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.
The Witch Hunter is an action-drama, set in the time of the infamous witch trials and the burnings at the stake in England. Elisabeth Grey is the best witch hunter there is in the entire kingdom, capturing witches, wizards, necromancers and she does so on the orders of King Malcolm and the Inquisitor Blackwell with her best friend Caleb by her side. Until, of course, she is accused of being a witch and is helped by the most powerful wizard in the kingdom—Nicholas Perevil.
At least, that’s what the summary says. Unfortunately, The Witch Hunter really didn’t read this way. To say that the book did not tap into its full potential would be an understatement. And if that alone wasn’t enough to make me pull my hair out, the fact that it was one of my most anticipated reads this year certainly was.
To start off, I liked the world building. Historical fantasy is something I’ve only just recently begun reading so I can’t say I’m the best judge of this but to me The Witch Hunter had a very realistic feel to it. There were a few moments where I felt like I was in the middle of the action so that was some really interesting writing and Virginia Boecker has done a wonderful job bringing this universe to life.
Elisabeth turned out to be my biggest turn-off in regards to this book. She felt like a bland character with little to no attributes of her own. Kind of like a historical-fantasy Bella Swan. And she wouldn’t stop talking about Caleb. It got my on nerves, like, a lot. Even when she’s thrown into prison (to be burnt soon) and he promises to return but FUCKING DOESN’T, she’s still whining about him. It’s aaaaal about Caleb and how wonderful and strong he is and how he made her a witch hunter and SHUT THE FUCK UP ELISABETH.
She is then rescued by Nicholas Perevil and he group of witches/wizards who band together and stick with Elisabeth and her rather ungrateful attitude towards them. This is another thing that I HATED. Elisabeth was accused of being a witch by Blackwell and he was the one who was going to have her executed. And even though Nicholas saved her, offered her his home, his people, his protection, she still wanted to turn them over to Blackwell and earn his pardon.
Blackwell himself, was one of the few characters of this book I honestly enjoyed reading. He was unapologetic and true evil and even though he didn’t feature in too many pages, here was a villain who was evil and proud of it. #VillainWins If I decide to ever come back to this series, I will definitely be hoping for a lot more of Blackwell!
Another thing I liked? The ships. HOLY SHIT. Nicolas Perevil’s band of magical misfits included a feisty witch, a pirate, a certain Cavendish, and a healer. And it’s this healer guy who had my heart and my total attention every time I saw his face on my (Kindle) screen. John heals and he’s gentle and patient and he blushes. The Elisabeth – John ship was fucking fantastic, it gave me all the feels and I loved it. Truly. Another ship I shipped? Fifer and Shuyler. For a dysfunctional couple featuring a witch and a necromancer, these two were both hilarious and swoon worthy and omg if I don’t have a John/Shuyler/both of my own, I’m going to burn something down.
The synopsis of The Witch Hunter felt a wee bit misguiding because it reads like there might actually be some good action in the book. NOT TRUE. Way too much of the book focused on Elisabeth’s obsession with either Caleb or John or her need to escape from Nicholas. The actual “action” was limited to like, three or four real scenes with gore and bloodshed and they were too far and few between. The plot was too predictable and there was nothing that could really pitch as “unique” in the book, except maybe the setting. Most of it was run-of-the-mill and since I couldn’t really connect to Elisabeth, I had a very little inclination to even finish the book.
For a book that promises twists and turns and trouble, there was hardly any, owing to the fact that any action at all took place only in the last chapter. That too, was ridden with drama and angst so pfft. Major letdown. The last chapter was very funnily strategised since it ran fast in a few places and dragged in others. It read kind of like an epilogue but that can’t be because The Witch Hunter makes no sense without a sequel. For the most part, The Witch Hunter was a huge disappointment and I feel akin to a masochist who does masochisty things to amuse themselves for reading this book.