Friday, 31 July 2015

Witch in the Woods

Witch in the Woods

by T.A. Bunker

5 out of 5

When twenty year old, professional witch hunter, Victor Steep is summoned to handle a case; he travels to the town of Beth's Hollow to find residing in the vast woods surrounding the town, a witch with a deadly obsession.

In the woods, Victor meets a mysterious and beautiful young lady named Clearly, and her kind, but cursed brother Fabian. Promising Clearly that he will look for a cure for her brother, Victor soon questions if he can keep that promise, for killing the malicious witch he was hired to hunt, became more complicated than expected. In Order to defeat the witch, Victor now must find a book that has been missing for nearly twenty years, or risk the fate of Clearly, Fabian, and the entire town of Beth's Hollow. Not to mention, if he should fail, losing the possession of his very own skull to the witch’s disturbing collection.

The year is 1601 and Victor Steep is a professional witch-hunter amidst the witch craze era.  But he hunts the real dangers.  And one such danger takes him to Beth's Hollow, where a witch in the woods has been terrifying the residents for generations.

This book has been on my reading list for ages, ever since it was featured on Keeley's Days of Indie last Christmas. (Quick link to all the videos)
I did delay a bit, because I was worried that a) I might find it too similar to my work; or b) it would disappoint.
And then I made the mistake of watching the film Into The Woods, and that just plain scarred me from anything Witch and Wood related for months!
Anyway, back on track - a) this book is an amazing and original story; b) see point a.

This is set in the beginning of the 17th Century, when the witch craze affects Europe, and millions of innocent people die because of the ignorance and greed of their fellow man.  This is touched upon in the book, acknowledging that this is happening; but Witch in the Woods focusses on Victor's story.
Victor hunts real witches.  Because they exist, they are evil creatures that torment nearby towns and tear families apart.  And they are not easy to kill.
Victor's deceased father also hunted witches, and despite a somewhat distant relationship between the two, Victor learnt everything from him.  Which includes inheriting his beliefs that all witches (and their demons) are evil and must be killed.

But everything is not as black and white as it seems, when Victor meets Clearly and her brother Fabian.

The story has an modest feel, and you can believe it's set in 1601.  There is drama, and intrigue, the tension suitably builds to the final fight.

The characters are all strong.
Victor gets to discover more about his mother, who died when he was born.  And he also gets to completely relearn everything he thought he knew about his father.  With the letters, diary entries and memories, his father is a very tangible character.
Then of course you have the bad guy - a 400 year old with with an obsession for collecting skulls?  I loved her.  She was definitely my favourite character, the way she was playing with Victor, haunting his thoughts.

So overall, a story I was completely swept along by, and a series I can't wait to continue!

Goodreads link

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