The Witch Hunter #1
Paranormal Young Adult
Little, Brown BFYR
THE STORY (from 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.
The Witch Hunter captivates from beginning to end, a young woman forced to examine her every action past and present through the lens of those she dooms to the pyre, and we can do nothing but watch along with her in horrified fascination as what was so clear before becomes distorted beyond all recognition. While what Elizabeth has faced prior to our meeting her and what she must come to terms with about the part she's played in the persecution of innumerable witches is certainly dark, this story is beautifully laced with both humor and hope, a stellar cast of secondary characters and a surprisingly dry wit from Elizabeth herself making sure our heads stay above a steadily rising tide of shadows and magic.
Elizabeth is a perfect blend of strengths and weaknesses, a bit of a badass with fists and weapons (and quite frankly, absinthe consumption) who has a nearly incapacitating and utterly heart-wrenching fear of being alone. Her fear is more than understandable given the death of her parents at a young age, and we find our hearts completely ripped from our chests in the opening chapters as her best and only friend in the world fails her in every way. From that moment on Elizabeth holds our emotional stability in her hands, poised on the edge with every page turned as we wait to see what's in store for her next.
It would have been easy for Elizabeth's fear of abandonment to lead to a romance where the desire to belong and the need for companionship are mistaken for love, intense feelings developing quickly in someone who's never been allowed control over her life. Instead though, we're given a gorgeously subtle romance between Elizabeth and a certain healer, with time taken to examine how she's feeling and the way it differs from everything she's experienced up until that point. While a declaration of love from John at the end does test the boundaries of believability slightly given her previous profession, a return declaration from Elizabeth is withheld, and it's clear she has every intention of exploring how she feels in the next installment.
The romance is secondary to the action however, and Ms. Boecker ensures we're taken on a thrill ride that starts on page one and doesn't give us a moment's rest until we close the back cover. We're left at a logical place, this first installment wrapping up in satisfying fashion so we don't feel as though we've been forced to pause in the middle of the action, but we also have a clear path forward and a dark storm on the waiting for us on the horizon of book two. Overall, The Witch Hunter is not to be missed.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.
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