Leave it to VE Schwab to come up with a strong female protagonist. Lexi Harris is adventurous, and, in skill and attitude, she takes after her father. I like her spirit, but, as a young person, she doesn’t seem to think of the consequences of her actions. Then again, we wouldn’t have this story if she actually thought things through…
The story is set in a small village, and I like the small-town dynamic. There’s a council of elders with an interesting origin story and a set of folk songs passed on from generation to generation—these are the little things make small towns unique, even if they share general characteristics. Knowing this, of course, something dark lurks nearby. We can’t live somewhere perfect, after all.
So yes, there’s a dark side to the story. And no—it’s not in the form of the mysterious male stranger that arrives in town. It’s more of an eerie type of darkness, one that reminded me of Coraline. I admit that I am quite easy to scare, which is why I avoid horror movies like the plague. But it was only at one point in the book anyway. (I was reading late at night and finally got creeped out, so put the book down and went to sleep instead. I finished the rest of the book in the morning—you know, while the sun was up.)
But my favorite part about The Near Witch is the magic. I loved that the magic is rooted in nature and that there was no need for wands, spells, or incantations. Verdict: I’m all about a nice community story. Yay, yay, I say read this book when you can!