The Witch Hunter

The Witch Hunter - Virginia Boecker

(I was given a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

Somewhat OK, but too full of holes (in terms of world-building) and too flat when it came to the characters. I had a hard time reconciling the setting to a parallel Tudor England (minus the Tudors), as some elements were similar, but others were too confusing to make much sense—including language, too modern at times. For instance, no witch hunter seemed to ever question the origin of their stigmas, how they came to be, when it was actually a pretty obvious question to ask (especially in a world that wasn't heavy on religion, so "it comes from God" wouldn't have made a satisfying answer).

Elizabeth in general was of the too stupid to live variety. Supposedly strong, supposedly a well-trained prodigy witch hunter, but piling up mistake upon mistake, for a reason that felt a little too weak to be believable (the way she mentioned it, it didn't seem like she was going through hell, more that it was an inconvenience to her). The reason why she was caught was stupid, a mix of bad decisions (getting drunk because her friend who may or may not be her love interest was seeing someone else) and other bad decisions (what on Earth was she doing with those herbs in her pocket.

The romance I'll put in the "inserted here for marketing reasons" category. Bland, not useful—becoming friends would have been enough—, a vague triangle that wasn't really one because it was fairly predictable, and

Also, probably a minor quibble on my part, but this just happened to irk me: "Then I get an idea." I counted at least four occurrences of it, all as one sentence that was a paragraph of its own, and it just struck me as repetitive and annoying.

There were interesting ideas and themes in the novel, and hooks that could've been so much more, when it came to politics and hypocrisy—laws defied by the ones making them, plotting in the shadows... However, I wouldn't put this on a Game of Thrones level as the blurb claims it is, and it was too muddled overall to make for a terrific plot. Some fantasy books take too long and are too slow-paced to carry their plots properly; here, it would've been a good thing, as it would've given more meat to the story, and more room for the world-building to unfold.

1.5 stars, close to "it's OK", only I realise that I'm already not caring about it anymore barely half an hour after having finished it. I admit I just got to the end so that I could write my review and switch to another book.