WITCH is Finbar Hawkins's debut novel, a supernatural YA revenge story about a pair of 17th century sisters who are orphaned when witchfinders hunt down and murder their mother before their eyes.
Evey, the eldest, is the least magical in the family and she harbors a terrible jealousy for her happy-go-lucky little sister Dill, to whom magic comes easily. But with her last breath, Evey's mother charges her to look after Dill, so they flee together through the woods.
Evey knows that she must avenge her mother, find the witchfinder and his men and the mysterious crone who abetted them and kill them, or the world will never balance for her again.
As they make their way to the distant, secret lair of her mother's sister's coven, they learn of the murderous swathe the witchfinders have slashed through the land, murdering the witches who helped they and their Parliament overthrow the old, corrupt King.
And Evey knows that she must leave Dill with their aunt and return to her mother's lands to kill these witchfinders, not just for her mother, but for all the women and girls with a witchy way.
So begins a vividly told, beautifully written, blood-soaked revenge tale, an inversion of the fairy-tale trope of the brave heroes hunting the wicked witches.
Evey is a marvellous, complex, flawed heroine, and the friends and enemies she makes on her revenge trail make spring off the page (the French publisher called it "Kill Bill meets Thomas Hardy.")
Hawkins is a master of raising and re-raisng the stakes, as every person who helps Evey is drawn into the revenge and also threatened by Evey's sworn enemies. The tale builds to a climax of incredible, cinematic imagery and finishes on a beautiful, sweet note.
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