As an enthusiastic young reader (many years ago!) I don’t recall many books being available specifically for teenagers. I very soon moved on to horror writers, such as Stephen King, as there wasn’t much else available, and I know that many other young readers in my age group did the same thing.
As a thirty-something adult, I am now very much enjoying reading many of the ‘young adult’ books which are around now, although I am avoiding the vast array of YA vampire tales! Most of these books are written in such a way that they appeal to teenagers, whilst still offering enough for older readers to enjoy them too, and this is certainly no exception.
The reason I mentioned reading horror as a young person is that the genre seems to appeal to teenage readers, and Hussey’s Witchfinder includes some dark scenes which take this up a level from other YA fantasy, and adds an extra interest. It’s probably not suitable for younger readers, and it’s darker tone is set right from the beginning, so older teens can judge straight away if it’s for them.
The main character, Jake, is introduced as a normal teenage boy, who has a passion for horror, and comics in particular. However, he is soon thrust straight into real world horror, as he discovers witches with their demon familiars, and is faced with abduction and death.
What appears to be a a tale of good versus evil soon develops into more, as Hussey explores whether those who believe they are fighting for good have actually become as bad as those they fight. It also gives us themes of friendship, loyalty and redemption.
As an interesting addition, there’s also mention of Matthew Hopkins, a witch hunter during the time of the English Civil War. It’s a link to history which may well spark some interest and further study.
This is an impressive first book of a trilogy. It’s a complete story in itself, which moves at a fast pace. The second in the trilogy is due to be published in January 2011, and the final instalment in September 2011. If the quality of writing is to continue in these two books, it’s going to feel like a long wait!