London. 1880. In the slums of Spitalfields apprentice blacksmith Luke is facing initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum, the fearsome brotherhood dedicated to hunting and killing witches.
Luke’s final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself. Luke knows that tonight will change his life forever. But when he picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, Luke has no idea that his task will be harder than he could ever imagine.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange of an honest review.
Pretty, pretty cover. Interesting synopsis. I liked the figures in the beginning of each chapter too (the bird, the locket, etc).
The idea behind the books was good. A secret brotherhood, Luke's power...it all drew my attention. Also, the beginning was quite great with the ritual of knife, fire and hammer.
The characters weren't greatly detailed, they didn't have much of a personality and Rosa was pretty flat, to be honest. But I liked Luke, he was ok. The most frustrating thing about this was Rosa's inaction - she was a witch who barely used her powers and let everyone abuse her.
Sebastian is a truly evil character. You couldn't like him even if you wanted; but why would you, anyway? He's controlling, possessive, abusive...There's also the mystery about his little sister and his mad mother. I would like to know more about them and I'm hoping the next book will give me some answers.
Minna was interesting and I'm also hoping to see her again. Her friendship with Luke was cute and I'm glad they didn't become a love triangle as I feared at first.
This story has a lot of animal abuse, some of it done by Sebastian and those were the most shocking parts of the book. It also deals with forced marriages and the pressure that young girls at that time suffered. Rosa supposedly has to marry in order to save her family from poverty and her father's house, which is full of memories of him.
I understand she felt bad about letting Matchenham be sold out, since it had so much meaning to her but was it really so imperative that she married to save it? Sometimes, the characters reasons didn't felt strong enough to justify their actions.
The love between Rose and Luke was too sudden. They barely knew each other and just because she was all so pretty, he didn't feel capable of killing her and considered dying himself to save her.
It was predictable and had a lot of cliches. The boy was hot and had hazel eyes (hazel eyes are becoming almost a necessity in all YA books), the girl was a damsel in distress who did nothing to save her own skin and was too weak to be consider a good protagonist. I don't mean she had to kick ass in order to be awesome or anything, but she was merely a puppet throughout the story and I still don't know anything about her - apart from her love for animals.
This sounds like I didn't like the book at all but I did, I really did! I'm just advising any future reader not to wait for lots of action and totally fleshed out characters, because you won't find them. But, it's an amusing story. I enjoyed myself reading it and, hey, cliches exist for a reason, right? They work sometimes.
This is a light reading for sure, but I felt the need of keep reading it. I liked the story, the century in which it takes place and the concept of a witch finder who can read the witches auras, as the magic floats around them. As I said before, Luke is a good character and even if it's a slow paced story, it's still a compelling romance (it's way more about romance than paranormal).
So, I'm sorry, I can't really tell you why but I liked it. It was beautifully written, it made me want to read many chapters at once and it didn't bored me at all. I know most people don't recommend it but I do.
4 out of 5 stars