The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: March 12th, 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars

The Near Witch


The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

This book was purchase by me. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


Alright y’all… this might be the first book from Schwab that I actually am not super impressed by. I realize that this book went out of print and I realize that this was her first novel… but to be honest, I think this would have worked better for my mind as a middle grade read. I think labeling it as YA just doesn’t suit the book and actually makes my opinion on it less favorable.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a 3 star – which to me is a decent book. It’s likable, the plot moves forward, there’s aspects of the story I enjoyed… but it was just missing something. Everyone says it’s “atmospheric” but honestly that’s where it stops. There’s the town Near in which kids go missing, there’s the Moor.. and that’s  about where the story ends.

Lexi and Cole were characters who felt one dimensional – I found a hard time caring about them and their mission. The romance felt meh, honestly not even necessary to me. I pushed through because I wanted to know more about the story and I did enjoy the ending because the action picks up.

I will say, the audiobook is AWFUL. I’m a huge audiobooker and it was so weird. The narrator kept putting inflection on the last word and had this strange AF tone. She was supposed to be portraying a young woman but sounded so old. I don’t know, I think that may have had an impact on my reading experience and how much I enjoyed this book.

I think it would be a perfect spooky read for middle school! So if you have a child who likes spooky but wants to be able to sleep at night, this is a good one for that!

This book is available for now at most book retailers, in store or online!

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A Darker Shade of Magic – Victoria Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
 Adult Fantasy
22055262Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: 
February 24th, 2015
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis: Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Shades of Magic series
1. A Darker Shade of Magic
2. A Gathering of Shadows
3. A Conjuring of Light

It took me two years to finally buckle down and read this book. I had tried on several occasions to read it – I think I started it close to 7 times and could never make it past the first chapter. I was well versed in Kell’s peculiar coat! Hah! I listened to the first 1/3 via audio, switched to reading, then back to audio and I really enjoyed it! I heard the narrator changes in book 2 so we will see! I hope they don’t change Lila’s cockney accent! I could do without Rhy’s whining, though!

Things that worked for me (could be considered slightly spoilery):

  • The world building is EXCEPTIONAL! It is fantastic! I love the ideas of the different London’s and how they are vastly different from one another.
  • Lila Bard is a mu’fuckin’ hero! She is honestly the best thing about this book. I love her attitude, her determination, her grit. She is my new fave heroine!
  • Morally grey is where it’s at. Schwab is the master at creating characters that you question their every intention. I am so excited to see the development in the next installments!
  • It wrapped up in a way that if I never read the other books I would be satisfied with the story. I feel like most of Schwab’s stories are like this. I felt this way about This Savage Song and Vicious. There’s the feeling of, maybe there’s another book, but also being satiated with what was given.

Things that didn’t work for me (could be considered slightly spoilery):

  • Not much actually! I really enjoyed this book. I’m not sure what happened when I was reading it, maybe I was hung over from previous books, but there wasn’t much I even thought “meh” about!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am so glad that I finally took the time to get to know this story and appreciate it! I am excited to read A Gathering of Shadows!

You can pick up this book at a local or online retailer. It is available now!