Short review originally written August 26th – edited and extended here of October 28th
Title: Witch Hunter
Author: Virginia Boecker
Series status: The 1st in a series
Publisher: (UK) Orchard books
Number of Pages: 409
(Found on Goodreads)
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.
Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.
I originally picked this book up because the synopsis really intrigued me. Being rescued by the enemy? I’d not read a story where that happens before.
I really enjoyed this book. Mainly for the characters, I found them to be very like-able and unique in their own way. Their personalities were well built, and in regards to the main group of people, they all seemed to balance out each others reactions. I adored the relationships between all of the characters too, especially with how they developed through the book. Some of the relationships between the characters were so different by the end to how they were at the beginning, and I found it admirable that Boecker managed to write this in a realistic and believable way.
I thought the world-building aspect could have been a tad more descriptive, because the setting was intriguing but the lack of description meant I couldn’t imagine it as vividly as I’d have liked. However, since only small pauses were left to describe the scene, the book was fast paced throughout, as there seemed to be relentless action or planning. The setting seemed to fit perfectly with historical fiction, with the burning of witches and fear of magic the underlying base of the plot line fro the very beginning.
The story itself was gripping and I often found myself reading huge chunks of the book at a time, just because I couldn’t put it down. I did want slightly more of a back story for the main character (Elizabeth), as there are issues that are hinted at but are only vaguely explained. I think if the back story was more bulked out, the rest of the events would have seemed more shocking, and I’d have felt more sympathetic towards Elizabeth. The danger of the situation could have been intensified a bit more to make the story a tiny bit more thrilling.
The writing style itself was riveting. A few cliffhanger chapters were thrown around to keep you reading, just when you got a sense of comfort that everything would be OK for a while. I often found myself immersed in the story, flying through the pages.
In the case of the synopsis, I think the Goodreads version does give away a bit too much, but not enough to spoil the entire story, since there are enough twists and diversions in the plot to lead a different plot line. I do believe it’s better going into this book not knowing much, like I did, but that is more a matter of opinion, since I like going into most books not knowing much.
Rated 4//5 stars!
I think anybody who likes to read fantasy stories would appreciate this book. It would make a great Halloween read for anybody who doesn’t like reading scary stories, since the witchcraft brings in a dark atmosphere and magical themes.