Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker (#1 in the Witch Hunter series) (Orchard Books, 4 June 2015)
I went into WITCH HUNTER hoping I would find an awesome female character I could really root for and an exciting plot, but sadly, WITCH HUNTER was a mostly uninspiring read.
Elizabeth Grey is a witch hunter, dedicating her life to capturing those who use magic and making sure they get the punishment they deserve. When she's accused of being a witch herself, she's sent to prison and sentenced to burn at the stake. But she is rescued from prison by Nicholas Perevil, the most notorious and powerful wizard in Anglia. It turns out that Nicholas is weakening, cursed by an unknown wizard, and he asks Elizabeth's help in finding the person who cursed him and breaking the curse. As Elizabeth makes friends with the people she's always been told are her greatest enemies, she must reconsider everything she holds true.
I'm sad to say that I didn't particularly care about any of the characters. I found Elizabeth herself bland, and none of the characters really came to life for me at all. I was especially disappointed that Boecker didn't really explore Elizabeth's emotions about a certain thing that happened prior to the book – I thought it would have impacted Elizabeth a lot more emotionally and that Elizabeth would at least dwell on it occasionally, but Elizabeth barely even thinks about it. Maybe once in the whole book does Elizabeth think about it after it's first revealed. I thought that if more had been done with this, I would have been able to connect with Elizabeth a lot more.
Fifer, a witch that Elizabeth meets, and Schuyler, Fifer's revenant boyfriend, are probably the two most interesting characters as they have a little more spark to them and they are somewhat ambiguous. I would've liked to know more about them and their seemingly rather turbulent romance and Schuyler's backstory – I mean, he's a revenant! What's it really like for a human to date a revenant? But we really don't find out enough about revenants in general in this book. I also enjoyed reading about Fifer's initial antagonism towards and mistrust of Elizabeth and how the two slowly warm to each other over the course of the book.
The plot is mostly quite predictable, but it engaged me enough for me to keep reading. There was one really exciting fight scene; I would have loved more fight scenes! The climax of the book was quite intriguing as well because it revolves around not knowing whether something's real or not, and I always love that – when you're forced to question what you're reading and whether it's all just an illusion. I think in fact more could have been made of it.
The worldbuilding is a little lacking – like I said above, we don't find out enough about revenants, and one of the most interesting characters is a revenant! There are quite a few magical creatures mentioned offhandedly but I'd really like to have had a more detailed explanation of what the differences are between them and what's unique to these creatures in this world. The magic is just very run-of-the-mill as well; there's not a detailed magic system or anything.
Overall, WITCH HUNTER is just a bit too ordinary. There's nothing about it that really grabs me.