The trade reviews are starting to come in, and I’m happy to share this fantastic one from School Library Journal:
The Witch HunterBy Virginia BoeckerJune 2015/ Ages 15 & Up/ $18ISBN 978-0-316-32700-8Ebook ISBN 978-0-316-32718-3
In this fantasy adventure set in an alternative medieval England, witchcraft of any kind is illegal, even though magic practitioners were welcomed in the past. Employed by the Inquisitor, Lord Blackwell, 16-year-old Elizabeth, and her best friend, Caleb, hunt witches who will be burned at the stake. Elizabeth fully believes that all magic is evil and must be destroyed. But when Blackwell finds her with some herbs, Elizabeth is declared a witch herself and is sentenced to die. She is rescued by an unlikely ally, the notorious wizard Nicholas Perevil, who wants her to fulfill a prophecy to save him from a deadly curse. The teen is skeptical of the witches, pirates, healers, and other Reformists who accompany Perevil and is afraid of what will happen when they discover she is a witch hunter. However, she gradually becomes suspicious of Blackwell’s motives and must finally decide where her loyalties lie. Debut author Boecker’s first-person, present tense narrative creates a suspenseful mood by allowing readers to see Elizabeth’s secrets, doubts, and fears. Secondary characters are well realized and integral to the plot. The book has plenty of action—sword fights, battles with monsters, black magic, and betrayal—but there is also camaraderie and romance. The ending leaves room for a sequel. Fans of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling (Houghton Harcourt, 2008) will see similarities in this story of a girl with deadly skills who begins to question using her services to benefit a brutal ruler.
VERDICT: This action-packed tale will be a welcome addition to most YA fantasy collections.