far and few between. The plot was too predictable and there was nothing that could really pitch as “unique” in the book, except maybe the setting. Most of it was run-of-the-mill and since I couldn’t really connect to Elisabeth, I had a very little inclination to even finish the book.
For a book that promises twists and turns and trouble, there was hardly any, owing to the fact that any action at all took place only in the last chapter. That too, was ridden with drama and angst so pfft. Major letdown. The last chapter was very funnily strategised since it ran fast in a few places and dragged in others. It read kind of like an epilogue but that can’t be because The Witch Hunter makes no sense without a sequel. For the most part, The Witch Hunter was a huge disappointment and I feel akin to a masochist who does masochisty things to amuse themselves for reading this book.
I WAS PROVIDED A FREE EARC OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE OF AN HONEST REVIEW. THIS DID NOT IN ANY WAY, HOWEVER, INFLUENCE THE CONTENT OF THIS REVIEW.
Magic, political intrigue, a subtle romance, and one bad-ass heroine who isn’t afraid to kill people! Need I say more?
Oh, so you want more information than that? All right then! First I want to get into the two things that are keeping me from giving The Witch Hunter a full five stars because it’s such an awesome fantasy and I’d really love to give it all the stars but something was nagging at me in the end during the showdown with the villain. Now the villain is a bad person but at the very end he/she seemed to act overly evil. It almost felt like they were being evil so that the story had a really heinous villain and an awesome showdown against him/her. I really hope the next book in the series shows more of his/her mentality and explains why they acted the way they acted. Specifically in regards to ***SPOILERS*** how he had no problem killing a girl who he spent years training. You’d think he’d get a little attached, at least enough to offer her the chance to come back and work for him especially considering he admitted she was one of his best hunters. Also I don’t understand why he didn’t kill King Malcolm as a child when he killed his father. I mean he would have become king and that was what he wanted right? Did he think it would have been suspicious if Malcolm died too? Or was he just satisfied being in control even if Malcolm was officially king? ***END OF SPOILERS*** The other thing keeping me from a full five stars was I a little disconnected from the story in the beginning even when exciting things were happening. I just wasn’t feeling the strong emotions I should have had considering what was happening. This went away after a while but for the first 100-150 pages my interest was just moderate. Then I got super into it and could hardly bear to put it down. But even when I wasn’t really feeling it I still enjoyed The Witch Hunter which is why I’ve only reduced half a star.
Now for all the things I love about The Witch Hunter! There’s Elizabeth who unlike most heroines will actually kill someone when it’s her life of theirs. I just find it really refreshing when I’ve read a lot of books about girls who are amazing fighters and in some cases supposedly trained to kill but are almost never willing to kill someone even when the other person is trying to kill them. She’s genuinely tough but without being overly cruel or a shirking damsel. Elizabeth was just a great main character and I really enjoyed being in her head.
I loved all the secondary characters and even some of the characters who where only around for one or two scenes. Every person seemed to have a specific voice or tone or some kind of thing that made their personality feel that it was distinctly theirs. Virginia Boecker has a real talent for making characters feel like a three-dimensional person and I feel like I understand everyone’s personality and motivations. One of my favorite characters is John the love interest.(although the romance in Witch Hunter is very minimal if that’s not your thing) He was so adorable and sweet! I just loved him to pieces!
The magic elements in The Witch Hunter are really superb especially ***SPOILERS*** the magic tree and the creatures that Elizabeth fought like those giant rat things. The death curse and the magic knots were also really interesting to me. ***END OF SPOILERS*** I can’t wait for more of that magic in the sequel!
The ending is fantastic, wrapping up parts of the plot but still leaving things to conquer in the next book. Exactly how I like series to start and I can tell it’s going to segue nicely.
Do I recommend and does it have reread potential? Definitely yes and I’ll probably reread or skim before reading the sequel.
I received a copy from the NOVL newsletter which in no way affected my review. PS. you can sign up for that newsletter and get GIFs of adorable puppies every month here>http://thenovl.com/