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Mandafofanda Reads Lots

The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no?

And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?
Doesn't that make life a story?

- Yann Martel, Life of Pi

The Near Witch - Victoria Schwab Really disappointing, because it started out well. Schwab builds up an atmosphere of a town with no visitors surrounded by the moors, and an old fable about a witch. It's deliciously creepy. However... that's kind of the only thing it had going for it.

The story quickly grew boring and ended up utterly predictable. The title gives away the fact that it is the Near Witch that is taking the children, though no one in the town except for Lexie and the untrusted local witch sisters will believe that it isn't the new "stranger". Everyone in the story flat and one-dimensional and is either on the GOOD SIDE or the BAD SIDE or by the end, they realize that they should switch to the GOOD SIDE. The romance was underwhelming, and I didn't really see any chemistry. Lexie and Cole basically get together because... well, who else were there? Apparently there's only three teenagers in this town. I kept reading because I wanted there to be an awesome twist (like one of the main or secondary characters actually being the Near Witch! Cole is a manipulative bastard!) or just something... unexpected and exciting. Unfortunately, that never happened. Another thing that took away from the reading experience was the utter lack of humour. There are no jokes, no witty comments or observations, no banter - really, nothing to distract from the flatness of the story.

So, interesting idea, poor execution.