Published May 7th 2013 by Margaret K McElderry Books
“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.
In Chantress, Amy Butler Greenfield has woven an alternate history in which magic plays a prominent role. She has also established a unique magic system in which spells are accomplished through singing. Although I enjoyed these aspects, I felt that the descriptions of them dragged on just a touch too long.
The truth is that most of the book wasn't very interesting. First, a lot of time was spent on the situation being explained to Lucy. Then, Lucy had to spend a lot more time practicing magic before she could actually do anything. I found this caused the middle of the book to go really slowly.
The real saving grace of this book was the ending. I don't want to spoil it, but it was the perfect fit for the story and was beautifully executed.
Chantress is the first of a trilogy, and I definitely want to see where it goes from here. I think now that all the minutia is out of the way, the pace could really pick up.