Shipwrecked on an island seven years ago, Lucy has been warned she must never sing, or disaster will strike. But on All Hallows Eve, Lucy hears tantalizing music in the air. When she sings it, she unlocks a terrible secret: She is a Chantress, a spell-singer, brought to the island not by shipwreck but by a desperate enchantment gone wrong.
Her song lands her back in England — and in mortal peril, for the kingdom lies in the cruel grasp of a powerful Lord Protector and his mind-reading hunters, the Shadowgrims. The Protector has killed all Chantresses, for they alone can destroy the Shadowgrims. Only Lucy has survived.
In terrible danger, Lucy takes shelter with Nat, a spy who turns her heart upside-down. Nat has been working with his fellow scholars of the Invisible College to overthrow the Lord Protector, and they have long hoped to find a living Chantress to help them. But Lucy is completely untrained, and Nat deeply distrusts her magic. If Lucy cannot master the songspells, how long can she even stay alive?
Beguiling and lyrical, dangerous and romantic, Chantress will capture readers in a spell they won’t want to break.
eARC received from Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: 5-7-2013
Reveiwed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Amazing new idea, but needs more world building
I was so happy to be approved to read an early copy of Chantress! I’m always looking for something new in the ya paranormal genre, and women who wield magic through song is definitely something different. I’m a music lover—I love how a melody or a chorus can take hold of your heart and embed itself into your world. I love how it can flow around you melding your moods and your desires, and mostly, I love how it is music that can so thoroughly describe the nature of man. So, it only seems fitting that music could contain hidden power. I loved how Amy Butler Greenfield gave everything a song in her world, and how those songs could be used to wield unimaginable power.
This story starts off with a bang when Lucy unknowingly sings herself across the seas to London. She is immediately thrust into a dangerous and duplicitous world where everyone and everything can betray you. The intensity of Amy’s story held me tight, and I could feel the treachery flying on the wind. But it wasn’t just the tension and danger that made Amy’s world unique and beautiful; I loved that it was set in the late 1600s when the fear or witchcraft was already rampant. It felt fitting that this story was set so long ago instead of in modern times, and it really added to the fear that controlled the people in London in Amy’s world. I just wish there would have been more focus on the world building, as we truthfully didn’t get to see much of it.
For the most part the action was well placed, although somewhere in the middle the action did start to lull. When Lucy starts to practice the magic of a Chantress, she is locked up underground for months, and it was here that I began to want the plotline to move along. I felt like we saw too many of the basic lessons, when just a few paragraphs about her struggle would have sufficed. I wanted to see more happen outside, and we didn’t see any of this because the story is written in Lucy’s pov. I wish there would have been dual perspectives or something done so we could see through another’s eyes out into the word that is ravaged by the dangerous Shadowgrims (magical ravens who can read minds and destroy you from the inside out).
I like Nat, the scientist who eventually becomes Lucy’s relationship interest (although nothing really happens at all). However, he didn’t really blow me away, but again, if we could have seen his perspective, I think I might have been more drawn to him. He holds horrible secrets about his past, and seeing glimpses into this would have informed his character more, and would have added to the desperate tone of the book.
I wish we could have seen more of the evil characters, too. I felt like most of the story, the evil and dangers were just described, not experienced. I wanted more close calls and out of breath moments as a result of living on the edge of danger. Unfortunately, these only came at the beginning and at the end. This might have added to the lulls in action I was frustrated with in the middle. The evil characters had such potential, and I just wish they would have been explored more.
Overall, Chantress was a great read, and I am definitely looking forward to reading the next one. I loved the musical aspect that the power was centered around, and I love that everything in the world has its own unique song, and it is just floating on the wind, waiting to be discovered. I’m excited to see what new magic awaits Lucy in the future.
But one time Lucy just can't resist the melody she hears in the wind and... her adventure begins. Transferred from the island to a heart of a 17th century London, Lucy is out of her depths while trying to find out more about her family, her strange singing abilities and the current political going-ons.
I will be honest, there were some things that simply did not work for me in this book. I could not just wrap my mind around signing magical spells for example. When I tried to imagine that scene it always turned out to resemble a bad musical. And also I wish the side characters were a little bit more detailed. They were given an unique set of distinguishing virtues (or faults) but sometimes they felt a little bit shallow like they needed more depth. But since this is Amy Butler Greenfield's young adult debut, I am willing to be a little bit forgiving. Especially since she worked against some usual young adult novel tropes.
Yes you heard me. No usual irritating cliches here. No insta-love or love triangle romance. The attraction between Lucy and Nat starts out slow and progresses even slower while they get to know each other. Also I liked that Lucy does not get anything easy. She is stubborn, persistent, hard-working, willing to admit her mistakes and work hard to correct them. As Albert Einstein once said: "Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work..."
Chantress is an out-of-the-ordinary coming of age story about the usual problems: family, first love, dealing with changes in your body, trying to find your identity and place in the big big world... It's a perfect read for young adults because it has a clean romance without sexual language and with a good set of values and messages shared. This is a book that you can with a clear conscience recommend to any teen or young adult that is a fan of historical fantasy.
Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review.
With that being said, there are several things I did like. I loved Nat's character! He did seem realistic and well developed. He has a past that he wants to forget. He also hates magic, so he has a tough time accepting Lucy. I loved the setting! The Tower of London, the filthy streets of London, the group of men trying to continue their studies and their web of spies unbeknown to the Lord Protector and the king. I also liked the concept of Chantresses who use songs to weave spells.
I think that I just had really high expectations for this and it didn't quite meet those. However, I did still enjoy it and thought it was still worth a read. I would recommend picking this up if you like light historical witch stories.
Source: ARC from Edelweiss, which did not affect my review in any way.
See my original review here: http://tressaswishfulendings.blogspot.com/2013/05/review-chantress.html
Loved the setting
The secondary characters
The idea of song being magical