Thank you so much to Virginia Boecker and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the ARC! Receiving it/knowing the author in no way influenced my opinions or review.
You guys, I LOVED this book! The Witch Hunter was lots of fun to read. It’s a fantastic historical fantasy for fans of both genres with a surprising amount of humor mixed in with the darkness and magic, and of course a bit of romance! The book was exciting and a little predictable, but not necessarily in a bad way. More in that “I love books like this” kind of way. It’s a fast-paced, atmospheric story with awesome characters that I was easily sucked into. There isn’t a ton of romance but it looks like there will be more in book 2 (it’s a duology).
A lot of the dialogue was much more sassy and humorous that I expected, but it never took away from the fantastic tension or spooky setting. I loved the curses and magic, as well as watching Elizabeth realize that her absolute views on wizards and witch hunting might not be so absolute after all. The characters all have this fascinating dynamic; I particularly loved John, George, and Elizabeth herself. I also loved the mysterious tomb! I need to know more!!!!
It also has a great historical feel to it, with names and concepts familiar to fans of English and European history twisted to fit this alternate version of 16th century England. For example, a magical reformation instead of the Protestant Reformation, Anglia, and Gaul instead of England and France. And there are hidden history jokes too! Whenever I spotted one I giggled to myself like the history nerd that I am.
The Witch Hunter is not an epic fantasy so the Game of Thrones comparison seems like yet another marketing ploy. BUT it is a fantastic historical fantasy for fans of both genres, and for reluctant fantasy readers as well. It has just the right amount of magic and fantasy mixed with the alternate historical setting. I could see the Graceling and Throne of Glass comparisons, as well as comparisons to Chantress. It might be for fans of Grave Mercy too but I haven’t read that yet (I know, I know!). I read The Witch Hunter way back in January and I’m anxiously awaiting my pre-ordered finished copy so I can read it again!
Bottom line: with strong world building and an exciting set-up, fans of historical fantasy will be clamoring for more of Elizabeth’s adventures in this darkly magical alternate England.
The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Series: The Witch Hunter #1
Published by Little, Brown BfYR
Pub Date: June 2nd 2015
Format: ARC | Source: Author
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
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.