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Monday, June 10, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

Title: Chantress
Author: Amy Butler Greenfield
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: May 7 2013
Publishing House: McElderry Books
ISBN: 9781442457034
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


Shipwrecked on an island seven years ago, Lucy has been warned that she must never sing or disaster will strike. But on All Hallow's Eve when she is fifteen, Lucy hears tantalizing music. 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. With his fellow scholars of the Invisible College, Nat has been working 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.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Sing and the darkness will find you.

It's All Hallow's Eve and Lucy's been stranded on an island with her guardian for about 7 years. She hears strange music in the wind and sings - one thing which she was never to do - unlocking a secret that her guardian would rather her not find out. She's a Chantress, a singer of enchantments and spells, and she finds herself transported back to London where the King's protector is determined to hunt down each and every Chantress all in the name of the King. She then lands right in the middle of an uprising, just when they are in dire of a Chantress. Lucy is untrained and can make no sense of her powers, but she's the only one they've got. 

Chantress is an imaginative and engrossing read told in the voice of fifteen year old Chantress, Lucy. She's a strong character, determined albeit a little bit lost and insecure. Losing your mother in a shipwreck couldn't have been easy but she's dealt with it. Now that she's back in London though, she finds out things about herself she never really knew and realizes that she could be the only one capable of stopping the Protector from unleashing the Shadowgrims - mind reading, terrifying, ruthless birds of prey - onto the population. A heavy burden for a fifteen year old girl to carry.

Relationships in YA nowadays seem to progress really quickly and cases of instant love are not rare at all. One thing I liked about this story was the relationship between Nat and Lucy, they had an attraction that was slow and had time to build up which means that they had an actual bond. It grew with their every interaction and it wasn't at all rushed or forced. The story did not revolve around their romance and there was just enough to satisfy and establish that they had feelings for each other. Another plus was that it wasn't overly dramatic or unnecessarily sappy.

Chantress has great characters and world building, but one thing that didn't really sit well with me though was the villain. He wasn't exactly frightening enough and I didn't really feel the sense of urgency the characters had when it comes to stopping him. I understood it, I just could not empathize with it. 

Another thing I noticed about this book was that it was very well researched. I took some time to read the Author's Note and in there she states her explanations about the setting and the geography along with her take on how Nat's inventions were perceived. I love it when authors are meticulous about their research, don't you?

Overall, Chantress is definitely worth a read and what with the number of things this book got right it was easy to overlook it's certain lack of complexity in regards to the plot. It was pretty straight to the point. I was kind of hoping for something more cinematic and thrilling, I was expecting - or rather, hoping - for more twists and turns but I'm not complaining and I'm definitely eager to get my hands on the next book. 



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