The Near Witch Book Review

If the wind calls at night,

You must not listen,

The wind is lonely,

And always looking

For company.

-front flap 

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Well. I’m writing this on a Mac. I hate Macs. But I hate the idea of getting my computer more. So we’ll roll with this.

Lexi is a young girl, living with her mother and sister in a small village on the Moor called Near. In Near, there are no strangers. Yet one blustery night, a mysterious boy appears with the wind and is gone as quickly as Lexi spies him. When children start disappearing, the boy comes under suspicion. After all, there are no strangers in Near. Lexi hunts the boy down and he insists he’s innocent and implores her to help him. Lexi, understanding that something darker and deeper is at work on the moor, joins forces with the boy to protect him from the outraged townsfolk.

This book starts with a chilling bedtime story– that of the Moor Witch and the wind– which is sort of like the excerpt I posted. The story is told by Lexi, the first person narrator of the book, and her words are lyrical and haunting. I started this book at night and Lexi’s tale of the Moor Witch had me closing the windows and curling up deeper under my covers.

After Lexi tells the story (it’s a bedtime story for her younger sister), she looks out the window and sees a boy. But before she can really look at him though, he disappears with the wind. Spooky.

The story progresses, as I’ve described, with the children vanishing and the boy under suspicion and it’s all very well written. The language was simple, but it tingled, like cold fingers running up your spine. The plot itself was very engaging; a quiet little mystery, that captures you through the characters involved.

The book was relatively short, but I thought that I got a good look at everyone in the tale, except for maybe Lexi. She’s a little typical– a lot like Katniss, and as a first person narrator she really only narrates, without giving much of her own opinion or thoughts. I wouldn’t call this a bad thing necessarily because the story she does tell us is probably more interesting than her waxing poetic about the mysterious boy.

Speaking of, you could probably guess that this book was going to have a little romance in it. I mean, boys that disappear with the wind are my favorite kind of boys. How could you not love them? (Actually, the town has little trouble despising him, so maybe it’s just me. And Lexi.) The love story was not overwhelming, nor did it distract from the main plot. In fact, it is sort of what set things in motion. It was sweet and nothing happened randomly (no unnecessary arguments or love triangles) and it tied itself off nicely at the end of the story.

The end of the overall plot was well paced and it made since within the context of the story; however, say this was made into a film– in that case, it would probably seem a little weak.

I just realized what this book reminds me of– A Miyazaki movie. Have you seen them? Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke? All very, very, very good films. Typical of Miyazaki movies are strong female leads and a story that doesn’t try to define good and evil, but focuses on the how different types of people react to the same situation. That’s what this book was. Quiet, and fantasy based, yet realistic because of the people in it.

This is probably one of my shorter reviews…certainly a lot shorter than the ones I posted earlier. But, I don’t really have much criticism for this book. It was exactly the right length, and while it’s kind of a one-time read, I would definitely suggest it. It won’t take up much time (or space; the book is small) and I think it would be a rather enjoyable way to spend the evening.

Ri’s Rating:


0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

Leave a comment


  1. Call me Ems

     /  November 1, 2012

    You watch Studio Ghibli movies?! High five, Ri!

    Have you watched ‘The Cat Returns’? It’s cool.


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