Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

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Amy Butler Greenfield
Series: Chantress Trilogy #1
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Publication date: May 7th 2013
by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Lucy’s Chantress magic will make her the most powerful—and most hunted—girl in England.

“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.

-A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review-

Sadly, it’s not a heart that she’s holding on the cover, it’s her stone necklace! Boo! Just wanted to get that out of the way first. A gorgeous cover, however–though slightly less interesting than when I thought it was a heart–Chantress is pretty on the outside, and intriguing on the inside.

We begin this book in an interesting setting while we learn how Lucy was told never to sing or bad things will occur. I was made both curious and alarmed at the uncertainty surrounding Lucy’s life and lifestyle. She became a compelling character right away; I yearned to know more about her and to my impatient nature’s delight the answers started arriving just as quickly. We learn early on who she is exactly, what happens when she sings, and why she should have stayed blissfully hidden and unaware. We also get to meet a lot of great personalities that become surprisingly memorable throughout the story. Even those with the smallest roles all have something that makes them stand out from one another. The lore that we get introduced to is impressive; imaginative and clearly well thought out–especially the Shadowgrims; although I wish they had a bigger part inside the book aside from a hovering threat, they were still a fascinating aspect.

While the premise is original and interesting, I found it a tad too slow for my taste. Hardly anything happens in this book at all except a flurry of events at the end that was maybe a little too easy. Even with the violence and deaths that occur I found it was over and done with as quickly as it had started, with nothing extremely heart shattering about it. It would have helped if the villain of the story was seen as a more threatening enigma, I suppose. We only meet him briefly, keeping him as nothing more than an afterthought for the reader. I feel his part in the whole thing should have been played out with much more show rather than tell to validate his wickedness. The same could be said for the Shadowgrims, as mentioned before; while we observe more of their presence than their master’s, these instances are nothing more than a few close calls. Instead, most of the book is spent underground where Lucy is hiding, training to use her powers. This training is slow moving and grueling. It’s good–even great–for character development to see her slowly learning and understanding her powers as a Chantress, however it does get mundane after a hundred pages of this. The one good thing to come of it aside from character development is the equally slow moving romance, which may not be anything mind-blowing, but it’s sweet and realistic. It’s also kept to a minimum. I would even describe it as the slow beginning of something to come.

Great, spirited characters and a unique lore is what fans of fantasy/mythology can expect to enjoy from this novel. If the plot had a little more bite to it, it would have been a truly great read, as it stands it’s still a book I would recommend to those who enjoy the genre, I would just advise to not expect to be swept away into a twist riddled, exhilarating plot–because that, it is not.

3 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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35 Responses to “Review: Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield”

  1. Kara_Malinczak

    Okay, I’m a little worried. I slightly scanned your review because I am reading this one really soon, but you didn’t like it that much! I know 3 stars is decent, but still. I wanted more! I was really looking forward to this one and my last 3 books have been 3 star reads. GAH.

  2. Nick

    This sounds like a good book with an original premise except for the slow pace of the book though. I get easily frustrated when books move slowly and it bores me a little. At least the main character is compelling. I might end up borrowing this from my library!
    Lovely honest review, Giselle.

  3. Mary @ BookSwarm

    That DOES look like a heart! Is it meant to be a heart-like necklace? Whatever. The cover’s quite striking. The story does sound interesting but I’m in need of speed and movement when reading. This seems too slow. Maybe a library get…

  4. Nazish Reads

    The part where Lucy is underground for so long, that reminds me of Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Power series, I think it’s the second book where the main characters are basically hiding in warehouses through most of the story, it was so boring. I still don’t understand even now why so many people love that series so much. I lover her adult series and I like the Darkness Rising series though.
    Anyways, I’m still not sure if I should read this book, maybe I will just to see how I feel about it, but judging from your review, it’s not a must read, so I’ll read it whenever I feel like it.

    -Nazish @ Nazish Reads

  5. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    I don’t think I would like this one. When you mention that something is slow I know I will find it slow because I have reading ADD. Happy that you were able to enjoy this one overall though. I am super curious about why she can’t sing…. I can’t either. People go deaf if I do 🙁

  6. Sirtsu

    The idea of it sounds so interesting. I don’t like books that don’t have much going on plot wise. At the same time it’s tough to read a book which doesn’t have a moment to relax either and the action is pretty much non-stop from one scene to another. It’s the balanced book that I find the most attractive to me. I mythology is definitely my thing and lately I’ve found myself to enjoy fantasy novels more and more so I think I may even try this pretty one out even though it didn’t quite work for you. I still love the cover though 😀

  7. Amy

    This sounds good, but I could see myself getting bored with it. It seems like it could have been really awesome, but just doesn’t quite hit the mark. Great review doll!!!

