GOODREADS SUMMARY | Little, Brown BYR | ARC paperback, 368 pp. | Young Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I’ve had my doubts about this book. For me, there is nothing else in the world that reeks of fantasy other than witchcraft and wizardry. And between you and me, fantasy has always been an aggravating genre that doesn’t seem to agree with me.
This book was a surprisingly enjoyable take on the witchcraft in the 15th century. It follows the story of one Elizabeth Grey; a sixteen-year-old witch hunter who suddenly finds herself accused of witchcraft. Before her punishment was doled out (most likely she’s to be burned at the stake), she was saved by an unlikely ally. The most wanted Nicholas Perevil.
I naturally assumed there was to be a romance between Nicholas and Elizabeth. But before long, I knew that I was wrong. The book, thankfully, was more than about romance between two enemies. And certainly, not about that at all. It’s Elizabeth’s journey to discover the truth; to uncover the lies she’s been fed in her years of service to Blackwell. It was to mete out justice for the witches that have died senselessly and without cause. And how she got from being a witch hunter to their saviour is an interesting component of the plot.
In truth, she was hard to take at first. For someone who was supposed to be a prodigy and good at what she does, she kept bumbling and making stupid mistakes. As a result, her childhood friend, Caleb kept covering for her. But she more than made up for it towards the end. She found the courage to do what the prophecy foretold and found herself on the right side of justice for once.
The romance worried me for a time or two. A love triangle was brewing in no less than a few chapters. She’s been in love with Caleb through her adolescent years, but meeting somebody else in Nicholas’ camp opened her eyes to her true feelings towards Caleb. I really hope that the second book will not open this can of worms, but I have a feeling Caleb will be back and Elizabeth will put me through the rigamarole of waffling between the two. If that happens, I’ll be jumping ship faster than you can say boo.
Virginia Boecker effectively captured the right atmosphere of the novel. It’s dark, sinister and more often, hopeless. The world was well evolved, efficiently described, and easily imagined. There are a few characters here whose back stories intrigued me. Hopefully, they’ll get more billing in the second book.