Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Book Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

I have dual-citizenship on the internet.

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. 


Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn't look dangerous. A tiny, blonde, wisp of a girl shouldn't know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the king's elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.

When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she's arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she's to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor - Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.

As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas's curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate... and life and death.

The first book in an incredible new series set in a fantastical medieval world.

This is a start of a series, set in a fantastical medieval Europe about witch hunting. It's fun and problematic.

The main character, Elizabeth Grey, why she has combination name of two English Queens around the book's setting in the real world is something we should question the writer about it. If it's intentional, let's hope it's not meant to be foreshadowing. Back to my initial point, the MC is okay. I have no strong emotions, sometimes I sort of like her and then it drops off. I think the big thing is her emotions are shallow, so there's not enough to cover you with and don't stick around for long. She also a big cliché,. Strong, little Blonde that people judge to be this weak and fragile thing but she can kick ass, it's a pretty over done formula. Also it's not like she takes advantage of people's view of her (other than the first few seconds) at all so what the point of this description being stated several times. There is some interesting character dynamics going on and complicated relationship stuff. However, this did become a tad bit annoying and this book also has instanta love, but the kind that tries to tick into it not being instanta love, but it is because the characters love each other all of a sudden. Though, it's not actually a love triangle, like I've seen some say. I call it instanta love because I don't feel like it develops from anyway, sure they have conversations, but more like this terrible thing has happened to me and I felt guilty about that.

The plot and the world is interesting with the different types of witches and the living dead. Okay, the whole plot/starting point jumps off something terrible happening to the MC and while with keeping with the setting, I just don't how I feel about the treatment of it. It just seems this grey zone of the book and I've seen someone comment on being a positive thing that this aspect of the character and I had no how to word a comment to discuss this with them. 

The Kingdom name is about as original as toad and she should have just called it FAKE ENGLAND. Especially, when the the book is dedication says "For England".  I mean Anglia is the medieval name for England so the author did decide on some distinction from the real England but also not at all, as Anglia is still commmonly used, I imedicately associated Anglia with England, so why not just go all the way and come up with actual name yourself. Also the set up we have, is no way near real English history for time period. It's not a altering one or two things, therefore it doesn't at all count as alternative history. Also with this being England, there should be a whole lot bitching going with the bordering countries. Though, be honest I bet we'll get terrible name in the series like Gaul which is France, we know this because it's across the Channel (also a google search comfirmed this). Honestly, I hate Anglophiles so I'm straight up prejudice against someone obsessed with England. It more the ones that say Britain when they just mean England. Also I'm not going to lie, but Anglia currently has more in common with Scotland. We went through horrific period of our King killing witches, sure he went on to become the King of England, but call him James the first and I'll punch you in the face. Probably not physically but with words. Anyway, there's the Witchcraft Act 1563 (Scotland) and this book takes place in 1558. England went through it's big witch hunting phrase in 17th century. Having a proper date is weird, especially when it clear where this is based on but being completely different, so like why? Also the King in this novel is called Malcolm which is a Scottish King name, like George or Edward are English King names. Also honestly, if it becomes blatantly clear that there is not a country sitting on top of Anglia; I will be pissed. I don't know if Walsh readers will feel the same about a Country to the West. If we never go there, fine. It just Scotland and England are not the same country, so many people don't get that; and in this time period we still have completely different governments so it shouldn't be that confusing. So that turn into a rant about history and the setting of this book, but every time the name Anglia came up, it grated on me. Next time, just make up your own country names instead of using Medieval Latin and everything being set in fantastical England is so bloody dull.You know other countries have/had royal families too.

Somehow I got a hold of the US/Canadian digital review copy as well as the UK one. The UK has the better cover but the US has better chapter heads. The numerical number being in drawn circle or cup stain, whilst the UK is just written numbers. That's only difference beside the whole hardback and paperback things. Not that I was expecting any.

Overall, I give this 3.5 out of five stars for herbs. I like this book, I probably would have liked at lot more without all the weird reference to England in it because one it's not clever and doesn't add anything to the world, it in fact takes away from it. Currently, I would read the sequel but I feel that with this series setting and problematic plot elements that it has, it's walking a tightrope that means I could currently jump off the series before the end easily and I ain't running for a sequel.
I got this for Review off NetGalley and it was published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on 2rd June 2015 and is being Published by Orchard Books on the 4th June 2015. Somehow I got a hold of the US/Canadian edition as well as the UK one. 

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