Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Chantress

By Amy Butler Greenfield
Published: May 7, 2013

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.

My review:

Chantress is a historical fantasy which was part of the book's appeal for me. The author has a way of painting a scene with her words and I was drawn into the story right away. I also enjoyed the world-building and learning about Chantress magic.

I liked how determined Lucy was to succeed. It really is a struggle for her to learn magic and she has to practice all day. The book goes into great detail about her difficulties and her perseverance. Lucy is at a big disadvantage because she was never taught to use her Chantress magic. Now the Invisible College wants her to use those abilities to stop the Lord Protector and his evil creatures, the Shadowgrims. The magic birds are similar to the dementors in the Harry Potter books. They spread despair but they also eavesdrop, suck memories out of people and are used for interrogation. Unfortunately Lucy is particularly vulnerable to Shadowgrims and they cause her to collapse when they are near. All of this danger only makes it more important for Lucy to learn quickly. 

The romance element is not as big as the book's description suggests. Nat and Lucy do not get along at first and it takes some time for them to trust each other and then slowly it develops into an attraction. It isn't till the end of the book that they become a couple. I liked the progression of the relationship and that it didn't overshadow the more important threads of the story.

Overall I thought this was an entertaining read. The suspense kept my interest even though there were times when I grew impatient with the slow progress of Lucy's studies (she is kept hidden for a long period of time while she learns magic). The Shadowgrims and the threat they represent added a chilling menace to the story. I liked that this can be a self contained novel though it is the first in a trilogy. If you are a fan of historical fiction and fantasy and if you are looking for a book without romantic angst or cliffhanger endings, you might consider giving Chantress a try.

Note: I received an e-ARC for review purposes courtesy of Edelweiss and the publisher


  1. i love historical fiction and fantasy, so I think i may like this one! Thanks!

  2. I like hearing that the romance doesn't play that big of a role-it makes me even more eager to check out this book, whose cover I especially love.

  3. This sounds like a fun read, especially since it's a historical fantasy...which I love. I am not sure about the romance though. I definitely like some of that from time to time and you said it isn't a major part of the story in this novel. It's good to hear that there isn't a cliffhanger though...I am getting so sick of them! Maybe I will get this book out from the library. Great review, Christina!

  4. Love the idea of a combo historical fiction and fantasy. Reminds me of Guy Gavriel Kay, one of my favorites.

  5. This sounds really good. I love kinda like the idea that the love story is not as big a deal. I my self am getting tried of the love story taking over the books and all the story.
    Great review!!!


  6. Sounds like a good read. I was looking forward to this one before your review, but now knowing that the main character is strong, and the romance doesn't overshadow everything have made me even more excited! Thanks for the review :)

  7. i've seen this book around a lot around the blogosphere. good to know it's a good read.

    thank you for following our blog via bloglovin'. i'm following you back :)

    -michelle @ Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks

  8. I was pleasantly surprised by how slow the romance was - it's nice to read a book where the romantic aspect doesn't take over the entire story.

    Nice review! :)


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