Monday, 28 October 2013

Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield: Review

13721337Author: Amy Butler Greenfield
Pages: 324 pages
Release Date: May 7th, 2013
Status: book 1 of the Chantress series

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Lucy, shipwrecked on an island at 7, is forbidden to sing by guardian Norrie. On All Hallows Eve 1667, at 15, she sings, and is swept into darkness. She wakes to hear powerful men hunt Chantresses who sing magic into the world. At the Invisible College she finds sanctuary, plots to overthrow the evil Lord Protector, and distrustful scientist-apprentice Nat. Only a Chantress can overcome the Protector, and Lucy is the last in England.

I put this book on hold back in September and got it early October from the library. It sat on my shelf for a little while (I really hate homework), but when I read this book, I literally finished it in a few hours!

Chantress is about 15 year old Lucy Marlowe, a girl who has been stranded on an island for years with her guardian Norrie. She ended up on the island after a shipwrek, her mother is dead and she is forbidden to sing.

On All Hallow's Eve (FYI, that's what they called Halloween back in the ye olden days), Lucy hears music. Unable to find answers from Norrie, she searches her house and discovers a letter that her mother wrote to her long ago. It tells her her mother 'sang' her away, and that she will find her way home if she takes off the stone she gave her.

I'm pretty sure you guys can guess what happens next: Lucy takes off the stone and ends up back in England. What I didn't expect was for her to end up in the library of the evil Lord Protector himself (did I mention he was also in the room?).

Lucy finds refuge with the Invisible College, a group of men who plot to destroy the Lord Protector and his evil Shadowgrims (birds that were enchanted to take your memory away and burn you into ashes). However, even with the Invisible College on her side, the mysterious Nat is hostile towards him. And when her godmother comes back to train her, things get more complicated as she is an Elizabethan (not even sure it this book is set in that era, but you know...) feminist.

I really liked this book! When I first read the synopsis, I already knew I was going to enjoy it! Unlike most historical fantasy books, Chantress really charms you within the first couple pages! It's mysterious, it's dark, it's edgy, and of course, it's addictive!

I didn't reallly get much romance in this book which I would normally be upset about, but Amy is able to make the relationship between Nat and Lucy alive and real, and not overly dramatic and focused on like in some books. It was a good romance, and it fit well with the story- it was important, but not the point. It was there, but it didn't take away from Lucy's character and the overall story.

This book was very plot-based and focused on Lucy discovering her Chantress abilities and defeating the Lord Protector and his Shadowgrims. Lucy has character development in the story as well, but other than her, everything was just background noise to me. Nat comes a long way from the beginning as well, but from the second last chapter and the last chapter there is a three month time jump, so we don't really see much of his development in that time frame.

Other characters like Penebrygg and Sir Barnaby were nicely written, but the book didn't focus on them. And Scargrave (aka Lord Protector) was the villian, but he wasn't really in the book much- t really did focus on Lucy's training. Through the Shadowgrims, Amy was able to keep the fear of both them and Scargrave alive, and I really like that.

What I loved the most about the book is the interaction between the characters. Lucy's godmother was not my favourite, but whenever she said something to the guys of the Invisible College, I couldn't help but cheer a little- she's a feminist in the 1600's, so how can you not? One of my parts of the book was when Penebrygg was explaning the Invisble College to Lucy:

"For all intents and purposes, Sir Barnaby joked, we were members of the Invisible College. " He added, "I think he took pleasure in the abbreviation, too."

I did not quite follow him.

"IC," Penebrygg said, pointing to his eyes. "I see."

"Sir Barnaby loves puns," Nat said drily.

-Chantress, page 90


I don't know why, but that part made me laugh. It was one of my favourite parts (other than Nat training Lucy). This book was REALLY good, I seriously CAN NOT wait for the sequel, Chantress Alchemy!
I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars! Happy Monday guys!

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