Monday, 31 October 2011

Review Exclusive: A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

 As it's Halloween, I thought I'd post something nicely relevant, and also something a bit special. I was saving this review for closer to the release date, but I love the book so much I really want to share it!

A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
Released: 5th January 2012
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads description:

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

Although a perfect fit for the paranormal romance genre, A WITCH IN WINTER avoids fangs, excessive body hair and submissive female leads, and tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart. Seth is utterly irresistible and Anna is an empowered, proactive young woman with unimaginable magic inside her. This is fast-paced, sensuous writing with believable incantations inspired by Warburton's research into witchcraft legend and old English.

My thoughts:
A Witch in Winter tells the story of Anna, a girl who moves away from her beloved London to a town on the South coast, and into a creeptastic old house. I absolutely adored the setting for this book, I love YA books set in the UK (especially ones written by UK authors), and the small town location really added to the atmosphere of the story. I love how relevant the sea became to the plot, and just how scary it could be, how such a beautiful and natural element could be utilised in such a way. 

Anna was a great character, she was a real teenage girl. Her reactions to the events were pretty much how I imagine I'd react, which made it easy to love and relate to her. I adored how the whole witchcraft thing came about, her and her friends trying out a spell for the fun of it (and because they were slightly inebriated, what doesn't seem like a good idea when you're in that state?). I was obsessed with magic when I was younger and I can see it being something I would've done, albeit not with the same results. I loved how Ruth didn't shy away from teenage drinking, or things that young people genuinely do, which again added a much more realistic element to her characters. None of the secondary characters fell flat for me, not even the ones introduced at the late stages. They all had their parts to play, and their roles were clearly defined within the plot.

The love story was so fantastically different, I loved the idea of it and it was so well executed. I loved the ambiguity of not knowing exactly what was going on. Despite that, I wasn't a massive fan of Seth, but then he wasn't the sort of love interest I take to, seeing as he was a decent guy, but I can see many other readers adoring him. 

The ultimate battle was amazing, the enemy was one that I actually found quite scary, and the solution was neither easy nor lazy. The actions of the characters did have consequences, for everyone involved and for the people caught in the crossfire.I liked being able to see these consequences, rather than the story glossing over them which happens so often. The  witchcraft was very clever and well rooted in genuine old English. It's clear a lot of research went  into creating this aspect of the plot which is something I always appreciate.

The writing was fantastic, pacy and full of humour and suspense, it wasn't superior to the plot and complemented the tone of the book perfectly. This is an excellent example of paranormal YA. It has everything you'd expect from this type of novel, but it avoids the cliches and predictability that so often mar such a story for me. I think the cover is absolutely spectacular and I cannot wait to see the finished article!

This book is part of a trilogy, and it's a series, and an author, to watch.


  1. Oooh, I love the sound of this one. Will definitely be checking it out!

  2. I am so ridiculously jealous that you have read this!!! This is one of my most highly anticipated 2012 reads and your review has made me ten times more excited to read it now.

    I love that it avoids cliches and the love story is clearly unique, I'm so curious to see how it plays out. The amazing battle you speak of and the realistic consequences... gahhh, itching to read this! Fantastic review :)

  3. Ooh, this one sounds great! I'll definitely be checking it out. Great review!

  4. I really can't wait for this book to come out, thanks for stopping by.

  5. I love reading books that have a touch of humor in them! Will add to my TBR! Thanks for visiting :D

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  6. WOWIE ZOWIE, this book sounds so cool! It sounds so intense and funny at the same time, and I'm so glad it avoids cliches! I'm definitely adding this one to my TBR list! :)

    Amazing review, Cait!

  7. "...but then he wasn't the sort of love interest I take to, seeing as he was a decent guy...". LOL. This made me laugh. I think I'm gonna agree with you here, we both seem to like the bad to moderately evil guys :P. So jealous you got to read this though! It sounds so good - Anna seems like such a great MC, and I love that it's set in the UK too! Great review, can't wait to read this one!

  8. Wow- great review. I love the sound of this, this is definitely my sort of book, and I can't believe I'd never heard of it before!


Thanks to blogger making it easy for us to reply to comments I will now be replying where possible, so if you comment be sure to check back! =]