A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. When she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to die at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can track down the person who laid a deadly curse on him.
As she’s thrust into the world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and all-too-handsome healers, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.
I had high hopes for The Witch Hunter and though it wasn’t a perfect novel it was still a very fun and engaging read for me. I was immediately swept up in the story and enjoyed the writing and pacing. I felt that things moved at a fairly fast pace and was quick to grab my interest. I’m not typically a big fan of witch stories but this one worked for me. You might be wondering- why was she so eager for this book if she’s not all that into reading about witches? The answer to that- I have no idea! I had a feeling I’d like it and went with it.
This book wasn’t overly detailed, such as the magic wasn’t explained in a lot of depth and I took most things at face value. Why was magic banned? I’m not really sure! I didn’t pay all that much attention to if the story was historically accurate nor did I care. I meshed well with the author’s writing and felt compelled to keep reading.
The Witch Hunter touched on many of my favorite things- magic, witches, pirates even a masquerade ball. I loved the inclusion of all of these elements. For me, this book was less character driven than my typical read (though we do get to know a good deal about Elizabeth). I typically am characters focused but for TWH I felt my interest was more in the setting and progression of the story.
Though this book stuck with some typical tropes I did find the historical setting to stand out simply due to the fact that most young adult novels don’t venture into the past. I think that Boecker did a great job of incorporating historical details naturally. None of it felt forced or dull.
Elizabeth’s point of view was easy to follow and I liked her well enough. I enjoyed watching her question her choices and actions as she learned more about how things were truly. It was a tad hard to imagine her being cruel but I could understand why she’d follow her childhood friend and fall for what she’d been raised being told as truth.
I did have trouble seeing what Elizabeth saw in Caleb (that childhood friend/crush). I really couldn’t see any redeeming qualities about him or feel a connection between the two characters. The only emotions I had towards him were all negative so I felt that I had to just accept that Elizabeth cared for him and that many of her actions were due to that connection she had that wasn’t all that visible to the reader.
I enjoyed the cast of characters she met once being introduced to Nicholas Perevil’s world. These characters were more well rounded and I enjoyed their dialog and interactions with one another. I enjoyed their hesitation in accepting Elizabeth and felt that it was realistic.
One thing sort of bothered me and that was with Elizabeth’s past with the King.
Their ‘relationship’ was described and alluded to as being essentially rape and yet little was mentioned and Elizabeth didn’t really seem to deal with any fall out emotionally from her experiences at the King’s hands. This could be explored later on in the series but as it was presented in this book it felt like an aside that wasn’t fully developed to me.
I had some pretty high expectations for The Witch Hunter and I found it delivered on most of my hopes. I wish some of the more common YA elements had been left out but overall it was an enjoyable read. I’ll be checking out the next book and look forward to seeing where the story goes.