Monday, February 3, 2014

Becky's View: Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton

Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton

♦publisher: Hodder Children's
♦release date: January 2nd, 2014
♦paperback 374 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Witch Finder, book 1
♦source: from publisher for 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.

Review: Witch Finder is a beautifully rendered tale of witches and magic, honor, duty, and a love that will go against everything its main characters thought they knew.  It’s a bleak setting in Victorian London that takes us from the dingy streets and factories of the common folk to the posh houses of the rich and their lush countrysides. 

 Luke is a good young man, just beginning his life within the brotherhood of the Malleus Maleficorum, a secret society set on ridding the world of witches. He’s been raised to despise witches and even has his own personal reasons for hating them---he saw his entire family killed by a witch as a young boy. Furthermore, he hides a great secret that any witch would kill him for: he can see a witch’s powers like an aura around their body.  As his final initiation into the Malleus, he must kill his first witch, Rosa Greenwood, whose family is said to be especially dangerous. He must infiltrate their house disguised as a stable hand, and find a way to kill her before the end of the next full moon. 

The story was told in alternating view points between Luke and Rosa.  This style worked perfectly to convey each character’s preconceptions of the other and each of their own emotional dilemmas.  They will both eventually discover that neither the witching world nor the human world is what they thought.  Rosa’s family is struggling after her father’s death and she is hurting the most from the loss. Her brother is abusive and power-hungry and her mother is pretty useless. She was a strong character just to have survived them, but she’ll face her ugliest challenge yet when they force her into a courtship with the handsome but diabolical Knyvet. 

There is really nothing I can pinpoint aside from just good storytelling that made me absolutely love this story. I loved both main characters for their strengths, weaknesses, and loyalties; there are twists and surprises and horrors; there are moments of hopelessness that you just know will have to be overcome or you’ll be devastated for Luke and Rosa.  And, of course, there is the love story: conflicted and forbidden and born out of kindness in the last place that either of them expected to find it.    

Witch Finder has a full and satisfying story arc all on it’s own, but I’m glad to hear that there's more to come from this world and this author in Witch Hunt!

Find Ruth Warburton online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase a Witch in Love:  BookDepository  •   AmazonUK


  1. Ooh! I haven't heard of this, but I love the sound of it! I haven't been too keen on a lot of witch books recently, but this one sounds like an exception to that. :) Isn't a good story wonderful? Great review Becky! :)

  2. Awesome review. Ohh. That is a gorgeous cover! And I'm glad there is an awesome love story :) And I'm so happy that you loved this book. I will read more about it. <3 Thank you for sharing your awesome review :)

  3. First time I've heard of this book and I must day, that is one fantastic cover!!! Sounds like an awesome fantasy novel and I'm already liking the Luke. Great review. Adding it to my BR list.