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March 6, 2017

Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

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.

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The Witch Hunter (The Witch Hunter #1) by Virginia Boecker
Published by: Little Brown BFYP  on June 2, 2015
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This title was provided to us by the Publisher/Author. We were in no way compensated for our review(s).

 

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I’ve had my eye on Virginia Boecker’s The Witch Hunter for some time now. The period in human history where people were executed under the suspicion of them being witches has always been a disturbing interest of mine and The Witch Hunter sounded like the perfect way to get a glimpse of those dark times. A novel with a kickass female lead, betrayals around every corner, and elements of magic? What wasn’t to love?

Having served as one of the king’s top witch hunters for years now, Elizabeth Grey is a force to be reckoned with. Blessed with the ability to keep from being killed by supernatural means, it’s unsurprising that Elizabeth has managed to fashion herself into one of the king’s best. When she is suspected for being a witch herself, Elizabeth is sentenced to be executed and is saved by the king’s most wanted magician: Nicholas Perevil, the epitome of all evil. Forced to wear the guise of a woman she’s not, Elizabeth walks a fine line between fact and fiction as she tries to navigate the new life provided by Perevil’s salvation and discover just who her enemies really are.

The Witch Hunter was definitely not what I expected it to be, and I say that in the most positive way possible. A lot of the events that unfolded on The Witch Hunter’s pages were unexpected and definitely constituted as plot twists. Half the time, I was shocked and surprised by the twists and betrayals that Boecker laid out for readers. The subject matter of the novel was pleasant and enjoyable, and the writing was paced relatively evenly. All in all, a total fun time.

The one thing that really stood out for me, however, was The Witch Hunter’s treatment of Elizabeth. Anyone who’s read the novel understands the trauma she had to experience in order to reach the point where she ends up being accused of being a witch herself, and I found it beautifully empowering to watch Elizabeth overcome her past and move on from it. In short, I love Elizabeth. I’m 100% team ‘Elizabeth deserves happiness and less ghosts and ghouls in her life’. That being said, the one thing that I wasn’t too fond of when it came to The Witch Hunter was the romantic subplots that were thrown in. I’m not saying that because of what Elizabeth experienced she shouldn’t be able to have romantic relationships, but the entirety of the semi-romance that was thrown into the story felt underdeveloped and unnecessary.

I loved the world that Boecker created for her witch hunters. The lore and the execution of it all (can we count that as a really bad pun?) was well-done and exciting. Every moment that I spent in the world of The Witch Hunter was an experience that I really enjoyed. Though there were instances where I felt like certain supernatural creatures were a bit too plucky to be taken seriously, the occasional lightheartedness made the novel’s darker elements easier to stomach.

              I would recommend The Witch Hunter to readers who are looking for a novel that is a great cross between fantasy and historical fiction. Readers who are looking for a novel with a great female protagonist should also give it a read. Any readers who want a novel that is easy to get into and quick to grasp your attention should also give The Witch Hunter a go.

 

About Virginia Boecker

Virginia Boecker recently spent four years in London obsessing over English medieval history, which formed the basis of her debut novel, The Witch Hunter. She now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and spends her days writing, reading, running, and chasing around her two children and a dog named George.

In addition to English kings, nine-day queens, and Protestant princesses, her other obsessions include The Smiths, art museums, champagne, and Chapstick. You can visit Virginia online at virginiaboecker.com or on Twitter @virgboecker.

 

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