14 May 2015

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Goodreads Synopsis
The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

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.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from Hachette Children's Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I haven't read Graceling (yet), but I have read and seen and thrive on everything A Song of Ice and Fire so I was excited that this synopsis had promise of political unrest because I thrive on that. But it wasn't there. Honestly, even the magic wasn't really there. There was mentions of magic, but there was not enough actual magic being produced for me to really enjoy it.

It also felt very rushed. I knew it was a serious, so when everything was happening all at once, I was a little confused. I liked that the beginning started with action and that Elizabeth had a secret, but then it felt plot wise slow to me after that. Even her secret wasn't that interesting or even relevant to the storyline, except that it allowed her to know where the party would take place rather than what the party invitation said. 

I thought that there would be more about her relationship with Caleb since he seemed to be written as so important to the story. But he only had a limited amount of scenes in the novel. The first ten percent of the novel that included him gave us limited insight into the world and, while I understand that women were persecuted for being witches for taking herbs that would help them not conceive, I feel as though it was too easy of a solution to move the story into where the actual plot begins. 

Elizabeth was honestly nothing special. She didn't know how to see when things would occur even if they were literally told to her and it made it very frustrating. I also thought it was too convenient that she said she didn't understand any part of the prophecy but then magically knew exactly where to look for the item she was seeking. Also, considering she was the "best witch hunter" why had she never done more questioning about why and what the witches had done and why the witch hunters were using magic to help themselves. It was strange that she never thought about it more, in my opinion.

I thought maybe since George and Peter were introduced so early into the story they would have more screentime, but they were lacking that. Also, if George was the king's fool, why was he barely around the king after he found Elizabeth? Wouldn't that have been cause for suspicion by both the king and Blackwell? And Peter had such good potential, so hopefully there is more about him and his dynamic with John in the next novel. John was only okay for me. I didn't understand the semi-instalove that he and Elizabeth had but maybe it will get more developed in the next novel? Fifer was only okay to me. She is still the typical "I am a nasty bitch" girl who sneaks off with someone that her friends/family don't really approve of just for attention. She had a "tragic" back story so I guess that is supposed to make me like her, but I'm not sure if I do yet.

I do feel like this plot has been semi done before. As I was reading, I thought about Half Bad, The Mortal Instruments SeriesFlicker, etc. I think a lot of these young adult fantasy series follow a lot of the same patterns and don't do it quite as well as some of the other series. The Witch Hunter was somewhere in the middle for me. There wasn't a cliffhanger so I don't have to know what happens next, but I will finish off the series. Maybe there will be some actual political elements to it other than angry mobs and a plot to overthrow the king (that was literally it).

Overall: 3/5 stars for an interesting concept that I feel has been done multiple times and better by some but worse by others.

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