Thanks to partners NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the digital ARC of Sara Raasch and Beth Revis's Night of the Witch. The book will be published on October 3!
I absolutely loved Sara Raasch and Beth Revis's Night of the Witch, which uses a historical foundation to delve into the world of witches, witch hunts, and hexenjägers (hunters).
The book opens in fourteenth century Germany with the decimation of Fritzi’s village as her mother, friends, and family are killed or imprisoned. Fritzi herself escapes after her mother hides her—against her will—in the basement, as Fritzi listens to the sounds of destruction and terror. When she realizes that her young cousin has been taken by Dieter Kirch, the head hunter, she vows to get her back, following the pack of hunters to the city that is their headquarters.
Alternating chapters tell the story of Otto, a hunter who is Dieter’s second in command. Otto’s father was one of the earliest hunters, and his heritage has led him to the heights of the fervor. The hunters are plotting a spectacle, the burning of 100 witches, and Otto takes a small group out to arrest his sister, Hilde, to make her a part of the group. That’s where he meets Fritzi, who hears the ruckus and steps in to save Hilde.
The writing and characterization here are gorgeous, and both Fritzi and Otto are nuanced figures who wrestle with their own responsibility in the face of their society’s manic attacks on anyone who lies outside the narrow path available to its citizens. Raasch and Revis raise questions about women’s power, about obligations to one’s community and the greater good, about the role of religion in morality. This is the first book in a series that I’ll definitely be continuing.
I'm Jen Moyers, co-host of the Unabridged Podcast and an English teacher.