Author: Amy Butler Greenfield
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magic, Dystopia
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Source: Publisher-provided ARC via Edelweiss for the blog tour
Summary: Lucy’s Chantress magic will make her the most powerful—and most hunted—girl in England.
“Sing, and the darkness will find you.” This warning has haunted fifteen-year-old Lucy ever since she was eight and shipwrecked on a lonely island. Lucy’s guardian, Norrie, has lots of rules, but the most important is that Lucy must never sing. Not ever. Now it is 1667, Lucy is fifteen, and on All Hallows’ Eve, Lucy hears a tantalizing melody on the wind. She can’t help but sing—and she is swept into darkness.
When she awakes in England, Lucy hears powerful men discussing Chantresses—women who can sing magic into the world. They are hunting her, but she escapes and finds sanctuary with the Invisible College, an organization plotting to overthrow the nefarious Lord Protector. The only person powerful enough to bring about his downfall is a Chantress. And Lucy is the last one in England.
Lucy struggles to master the song-spells and harness her power, but the Lord Protector is moving quickly. And her feelings for Nat, an Invisible College apprentice and scientist who deeply distrusts her magic, only add to her confusion…
Time is running out, and the fate of England hangs in the balance in this entrancing novel that is atmospheric and lyrical, dangerous and romantic.
☆: 3/5 stars – The way Chantress uses music is spellbinding (once again, apologies for the pun), but overall, it’s a rather bland novel.
Music is a powerful force and the more I see it integrated into fantasy novels, the better–provided they all use it in unique ways and not the same way every time. The way Chantress brings it into the novel and gives it life is just want I wanted from it, but it’s a swing and a miss for the most part: spot-on in some ways, missing how great it could be in others.
The London Greenfield builds is a fascinating one. After the Great Devastation put a child on the throne, his Lord Protector used the magic of a naive Chantress to instill a tyranny using the mind-reading, terror-inflicting Shadowgrims. These former ravens give readers chills just as easily as they give the characters chills! The slow-burn romance going on between Nat and Lucy is also one of my favorites recently. It takes most of the novel for them to start getting along and be able to connect. When they do, it feels real. That’s how it should be done!
Lucy is a perfectly sweet girl and it’s easy to get caught up in her struggles. Then again, it’s easy to get irritated at her too; half her dialogue is questions. I remark on it only because she asks THAT many questions and it’s impossible not to notice. It also causes a little conflicting characterization when another character says she doesn’t miss much. That might be true if she made more inferences from what information people gave her, but she doesn’t. She just asks question after question about all the information that is dumped on her. Lucy is a complete stranger to all this magic and explaining it to her will require a little infodumping, but spacing it out some would have helped. At times, it’s easy to get buried under it.
The writing is generally lovely brings this version of London to life, but there’s one instance that needs to be noted. The “I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding” line is a pet peeve for one of my friends and I agree, it’s ridiculous. The same line is in this book, but here’s the thing: it appears after Lucy has undergone rigorous training to make her aware of how to breath very precisely in order to make her magic more powerful. For her to be then be unaware of her own breathing is too odd to ignore.
Chantress is a competent novel and a great start for this trilogy, but it may not be enough to encourage me to keep reading. Maybe I’ll be able to make a decision whether or not to read on once more information about the next book comes out.
And now for the giveaway!
Follow the link below and you can enter for a chance to win a hardcover of Chantress. Sadly, it’s a US-only giveaway, but to all our US readers who think this will be their book, good luck!