Review: Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

Series: Chantress #1

chantress -amy butler greenfield“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.

2.5 Drink Me Potions

I was very excited for another historical fantasy, but my expectations may have been too much. Don’t get me wrong. The premise of the story was beautifully created. In this fictitious version of olden day England, evil creatures known as Shadowgrims create fear in the hearts of all people, especially in those that the Lord Protector to the King condemns as traitors to the crown. Chantresses, magical women who weave magic through “song spells”, have all been hunted down. Except Lucy, of course.

A lot of originality has definitely gone into creating such a world, with certain facts that are actually based on real English history. For that, I had to round up my rating. Because other than my admiration for this world the author has created, everything else was sub-par.

The beginning of the story was an information overload. I understand that to allow readers to fully grasp the history and background of this version of England, a lot has to be explained. However, it just wasn’t done very tactfully. The information felt more like it was dumped and squished into the first 100 pages in order to make sense of the next 200+ pages. That was NOT the end of it, though.

I thought there’d be some sort of adventure to this story. Come on! Throwing a rebellion against the Lord Protector? Learning magic in order to do that overthrowing? Sounds exciting, right? Please, I had to read continuously in order to get through those pages, as I knew I would never pick up the book again if I stopped in the middle. I kept hoping there would be more twists, but barely any came through. Learning magic? More like pages written about Lucy practicing scales and holding notes. For months. And explaining the goings of the scholars as they checked in on her for the months she was holed up in practice. Honestly, the plot could’ve gone in so many directions, but it was just TIRING. And dragged a whole lot.

Picture it. The whole chunk of the middle was like explaining what Lucy did that day, what problems she encountered with magic, and possibly who checked in to see her progress, which was namely Nat. Then multiply that by like quite a number of days that seemed endlessly the same. Talk about tedious.

Speaking of which, the romance part of Chantress? I had such hopes for that. There was barely any true chemistry between Nat and Lucy. Oh sure, it was actually written that Lucy felt a spark pass between them as they gazed at each other, but explicitly written chemistry doesn’t equate to a chemistry that is just felt through their banter and time spent together. They hardly hung out, and when they did, Nat was rather cold to her. So his change of heart to her and the magic she did felt kind of…off. I wanted to believe in it, but I’d rather Greenfield didn’t tell me to believe in their love but rather showed it through their actions.

I must say that although I am disappointed in the start of the series, I will give the rest of the series a shot. I do love the idea of Chantresses a lot, and maybe the author can redeem the story from here on out, considering all the background information has been laid out already. Here’s to hoping, optimistically.

Overall Recommendation:
Chantress could have been a beautiful historical fantasy set in olden day England (which by the way, is one of my favourite settings for historical books). However, it lacked an exciting plot, although its premise was creatively imagined. There was a lot of potential in the adventure of overthrowing a tyrant, but Greenfield never built the story up to any sort of climax and thus the whole story kind of fell flat. As for the rest of this series, I still believe in its potential and will give it a shot. However, I may not recommend this for those who bore easily.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s