Publishing house: Hodder Children's Books
Expected publication: January 2nd 2014
Review by Lady Entropy
Given by NetGalley as ARC
This book was actually pretty good. The characters had personality, their conflict\loss were engaging and heartwarming, and the story was well paced, even for at book that shifted between genres as it followed the two protagonists. I usually don't like dual genre books, but the "witch hunting" and the "trapped woman" actually meshed okay.
I liked the little details about the life of the time, they were informative but not overly jarring, nor did they interrupt the story.
If there was something I had to complain is that the magic felt just an extra afterthought. It was never relevant, never important, and it felt more tacked on to give a reason to the male protagonist to want to kill the female protagonist than actually being of import -- the way that Patricia Wrede works her magic into a similar alternate-reality society is what I usually hold as my "standard". Note how the female protagonist goes from being able to unweave her mother's doings without effort, to being totally helpless in the final scene. I can understand that she would steal the show too much otherwise, but it just... made me think the magic and its implications weren't too well thought of.
Again, that is a minor niggle. The book is well-written, has good plot and conflict, and endearing characters, even if not particularly original.
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.