Wednesday, 28 May 2014

REVIEW: Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton

Published by: Hodder Children’s Books on 2nd January 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Witches, Magic
Pages: 374
Series: Witch Finder #1
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Links: Amazon, GoodReads
Bronze Wreath
A lovely read!

Image from GoodReads

London. 1880.
In the slums of Spitalfields apprentice blacksmith Luke is facing initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum, the fearsome brotherhood dedicated to hunting and killing witches.

Luke’s final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself. Luke knows that tonight will change his life forever. But when he picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, Luke has no idea that his task will be harder than he could ever imagine.

Now don’t go thinking that I didn’t like this book by giving it 3 stars. I enjoyed this book, quite a lot and I love the whole premise of it. This was more or less, a book that had me trapped in between giving it a 4 star rating and a 3. So I’m going to place it at 3.5. My reasons follow below.

So Witch Finder is the first book in a new YA Fantasy series about Witches and Magic. What’s even better is that it’s set back in England during the 1800’s! (A bonus for a Historical Fiction lover such as yours truly.) So we have our fellow male protagonist, Luke and our female protagonist, Rosamund, or Rosa. Both the complete opposite of each other with completely different fates lined out for them. Luke is human, and a Witch Hunter with every intention to wipe out every Witch in existence after the brutal murder of his parents committed by a Witch. He has sworn to get vengeance. Rosa is from an upper-class family of Witches who are left almost penniless after the passing of Rosa’s father. It is up to her to marry a rich and powerful man that could save her family. So when Luke wishes to join the Brotherhood, a secret group of Witch Hunters, he picks Rosa as his target and in order to pass his mission, he must kill her.

I really loved the sound of this book when I picked it up. I hadn’t heard of it before and I tend to enjoy the books I find for myself more than what’s on trend. The cover is stunning. After reading Half Bad by Sally Green, I grew accustomed to books about Witches. I wanted to read more for comparison. Witch Finder contains some of my most favourite genres and I loved the setting of the book. Unlike Half Bad, this is set during the 1800’s so it took a little thinking to picture the setting. For me, that part felt easy because I have a huge imagination! The story is told from alternate perspectives shifting from Luke and Rosa, each with their own problems and emotions.

One thing I had been skeptical about was the romance between Rosa and Luke. We know it’s going to happen at some point but I was incredibly happy to see that it wasn’t insta-love which would compromise Luke’s mission. (Relief!) Undoubtedly, the romance was written very well in this book, I think it’s my most favourite part! I loved seeing Luke and Rosa slowly build their relationship but even then, Warburton throws in a few twists. It was quite a journey!

However, there were parts of the book that I wasn’t particularly fond of, an example being Sebastian Knyvet, Rosa’s fiancée. At first he came across as pompous and arrogant, I knew he would be the villain in the story and I honestly was looking forward to what troubles he would create for our protagonists. Some of his actions, especially towards the end were a little disappointing and I felt that his character was a little all over the place. It was hard to understand his thoughts and his actions at times. Other issues I had was the pace of this book. It felt nice and slow at first then things got incredibly fast and confusing towards the end which could have gone better in my opinion.

But aside from that, I really enjoyed the book! It has great potential and I know I will be reading the next book. The romance is beautiful, the setting is great and the story can be quite violent at times so I should warn you there. But I loved it. Most of the characters fitted in well with the book so I look forward to seeing what will happen next seeing as we’re left in a bit of a cliff-hanger! I would recommend people to give this book a go despite the issues I had with this book. It was a really good read!

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