Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Series: Chantress Trilogy, Book 1
Rated: YA 13+
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

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.

I love YA fantasy and I love historical YA, so when you put the two together, for me it’s the ultimate harmonious blend. Chantress, while there were a few glitches here and there, was an enchanting read. I’m on the blog tour for the sequel, Chantress Alchemy, and so I dove at the chance to read this book, which has been on my to-read pile for a long, long time.
First initial impressions? I was definitely taken by the story. I think I’ve come out of a long stream of contemporaries or realistic fiction, and was in dire need of something beyond this world, something that would make me flip pages endlessly, desperate to read more. The introduction sucks you in immediately, there’s no doubt about it. I think though that I thought this would be more young-adult-y, because of the protagonists age, but I found that this is a book that children, teens and adults could all enjoy. It’s a clean fantasy, easy to read, and the story flows beautifully.

I was glad that I didn’t encounter a problem that I tend to have with fantasy or paranormal novels: the magical creature or being that the book centres around. It was clear to grasp the concept of Chantresses, because the author explains it very well, and doesn’t throw chunks of information at you that would only lead to a confused and painful path. In terms of world building though, I would say there wasn’t that much, so hopefully there will be more in the next book. While this does take place for the most part in London, it is historical London, and that being said, there could have been more detail placed on the setting rather than useless details of what was going on.

I didn’t have any problems with the characters in terms of personality, but the big problem I found was that you can’t really connect with the characters in Chantress. Even our main character, Lucy– I found myself forgetting her name throughout the book. They were rather flat, so like setting, I have hopes that the next instalment will have more background and development. My sister constantly looks for books that “show, not tell”, and I felt that this book featured a lot more with telling us the story, tiny flitting glimpses here and there into the events and characters, but not really giving that depth to it.

Even though I did have some problems when reading this one, Chantress is an amazing echo of childhood fantasies, brought forth to the world of YA, and will captivate readers of all ages. Amy Butler Greenfield’s young adult debut is gorgeous and will engross readers from start to finish. I’m looking forward to reading the next book!

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