Witch Finder (Witch Finder #1) by Ruth Warburton

Received from NetGalley for review. 

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 was only a child when he witnessed The Black Witch murder his family, and since then he has always planned to join the Malleus, so that he could eventually find and kill the witch who stole his family from him. He does not expect to pick out Rosa Greenwood as his initiation kill, a young girl of sixteen, and his life changes in unexpected ways when he sets out to murder her and realises that not all witches are what he has always been taught to believe.

I was immediately intrigued by Luke and Rosa when I started reading Witch Finder, and I liked the narrative being split between their perspectives. The novel starts strongly, immediately throwing you into Luke’s initiation to the Malleus and keeps a whirlwind pace throughout. Although there is a certain predictability to the plot, there are enough twists to keep a reader interested and Warburton’s writing is incredible – I was thoroughly transported to 19th century London as I read this – her descriptions are rich and sumptuous and engage all the senses in the best way.

I’m very impressed with the characters Warburton has created and developed, Luke and Rosa undergo amazing character development throughout and it wasn’t until the last fifty or so pages that I felt sure how their relationship was really going to unfold and I found myself caring about them a great deal. Rosa’s mother, Alexis and Sebastian were all wonderfully evil and rage inducing, and even the more minor characters like Cassie and Minna were well crafted, and I hope that they are expanded on more in the series; there was not a single character that had me wondering what their purpose was or why they were present. There was romance in this novel, but it was very subtle and didn’t take over the story at all and the love triangle, if you can even call it that, was definitely no typical love triangle that crops up so often in young adult fiction.

I really enjoyed reading Witch Finder, it’s a fantastic start to a series and I look forward to reading the next book when it’s released.

Read: November 17th-23rd 2013

4/5 stars

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