Title: Chantress (Chantress Trilogy #1)
Author: Amy Butler Greenfield
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal,
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: May 7th 2013
Goodreads 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 tantalising 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.
I was immediately interested in Chantress because of it’s beautiful cover but the story does not disappoint either. Chantress is about Lucy, who lives on a deserted island with her guardian Norrie. Singing is strictly prohibited so when Lucy hears the faint sound of a song on All Hallows Eve she is terribly curious. Unable to control herself, Lucy gives herself over to the song and starts to sing aloud causing devastating consequences.
It turns out that Lucy is actually a Chantress and has the power to weave magic with her voice. As soon as she starts singing, Norrie and herself are transported off the island, back to London, Lucy’s birthplace. This should be a good thing, but London is ridden with Shadowgrims, magic crows that have the power read all your thoughts and instill fear if you get too close. Shadowgrims are a particular threat to Chantresses as they are drawn to their magic and can feed off it.
When Lucy arrives in London she finds that she has been separated from Norrie and has absolutely no idea where to go or who to turn to. She sort of accidentally ends up at the residence of Nat and his guardian who are part of an organisation called the Invisible College (IC).
The IC is trying to fight against the Lord Protector’s regime and rid the world of Shadowgrims for good, but the only way they can do this is with a Chantress’ magic. Lucky for them, Lucy is a Chantress, and probably the last of her kind; unlucky for them, Lucy has no idea how to use her powers. The IC and Lucy have to work together quickly to free London from the Lord Protector’s tyranny but there are many obstacles in their way.
Chantress is written from the first person perspective which gives us an interesting insight into Lucy’s mind. In a story where not a lot of the characters trust each other, this was most helpful for sussing out what’s going on. What’s more, Lucy isn’t a predictable character so being in her mind keeps things interesting and quickens the pace.
On the other hand, I don’t really think that many of the other characters were developed as fully as they could have been. Many of them are in the story for very, very short snippets and add little to the overall plot.
I have to admit I didn’t really understand Nat and Lucy’s relationship. It wasn’t exactly instalove, but I still didn’t feel that it was developed as well as it could’ve been. Nat hates Lucy at the beginning of the story and, in my opinion, there isn’t any sort of real indication that this changes. I think this was mainly because we, as a reader, don’t see them spend that much time together, nevertheless, it was still rather cute.
Although Amy Butler has crafted an intricate world, I didn’t feel that a lot of things actually happened in this novel. There’s a lot of description and back story but there isn’t much action until the very end of the story and even then it is very brief. Given that this is just the first book in a trilogy, I’m hoping that in the subsequent two novels a lot more things will happen as now the background to the story has been set up.
All in all, I’d highly recommend Chantress as it presents a beautifully intricate and interesting world. It is set in 17th century London and a lot of the facts are historically accurate and these subtle details make all the difference. Chantress was a really good novel for setting up the story and the background to the character’s plight, but I’m looking forward to the next two books for a bit more action.
Buy Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield:
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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.
Official links: www.amybutlergreenfield.com
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