REVIEW: Witch Finder (Witch Finder #1) by Ruth Warburton

Title: Witch Finder
Author: Ruth Warburton
Series: Witch Finder #1
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Date of Release: January 2nd 2013
Pages: 374
Source: *Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest 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’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.
An engaging and magical story, however a common direction of character's decisions. The cover is gorgeous, highlighting the ethereal and magical aspects in this story; an image of Rosa is also captured in the cover with her bright red hair and her pale skin. The border of the cover additionally gives little hints of events in the book, such as the ring and dagger, all playing a significant role.

Luke has been put to: the trial of fire, sword and hammer to determine as to whether he has the strength and determination to become a Witch Finder in the secret brotherhood of Witch Finders. They believe witches are vile creatures that must be killed and wiped out. The trial of Hammer however determines who your first witch to kill must be... what happens when this is sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood who is more powerful than she may first appear. But Rosa has her own problems.

We are told the same storyline from two perspectives: Luke's and Rosa's.
  • Luke is a strong and determined character.  On the outside he appears to have no fear and possesses an air of independence and security. However, you find on the inside he is those things but is also on occasion driven strongly by his emotions.
  • Rosa on the outside comes across as an innocent girl who has now choice in anything, answering to her brother only. But in comparison, on the inside she comes across as kind, caring and determined to make her own choices and not be driven by the expectations of others. She additionally comes across not believing in her true power and it it pleasant to see her powering through, making her own choices and using her strength in power to her true advantage. However, I desperately wanted her to become more insistent and show her true power much earlier on in the story to make her a stronger character.

This story showed the importance of strength and perseverance, plus the need for your own independence of making your own choices in life. Furthermore this story portrays how you must face your fears to achieve your dreams and your own goals. With this story being set in 1880, it was interesting to see an interpretation of how one would go about hunting witches in a different world that is watched closely upon.

What I did not enjoy about this story was the characters were highly stereotyped. The girl was pretty, vulnerable and loving towards most and the boy was handsome, strong and determined. However, you could easily see where the plot was heading, meaning I was disappointed to find no pronounced twists in the story.

However, if you love historical fiction mixed with danger and magic this story is definitely for you. It is engaging and keeps you reading, its just the plot goes in a direction that is expected.

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