  8. Christianna Marks

    The world building in this one sounds really good. Plus I love books that have to do with music. It sounds like the pacing and villains could have been better though, which is kind of a bummer. This was such a good review!

  9. Jasprit

    Oh it’s a shame tha you didn’t enjoy Chantress as much as you’d hoped Giselle. I usally enjoy more pacier novels, so I’m not really sure whether this book would be for me. But thanks for the lovely review. Also I didn’t even realise what the model was holding in her hand on the cover 0_O

  10. Bonnie R

    This one sure sounded interesting but I think I’m going to ultimately skip on it. I totally thought she had a heart in her hand… that would’ve made this infinitely more cool. lol
    Bonnie @ Sweet Tidbits

  11. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    That’s not a heart?! That’s why I wanted to read this book. I was wondering why she was holding a heart and thought she was this evil witch or something. I’d rather take a chance on a book someone else hates than a book that is just meh…

  12. Candace

    I do love historical fantasy but it’s too bad it’s so slow. It sounds like one I might not have enough patience for. But I am intrigued… great review Giselle!

  13. Danny

    Oh gosh you just reminded me thatI have this on my Kindle and I haven’t read it yet!!! I’m a bad Girl!!! But it does sound great even though it’s not perfect so I’m even more intruiged now!

  14. Kelley (Another Novel Read)

    Man, this has sparked my interest in Chantress all over again. Your complaints with the book actually make me wonder if it was suppose to be a standalone and the author was asked to stretch it out into a series or something.

  15. Renae M.

    Aw, I’m sorry this didn’t work out so well for you, Giselle! I hate when a book that has a unique and intriguing premise falls flat and ends up boring. It’s SO disappointing.

  16. Molli

    HMM well great characters that stand-out and a fresh, awesome lore sounds really good in this one. I’m curious if the slow pace would bother me. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll definitely read this one. So happy you liked it, girl!

  17. Amanda

    I’m sorry this book wasn’t quite as enticing as you’d hoped. From your review, it does sound as though perhaps this novel is mainly buildup for the next books in this series. While I’ve never had a problem with that when I can move on to the next book right away, I can see that definitely being frustrating if there’s a year or more wait for the next continuation. Nevertheless, I do love fantasies, so I’ll probably give this a try and hope that with altered expectations, I can enjoy it.

  18. Megan K.

    Ah, the lovely characters and unique love interest really grab my attention, but the dull plot doesn’t! I’m a little worried about that, since I’m quite impatient when it comes to books, and if I can’t get into the story within a few chapters, I might not have the patience to continue, LOL. The storyline definitely sounds intriguing, though; I should be getting to this book soon, so now I know what to expect. Thanks so much for that helpful review, Giselle!

  19. Jen (A Reading Daydreamer)

    Oh, I’m sorry this one didn’t work out quite as well as I promised! >.< I can see how the plot can appear a little slow and dull to some people, but it worked for me. I'm glad you enjoyed Lucy and the other characters though! I think Amy did a fantastic job with the fantasy element. I really loved the slow romance, actually. Anyway, thanks for the honest review, and beautiful review as always!

  20. Eileen

    I actually liked this one a little bit better than you did, but I’m glad you still really enjoyed this one for the most part. The romance I thought was kind of weird because they each other twice, the love interest left for like a month and then came back and they were doing all of this google eyed stuff at each other. >.< I didn't notice the slow plot though lol. But I definitely understand because slowness always takes away from the enjoyability. Always.

    Fantastic review as always, Giselle!

  21. Megan R

    This one sounds really cool, so it’s a shame there wasn’t a ton going on plot-wise.

    And I agree it would be way cooler if she was holding a heart!

  22. Annabelle Marie Veronica

    I actually really, really loved this book, but I definitely agree with you. The plot was lacking, which personally I got over since there were so many other things I really loved, but I totally get where it fell flat for you. The characters were awesome, though, and I’m really looking forward to the next book. Love the review, doll! <3

  23. Alexa Y.

    I’m reading this soon! The lore is what is drawing me to it. I’m very curious about the particulars of this world and this mysterious occurrence connected to her singing. Hopefully I end up liking it!

  24. Micheline D

    Well first your rating had me a bit worried, but honestly your review encouraged me a lot! I know you’re not as big on fantasy as I am but the things you brought out all sound really appealing to me…even if it could have done with more better developed action sequences. I can definitely still love slow books if there is enough of other stuff to love, and Chantress sounds to me like it does! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one 😀 Thanks for the insight doll ♥

  25. Lauren Elizabeth

    When I saw 3 espressos I was kind of worried, but after reading your review, I think I’m still going to enjoy this one. I don’t mind a slower pace if I get character development and slow-burning realistic romance in return. I have this on my e-reader, so I’ll definitely give it a go! Thanks for your thoughtful review 🙂