Monday, 22 June 2015

Book Review: Witch Hunter

WITCH HUNTER by Virginia Boecker
4 Stars
: Brilliant opening followed by lots of long conversations, a few odd moments peppered with action, and then an epic end. Review done.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.


The first three chapters and the last section were my favourite. I think it’s well worth a read if you like the sound of this: a witch hunter who questions her allegiance when she’s thrown in jail and learns of a prophecy that means she is the only one who can save magic.

There’s nothing too special about Elizabeth Grey, our main character. We’re told she’s a good witch hunter, but only shown how she messes up a lot, which set the tone for the book. Elizabeth seems broken, unable to think for herself for the most part. She’s been cohered into a profession she never wanted, has her heart set on a guy who has been her whole world, and now has a prophecy to fall in line for – one that seems to predict her death.

The author knows how to write relationships in a way that tugged at my emotions, creating interesting side plots rather than overwhelming the story with romance. I never felt particularly fond of either of the love interests, but I liked how Elizabeth started to pull away from her roots. The transformation was very emotional in parts.

There was a very long early-middle section. It contains lots of tedious conversations and a bundle of new characters that weren’t used much. At this point, I was struggling to picture half of it, and there wasn’t much motivation to read to the end. There wasn’t a sense of tension or stakes.

I wasn’t expecting it to pick back up, but it started to gather pace and slowly enticed me back into its clutches. Although I could see most of the twists coming, they played out a little differently to what I was expecting, and that made it hard to put down.

A lot of things could have been done better. Firstly, there were possibly too many characters. Fifer seemed like a complete cliché, although I still found that she spiced up the story. I loved George the jester when we first met him, but he doesn’t really have a part to play in the book, and I even forgot he was even around. I can’t remember some of the other minor characters. If they become important in book two, then perhaps they should have been introduced later.

The twist concerning the herbs felt like the first person narrator was keeping a secret from the reader or added as an afterthought. Also, the idea of pirates and ghosts sounds awesome, but in reality, they were never really used. I get the feeling that this book could have been absolutely amazing, but it didn’t quite get there.

Prophecies can be a little tiresome in my opinion. We all know they’re two faced, and they’re always purposely vague – forcing the main character to follow their gibberish whim without another motive. This was no different, although I did think the writer made a good job of it.

There was a lot I enjoyed about this book, and it ended on a high note too. I think I’d like to at least take a peek of the next in the series.