Word Spelunking

Chantress - Amy Butler Greenfield Amy Butler Greenfield's Chantress is a captivating mix of magic, romance, and historical adventure. In 1667, fifteen year old Lucy lives on a deserted island with her guardian Norrie. Norrie's most important rule is that Lucy must never sing. But when Lucy hears a haunting melody on the wind, sing she does and she and Norrie are swept away by magic to England. Lucy discovers that she is a Chantress and can use magic through song. And Lucy's Chantress powers are needed to save England from the evil Lord Protector and its deadly Shadowgrims. Taken in by the Invisible College, a group of scientists and thinkers, Lucy must learn to control both her abilities and her confusing feelings for Nat, a young apprentice at the Invisible College.Chantress certainly cast a spell on me and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Greenfield weaves a beguiling tale full of enchantments, historical intrigue, and likable characters. The concept of a Chantress, one who can manipulate and use magic through song, isn't a new concept, but I really liked the way Greenfield ran with this idea and what she did with it. Greenfield is a great storyteller and much of the writing in Chantress is quite beautiful. Like Lucy, I was easily swept away into this world of magic and science, fiction and history, and, for the most part, found it to be a fascinating world. The magical Chantress elements are a wondrous mix of whimsical and dark; I only wish more enchantments and spells were shown (I'm sure/hoping more will be shown in future books), but the ones present in book one are very cool.The magical elements are fictitious of course, but I like how historically grounded the backdrop and setting are. Greenfield clearly did her historical research regarding this time period in England, and this really shines through. The historical, scientific, and magical aspects all work really well and just seem to fit together. I do wish the overall storyline was less predictable and more twisty. There are few instances where the plot feels a bit too forced or convenient and I would have appreciated more subtlety or complexity. A little more action would have been nice too.Lucy is a likable, relatable heroine. She grows a good deal as a character and I enjoyed watching her come into her power, but I liked that she remained realistically fifteen. It took me some time to warm up to Nat, but after getting his backstory and getting to know him, I ended up really liking him. He isn't your typical overly romantic, grand gesture doing, cheesy love speech making, swoon-worthy YA love interest...but this is a good thing! Instead, he simply felt real and believable as a teenage guy who's been through some shizz, is kinda wary of magic, and who is falling for this girl who isn't sure he can trust. The interaction between Lucy and Nat is full of fun snark and I'm excited to see where their connection goes in future books. The villainous Lord Protector makes for a sinister and frightening villain, but I wish we were given more "facetime" with him.The ending is satisfying but open, and I'm definitely interested to see what's next for Lucy.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Chantress has an enchanting premise that Amy Butler Greenfield ran with beautifully and that captivated me from beginning to end. An awesome first book in what I'm sure will be a fantastic series!

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