Author: Ruth Warburton.
Publication date: January 2nd 2014 by Hodder Children's Books.
Sort: Part one of ‘Witch finder’
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
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.
"He would go back and he would kill the witch. Because there was no way out of this, save one: death. Hers.. or his."
This is another example of a good promise gone wrong. This book had everything: it promises witches and magic! And look at the pretty cover! Well, you are wrong. I am disappointed and frankly, deceived by the blurb.
The first thing where everything goes wrong is the fact that I couldn’t connect with the characters. On one side we have Luke, who is facing his final test before he can enter the Malleus Maleficorum brotherhood. He wants to take revenge on the witch who killed his mother and father. His task is to kill Rosa Greenwood, the girl he picked from the Book of Witches. Rosa is terrorized by her family. Her brother is an asshole, her mother is a greedy bitch and her ‘love-interest’ is an even bigger ass. Sorry, but I had to get that out of my system. This didn’t make the book any more enjoyable. It has been a while since I've hated a character as much as I hated Sebastian. Warning: If you don't like animal cruelty, you better stay away. He beats a puppy to death without any reason.
Rosa is forced to marry Sebastian, because they are in need of money and he comes from a rich family. The fact that Rosa endures everything without complaining or using her magic shows that she has no backbone at all. I just couldn’t feel sorry for her and I wanted her to be brave and stand-up for herself. Instead, she backs away to revel in self pity. There are countless of times I wished that Luke just stabbed her, but of course he starts to doubt his motives. When Rosa finally is in a state of dying, he rescues her and seals his fate.
Another thing is the lack of chemistry. These characters have nothing in common and there is zero spark between them. They could have been brother and sister for all that matters. The whole romance slams into your face with only one purpose: to have romance. I kept asking myself: WHERE IS THE MAGIC? WHERE ARE THE WITCHES? And all I got was a mess with a predictable plot. I’m happy that the ending is fairly conclusive, because now I don’t have to read the sequel.