Friday, 12 February 2016

Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Witches, watch out... Half Bad meets Kill Bill in this incredible new supernatural series.

Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn't look dangerous. A tiny, blonde, wisp of a girl shouldn't know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the king's elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.

When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she's arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she's to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor - Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.

As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas's curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate... and life and death.

Elizabeth is a little wisp of a teenager but she has been trained for years to fight witches. She has grown up being taught the evils of magic but when the King chooses her as his new... interest, she breaks the rules and has herbs preventing pregnancy. But it is illegal, no matter the reason, so Elizabeth is imprisoned and sentenced to death. While slowly getting more and more ill in the jail cell, she is rescued and pulled into Nicholas's inner circle, it is there that she realises that she's been swallowing lies all her life.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from this; it was just something new to read. But, despite the initial confusion over where and when it's set, I did quite enjoy it. The mix of historical and fantasy worked rather well, blending the old-school magical beliefs set in a made-up English style land.

There was also a slightly random love interest but it wasn't the focus, not by any means. The adventure was really well paced as Elizabeth is caught up in this whirlwind of prophesies and living on the run and getting her life turned upside down. And with a fantastic set of characters supporting and annoying her, Elizabeth needs to un-curse Nicholas and not get killed in the process.

I was surprised by this. It had a really good mix of fantasy and romance and action, but it wasn't too difficult to read or concentrate on. A nice addition to the genre.

Published 1st September 2015 by Hodder and Stoughton. 

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