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The Witch Hunter

Review

The Witch Hunter

In an alternate medieval England, Elizabeth Grey is a Witch Hunter, a trained member of the Inquisitor's elite army tasked with arresting witches and wizards. She's one of Blackwell's best witch hunters, ruthless and unforgiving in her pursuit to eliminate witchcraft. But after she's caught with illegal contraband, she's forced to take refuge and accept the protection of Anglia's most wanted wizard, who needs her help just as much as she needs his. 
 
The first thing I did as soon as I finished THE WITCH HUNTER was look up whether or not a sequel was planned. Spoiler alert: there is. After breathing a sigh of relief, I thanked the publishing gods and Virginia Boecker for setting up a world and introducing characters that I don't think I ever want to say goodbye to. 
 
While this book is a bit more gritty than the Harry Potter series, I was just as charmed by the world-building and cast of characters as I was when I read HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE for the first time. I know a book is well-written when I'm certain I would gladly read another book told from a secondary character's point of view. In THE WITCH HUNTER, it’s because I'm intrigued by everyone we meet in this book; here's a pirate turned witch-sympathizer, a revenant with a soft side, a swoon-worthy healer, a King's Fool with horrible sartorial choices! They're all so fantastic and I want to know more about them. 
 
I was just as charmed by the world-building and cast of characters as I was when I read HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE for the first time. 
 
As for our protagonist, it only took me 30 pages to get completely behind Elizabeth, a sign that Virginia Boecker really knows what she's doing. Once Elizabeth had won my loyalty, she kept it and probably will continue to do so for the remainder of the series and the few novellas that are expected. She's strong and capable but not a Mary Sue. She's flawed, a sycophant in a madman's crusade and suffering in silence. I love how she takes responsibility for her actions, even when she's only partially at fault. I love how human she is in an inhuman and magical world. She's a model protagonist because I saw her develop and grow and it didn't feel too rushed or halted. I'm excited to see what she'll do in the next book and how many more there are to come. 
 
And just as the characters were well-written, the plot was on target as well. Everything felt evenly paced. There were some parts of this book that felt very self-contained (which is why I was desperate to know if there was a sequel) and others felt as if they were very much part of a larger series. And I'm completely fine with that. At the end of the book, I feel like I knew enough to feel like this portion of the story was done and yet it also kept me hungry for more. 
 
That isn't to say that this book was, like Elizabeth, without flaws. I do feel that the very beginning was a bit weak and that the first scene lacked the gravitas of the rest of the book. Those first 25 pages didn't hold my interest but the rest of the book certainly did. And I don't want to spoil anything but although I said the story was evenly paced, I think the ending felt very different from the rest of the book, as if it was a tacked on epilogue. This could have just been me, but I expected a bigger climax, even if it is book one in a series. 
 
I think the criticisms are negligible, however. This book was one that I can't wait to recommend and share. I anxiously anticipate its sequels and as soon as you read THE WITCH HUNTER, I have a feeling you will, too. 

Reviewed by Brianna Robinson on July 13, 2015

The Witch Hunter
(The Witch Hunter #1)
by Virginia Boecker

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2016
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Youth Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0316327190
  • ISBN-13: 9780316327190