The Witch Hunter

Virginia Boecker. Little, Brown, $18 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-32700-8
Boecker’s confident debut takes the familiar elements of many strains of YA fantasy—epic setting, alternate history, wizardry, paranormal enforcers—and stirs them into an explosive cocktail of high-stakes adventure. The island of Anglia is ruled by the gimlet-eyed Inquisitor, Lord Blackwell, and his captive young king. The two collude in the sexual exploitation of Elizabeth Grey, a youthful witch hunter for Blackwell’s inquisition, and this departure from romantic tropes is the first clear sign that Boecker is out to make the formulas her own. Elizabeth copes by taking a leaf from her prey’s spell books—contraceptive herbs, with which she is caught and for which she is sentenced to death. Her unlikely saviors are a hidden contingent of magical practitioners who have been ordered by their seer to enlist her help. None of the players know exactly what is going on or to what end, adding further uncommon realism to the sorcerous premise. The first-person, present-tense narration is rendered masterfully; coupled with the cinematic vividness of the descriptions, the whole makes for a page-turning delight. Ages 15–up. Agent: Kathleen Ortiz, New Leaf Literary & Media. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/20/2015
Release date: 06/02/2015
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-4083-3522-2
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-316-26053-4
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-316-32718-3
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-316-32719-0
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