Friday, May 22, 2015

*Book Review* The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker (YA Fantasy)

Series: The Witch Hunter # 1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Source: NetGalley
Format: E-book, 368 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

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.

The Witch Hunter is set in 16th century England (1558) where Magic has been banned, and those caught using it are burned at the stake. 16 year old Elizabeth Grey is one of the best witch hunters in all of Anglia. She's been trained, along with her best friend Caleb, to hate witches and wizards because they were responsible for unleashing a Plague that killed her parents, leaving her alone at the tender age of Nine.

But, after she is caught with magical herbs, she is quickly accused of treason and witchcraft and told she will burn at the stake by the person who trained her, Lord Blackwell. The only thing that stops this from happening is the appearance of the most wanted Warlock in all of Anglia; Nicholas Perevil. Elizabeth is suddenly surrounded by the criminal element that she is supposed to bring to justice. Yet, not all witches, or wizards are evil, and Elizabeth finds herself helping Nicholas and his group of Reformers find a away to remove a curse placed on Nicholas before his time runs out.

Elizabeth has a difficult journey ahead of her. Who does she belong with now that a whole bunch of secrets have been revealed, and she's been betrayed and abandoned? Reviewers have been scratching their head over her actions. But, let's really break down why I don't believe Elizabeth is all that bad, and that people should give her an opportunity to prove it. Think about following your best friend into being a witch hunter because he is the only family you have left alive, and what he does, you do, no matter how dangerous or crazy.

Older brother, younger sister. Happens all the time. Think about the older fatherly figure who tells you that Magic is bad and that Witches, Wizards, and Necromancers are pure evil and need to be done away with. Then, let's take into consideration that Elizabeth is the only female to pass the rugged trials that Blackwell puts them through in order to become the best witch hunter she can be. So, yes, Elizabeth is pretty damn badass, and nearly indestructible. Sure, she makes mistakes, especially when it comes to Caleb.

Who doesn't make mistakes when they're 16? So, why wouldn't Elizabeth believe everything that she's been told? The fact that the most powerful wizard around, her enemy, saved her life, and not her best friend who left her to die, goes along way of shaking Elizabeth's thought process. Wizards and Witches saving a witch hunters life? Blasphemy! So, yes, Elizabeth is forced to rethink years of ingrained training and pick a side to fight alongside.

She even finds herself becoming friends with a small group of Nicholas's people, especially John, the healer, witch Fifer, wizard George, pirate Peter, and revenant Schuyler. They take her in, and slowly but surely they become her family, and they work with her to find a way to break Nicolas's curse, and THEY don't abandon her when shit hits the fan.   

Per the author's response on Goodreads, "The Witch Hunter is the first of two planned books in this duology. The sequel will come out June 2016, and there are also a few novellas in the works. The first to be released August 2015 (told from John's POV) and the second the author is working on now, a dual POV between Schuyler and Fifer."

**I received this book for free from (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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