Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: May 7, 2013
Source: Edelweiss* 336 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars
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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.
Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield had a very interesting and enthralling idea of singing, magic, power and history. Set in the fifteen century London, was a story about a young girl finding out the truth of her background, the power she wielded, and defeating a man who is feared by the whole city. With a beautiful cover and even more eloquent premise, Chantress will definitely charm you from the inside out.
You’re thinking another typical girl finding out her true identity type of story, right? Well, it was so much more than that. Fifteen year old Lucy was a curious young girl, questioning why she couldn’t sing and why she would be in danger if she did. She was naive from being away from the city and stuck on a remote island, but she was a quick learner, determined, and very hard-working. She meets people that help her, listens to their dismay, and she rises up to help in anyway she could despite her fear and her lack of experience as a Chantress. Lucy battles with a lot of inner turmoil from fear that she cannot perform her magic, to failing the people, and to succumbing to the Shadowgrims. She was a brave girl and very admirable.
The romance of the story is very little, but I believe it could have more potential in the next books to come. At first, I didn’t like Nat very much maybe because he was cold, harsh and unfriendly. However, I grew to like him towards the end, especially in his belief that Lucy was a strong Chantress despite his reservations about magic. I have big hopes for Lucy and Nat in the future. They are a great pair.
The best of this book was the writing. I was absolutely enchanted by Greenfield’s style and the voice she created for Lucy. Greenfield’s writing was clean and articulate and made me feel like I was living in this time period. I also really enjoyed the concept of this book. I’ve read a few books that deal with magic, but Chantress had a unique touch. I enjoyed learning about the singing magic and the history of the Chantresses. I found myself immersed and completely fascinated by the background story. Even though I was creeped out by the scary magic altered ravens, called Shadowgrims, the fear in which Greenfield wanted to invoke from those creatures was ever present. Those birds just made my skin crawl. And the way that Greenfield tied actual history, Chantress history along with her own additions and changes were well balanced and gave the perfect touch of realism I needed in this fantasy novel.
Although slow paced at some points, Chantress is not without intrigue, darkness, and adventure. Greenfield doesn’t disappoint and kept me engaged throughout the book. I most certainly cannot wait for the next installment.
Historical fantasy lovers can add this one to their to read list right about now!
*Thanks to Margaret K. McElderry Books for sending a copy for review
About the Author
Amy Butler Greenfield was a grad student in history when she gave into temptation and became a writer. Since then, she has become an award-winning author.
Born in Philadelphia, Amy grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and later studied history at Williams College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Oxford. She now lives with her family in England, where she writes, bakes double-dark-chocolate cake, and plots mischief.
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