Thursday, 28 November 2013

13:40 - No comments

Book Review: Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton

Witch Finder (Witch Finder, #1)

Synopsis 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.

My Review:

(I received an advance copy from Hachette Children’s Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Witch Finder, by Ruth Warburton, is about witch hunter, Luke, and his destined quest to kill young witch, Rosa. However, as the the story unfolds, the two end up falling in love, making it harder for Luke to complete his task. This also makes it harder for Rosa to save her family by marrying another man and regaining his fortune.

As far as the plot line, that is it. I would have preferred a more complicated and elaborate storyline, perhaps it would have made the book more interesting throughout. Instead, it just came across as very plain and straight forward. I am a fan of novels with lots of character back stories that entwine with the ending and overall journey. This book is lacking in that, in my opinion. The first few pages focus primarily on the “brotherhood” that gathers together in attempt to kill witches. It also describes Luke’s initiation into this group. As I read this, I got excited because I enjoy reading literature about mysterious cults that worship mythological or supernatural beings. However, after Luke was welcomed into the group and he left to start his first mission, my excitement died down and the brotherhood wasn’t really touched on again as much as I would have liked. In my opinion, Warburton missed out on an opportunity for more elaboration.

I love period novels, and found that Warburton’s writing style fits the setting perfectly. It is so well projected and informed that one can really tell she did her research. For example, when Rose visits her fiance’s match factory, the building is described so well, extremely realistic and haunting. The same goes for when the characters traverse through the darker streets of London and meet its residents. I really pictured these scenes in detail. The poetic description continues throughout the entire novel giving the clothing, the people, and their dilemmas a theatrical aspect all the way to the end.

The ending is very exciting, however, the action halts rather abruptly and I thought that it stopped a bit short. I got the impression that Warburton was trying to leave a cliffhanger, although I wasn’t clear about what was to be resolved in the next novel. I would have preferred it if the ending wrapped up all the little loose ends rather than leaving them for the sequel to resolve. However, the book has a fitting plot twist that I slightly suspected would happen and I was happy that it did. In spite of this, I would have liked it better if Rosa had witnessed the twist along with, or instead of, Luke. In my opinion, Rosa is just as much as involved in the newly altered story as he is, and so, I would have liked to have read a little more action from her throughout the overall climax. It seems like Luke accomplishes all the heroic achievements while Rosa is restricted to a locked room. Nevertheless, the story has a good ending that I enjoyed and found exciting.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. The setting and description is very captivating and the characters have wonderful personalities that are instantly easy to care about. The only things that I would say could have been improved are the storyline and the level of excitement of events throughout. With an interesting topic such as witches and witch hunters, maybe a little more mythology would have helped make it more complex and exciting. Perhaps this will be improved in the sequel, which I will most definitely read.

I give Witch Finder, by Ruth Warburton 4 out of 5 stars.

Expected Publication: January 2nd, 2014 from Hodder Children's Books.

Is Witch Finder on your to-read list?  

Come back on Saturday, I'll be posting this weeks edition of "Stacking the Shelves"!

Stay nerdy,


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