Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
Published May 7th, 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss!
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.
This book has a cover to die for, I fell in love with it the instant that I saw it. I decided in that moment that I wanted to read this book. So when I got a copy of it from the publisher to read, I was ecstatic! Before I started this book, I put my hand on it gently and prayed that it wouldn’t disappoint me. I hate being disappointed by books that I want to read this badly. Let me just say this simply, I was not disappointed.
Lucy is an enchanting main character. She is smart but stubborn, sometimes to her own detriment. She had so much spunk to her that I couldn’t help but root for her. Granted, that she can be a bit naive and silly sometimes but she is just a girl after all. I am too often disappointed by the heroines in YA novels so Lucy was a delight to read. Even though the plot took a good long time to get going it was Lucy’s narrative that kept me glued to the pages anyway. I felt bad for her, I smiled at her, I laughed with her, I sat in horror for her, and I rooted for her. It’s been a long time since I liked a YA heroine as much as I liked Lucy.
The plot of this book was unique and interesting. I have read books with all kinds of magic but summoning magic solely through song was a concept that I haven’t seen before. I liked the idea, and I liked it even more once we figure out all the nuances and perils that it entails. My only wish for the plot was that it had been fleshed out a little more. We hardly get any history about Chantresses or the world at all, very cursory at best. I found the world fascinating so it frustrated me that I didn’t learn that much about it. For example, the Shadowgrims were not described enough for me. After 300 odd pages I still can’t quite picture what they are supposed to look like in my head. They are terrifying no doubt, but they just weren’t described well enough for me. Maybe it was just me, but I thought that some parts of this needed more detail. It was also very slow going for most of the book. Even though I was still interested in what was going on, I wish that there had been a little more action sooner.
The payoff at the end of this book was very satisfying. Nothing is worse than loving a book all the way through only to feel ripped off once you get to the last page. The ending was exactly what I wanted to see, how I hoped it would end. In the end, Lucy saves the day and proves her power to herself and all that awesome stuff. But it also wasn’t easy, nobody got through it completely unscathed and that made the ending even more awesome. I hate endings where everything ends perfectly for everybody, it’s not realistic. I appreciated that every character in this book paid a price for the good they accomplished, it made the stakes real to me and I rooted for them all the harder.
There was actual romance in this book! I know! I could hardly believe it myself. Nat and Lucy spend months on an amicable but chilly basis and then slowly get to know the other and get to a more friendly space. They stay in that space and continue to get to know one another and face hard times together before they finally develop feelings for each other. I loved this little romance so much. It was genuine and honest and sweet. I knew exactly why Lucy was falling for Nat and exactly why Nat was falling for Lucy. They were both good, sweet, smart, brave, amazing people. They both deserve someone as kind and generous as each other and I was thrilled that their romance was so natural and not rushed.
I loved this book. My once complaints were about the pacing of the plot and the lack of descriptive detail. I will be reading the next book and I can’t wait to see where this story goes.