A sort of slow burn novel with fantastical elements, namely witches, and mysterious missing children. I enjoyed the atmospheric vibe and Schwab's lyrical writing.
A good read, but takes a little way to get into it. The story starts slow, but rounds out in the end.
Atmospheric and penned with beautiful prose. This book would appeal to fans of other atmospheric spooky stories with an emphasis on setting, such as Beautiful Creatures or Blood Magic.
Opening with Lexi's little sister Wren is a smooth move; it establishes her importance and also allows Schwab to unobtrusively sneak in the bedtime story upon which this novel's foundations rest upon. However, the world built on the story is shaky. The village has guns, but no other technology, while the fear of witches suggests a medieval time. The prescence of actual witchcraft suggests a whole other world from today's, but further world-building is neatly side-stepped by making the town isolated.
It was a little difficult to get behind Lexi, mainly because the chain of events always seemed to occur around her. She always had the right intentions, but she never exactly seemed to make a difference. This didn't make her intolerable, merely forgettable. As for the love interest -- it was so, so obvious how it'd play out. Stranger sweeps in, no one understands him but protag, villagers catch protag and stranger making out passionately. Yes, it all happens, especially the last one. I can't say I clicked with any of the supporting characters, either.
The climax takes a stretch of the imagination, but the whole circle feel satisfies while remaining firmly grounded in witchlore. It's a little hard not to come off preachy since the whole village is tainted in hate, but the ending preaching may be forgiven by readers who are already satisfied with this perfunctory paranormal.
This book was really very good. It had some interesting twists and kept the audience captive right till the end. The ending was really good and I would recommend this to as many people as I could!!!
Enter the town of Near--an undefined, historical town settled in the moors, where the wind sings through the windows and the people live in fear of those things unknown. When a stranger arrives in the town, there is an immediate panic, which escalates as children begin disappearing from the beds in the dead of night. Could this stranger be to blame? For most of the villagers, he is the obvious person--and the easiest--to blame. But Lexi believes otherwise; she will go to great lengths to prove this stranger's innocence.
Lexi was a character that I liked from the very beginning. Her tomboyish nature and clear, unwavering love for her mother and sister (and deceased father) combine to create a lovable, real main character. She is the type of character who knows what she wants/believes and doesn't waver from those things.
The stranger is intriguing throughout and I never quite knew what to make of him. The "strangeness" of him complemented the town of Near and it's fear of the outside. His friendship with Lexi stood to complement the situation more and more as she struck out on her own to find the children, even when the people of Near didn't believe her.
OliviaSh thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over
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