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Near Witch, The by [Schwab, Victoria]
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Near Witch, The Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews

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Length: 288 pages Word Wise: Enabled Age Level: 10 - 14
Grade Level: 7 - 9

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Victoria Schwab ( is the 23-year-old product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a Southern upbringing. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is working on her second novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 849 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Hyperion (August 2, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 2, 2011
  • Sold by: Disney Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005E8AAX0
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,937 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This should be 3.5 stars really.

I wish I could say I loved this book - I certainly wanted to love it, but there was something essential lacking for me. It's a bit hard to put my finger down on because the story was beautifully crafted in so many ways - but the plot moved a bit slowly, and the characters seemed lackluster.

Victoria Schwab is a word smith of the highest caliber. Her words flow gracefully across the page as if dancing. Every scene is painted with painstaking perfection in our minds - we can practically feel the moor grasses beneath our toes, and the wind pushing at our hair.

Her story reads like a dark fairy tale, the kind you imagine your mother reading you just before bedtime, as the darkness creeps over the sky and sinister shadows play across the walls. I loved the content - it's whimsical, a bit creepy, and deliciously dark - but it's a slow and sleepy sort of story. It doesn't pick up the pace, and become a page turner until near the very end of the book, so I found myself a bit yawny throughout much of it. I think I'm just spoiled by the latest generation of fast paced action oriented urban fantasy books.

Sadly the characters felt a bit lack luster to me. Alas poor Lexi - I did not feel I knew you well! Lexi is strong, determined, loyal, protective, and skilled. Her hunter father taught her to track and defend herself. She stands up for her family with great courage, and faces untold dangers for their sake throughout the story, so you LIKE her, but you don't know her. I never really had a sense of Lexi, or the mysterious Cole. Perhaps it's because the narrative of the story focuses more on the world around Lexi instead of what's going on in her head.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought The Near Witch because I heard it was set on the English moors and involved a mystery and romance. Those are pretty much my three favorite elements in a novel.
It's hard for me to review this book, because it's successful for what it was meant to be (a fairy tale) but it wasn't the gothic paranormal romance I was expecting. This isn't a failing on the author's part, just a misalignment with my expectations as a reader. Schwab's debut novel is a beautiful, simple story of families and a community coming to understand and overcome its fears, with a little magic and legend thrown in.
The action takes place in a moorland village some unspecified time in the past where the women wear long skirts, the stone houses have thatched roofs, and the washing is done in a stream. I grew up reading the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens, so that's the sort of dialogue I was expecting. Instead the language was mostly contemporary, including many of the character names. (I don't think people were named Lexi and Tyler in 1800s England, but I could be wrong!)
The plot is simple and linear, and there was never much question in my mind of who is taking the children, but the mystery isn't the point of the story. The lure of book is in the atmosphere and mood Schwab sets, not in any complicated plotting or character development. Fairy tales aren't really concerned with growth or change in their characters, and neither is The Near Witch. It's about the haunting moors, the wind, and the strange witches. (Also, I've never come across male witches in any book. They're always called something else, like wizard or warlock.)
I didn't really buy into the romance, because all we really know about Cole is that he has a tragic past and is sad most of the time.
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Format: Hardcover
Review posted on Page Turners Blog on 8/27/2011

I really believe that a well-loved folk or fairy tale has to have a certain level of darkness in it to be good. And The Near Witch starts with just that -- a story which scares you with its possibilities, a story that reminds you when you hear an unexpected knock, knock, knock that it just may be true.

Also, Victoria Schwab is THAT writer. You know the one that will keep you guessing, wondering and all the while you will be hypnotized by her gorgeous choice of phrasing. Here's an example with her protagonist, Lexi, and the mysterious boy, Cole, who shows up just as the disappearances start (from page 86):

I pause a moment, leaning against a rock. The world tips dreamily.
"You're tired," he says.
I shrug, but linger another moment.
"I'm fine," I say, straightening. "Tell me a story." I yawn as we continue walking along the narrow dirt lane, the wind-blown path always to our left. "It'll help keep me awake."
I didn't want just any story, I want his. I want to know the world beyond the Near and the way they speak and the stories they tell and why he is here, in his singed gray cloak, and why he is keeping his words close.
"I don't know any," he says. His eyes wander over the field to the grove in the distance, sitting like a knot of shadows.
"Make one up," I say, glancing back now at the blue-black world that falls away behind us. Cole looks back, too, frowning as if he sees something different, more troublesome or alive than the simple landscape, but he says nothing, seems to grow thinner before my eyes.
"All right," I say at last. "I'll start, then. Any requests?"
The silence is so long that I think he hasn't heard me. The wind around us hums.
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