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.
Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.
Coming June 4th by Hachette Children's Books/Orchard Books - ISBN: 9781408335222
I received a copy from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review!
What I say: I really like YA fantasy and I love historical fiction possibly even more, so when given the opportunity to read The Witch Hunter, which is essentially a mixture of the two, I jumped at the chance.
Elizabeth Grey is a teenage witch hunter (think along the lines of a 16th Century Buffy with less snark). She's great at her job and takes hunting down the 'evil' witches, wizards & magical creatures (with her best friend Caleb) extremely seriously. Elizabeth finds herself being accused of being a witch and faces potential execution. When Caleb can't save her, she's suddenly rescued by infamous wizard Nicholas Perevil who needs her help breaking a curse.
After Elizabeth escapes matters escalate pretty quickly and the former witch hunter finds herself immersed in the very world she had been working to stop. Doubts appear and she begins to question motives, lies and agendas. I can't say too much more without spoiling anything. Who is really bad and what does everybody seem to want from her?
I have to admit I did find the beginning of the story a little hard to get into but I enjoyed it more once details about Elizabeth and her past were revealed. I also had trouble empathising with Elizabeth because she was so dependant on Caleb and didn't question the truth beforehand. I will admit that she did grow on me as the story developed and once she stopped whining and started to think for herself. I did take into consideration her age (she's only 16) and the position of women at this time; she was expected to be subservient to men and to take orders.
There is a sort-of love story element, but this didn't take the direction I expected and was pleasantly surprised with the slow burn. The secondary characters really enriched the story. I particularly liked Fifer and John (who I thought was extremely patient with Elizabeth). I appreciated Elizabeth's development and demonstration of strength because at the end of the book she's a much more mature and developed character.
3.5 - 4 Stars in my Sky!