Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Series: The Witch Hunter, Book 1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy The Witch Hunter Cover
ISBN: 9780316327008
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.

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 Witch Hunter is a spellbinding supernatural adventure. Virginia Boecker’s debut fantasy is imaginative, spirited, and wholly entertaining. I dashed through the pages of The Witch Hunter, as eager to unravel the world of Ms. Boecker’s making as I was to follow Elizabeth’s journey.

Elizabeth is an interesting, wonderfully flawed heroine. She’s a witch hunter, devoted to her calling not just because magic is perceived to be evil, but because being a witch hunter gives her a family and ties her to her best friend, Caleb. Though she’s undeniably strong, her fear of dying alone has made her vulnerable and she doesn’t let herself question her work even though she’s smart enough to know that all is not right. When she’s sentenced to death and is subsequently rescued by Nicholas Perevil, the man who should be evil incarnate, Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down. She enters a world of witches and seers, of magic and ghosts, revenants and pirates. Old loyalties are tested by new ties and it’s not easy for Elizabeth to come to terms with what must be done now that the blindfold is off.

Once she’s forced to question everything she ever believed to be true, the real adventure begins. The action doesn’t stop as Elizabeth uses her talents honed as a witch hunter to help the very people she would normally be hunting. With each new discovery made, it becomes more and more clear that something is rotten in Anglia, and it’s up to Elizabeth and her newfound allies to root it out. Along for the journey is a fascinating group of characters who are sure to endear themselves to readers. Nicholas’s Reformist cohorts include a loveable pirate, a feisty witch, a fool who is anything but foolish, and more. But my favorite character in The Witch Hunter (aside from Elizabeth) is John, a healer who is pure goodness itself. John grabbed my heart from the start and didn’t let go, and it’s no spoiler to say that he and Elizabeth fall for one another. In a world where innocence is swiftly corrupted, there’s a sweetness to their romance I couldn’t resist and I hope to see much more of them in the sequel.

The Witch Hunter moves at a fast pace and Ms. Boecker beautifully balances action with character development. I do have to note that the language seemed a bit modern for a story set in the sixteenth century, even taking into account that it’s a fantasy tale. Whether or not this bothers you depends on reader preference. I noticed it, but I enjoyed Ms. Boecker’s writing so much that it didn’t bother me in the slightest. My only complaint is that I finished the book and wanted to jump right into the sequel. Alas, I’ll have to be patient, but I have no doubt that it’ll be worth the wait. If The Witch Hunter is any indication of her talent, Virginia Boecker is an author to watch. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Boecker has in store for Elizabeth, John, and all the characters I’ve come to love.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.