May 14, 2013

Chantress Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Chantress (Chantress #1)
Author: Amy Butler Greenfield
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal/Historical
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderberry Books

Buy Links: Amazon


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.  

Watch the Book Trailer:

From Chapter One: The Singing

I was digging in the garden when I heard it: a strange, wild singing on the wind.

I sat back on my heels, a carrot dropping from my mud-splattered hands.

No one sang here. Not on this island.

Perhaps I'd misheard-

No, there it was again: a lilting line, distant but clear. It lasted hardly longer than a heartbeat, but it left me certain of one thing: It was more than a gull's cry I'd heard. It was a song.

But who was singing it?

I glanced over my shoulder at Norrie, hunched over a cabbage bed, a gray frizzle poking out from under her linen cap. As far as I knew, she was the only other inhabitant of this lonely Atlantic island, but it couldn't have been Norrie I had heard. For if there was one rule that my guardian set above all others, it was this one: There must be no singing. Ever.

Sing and the darkness will find you.

We were still dripping from the shipwreck when Norrie first told me this. She had repeated it often since then, but there was no need. The terror in her eyes that first time had silenced me immediately - that and my own grief, so deep I was drowning in it. The sea had taken my mother and had almost taken me. That was enough darkness to last me a lifetime; I had no desire to court more.

Not that I could recall very much about the shipwreck itself. Even the ship that had carried us off from England seven years ago had left no impression on me. Was it stout or shaky, that vessel? Had it foundered on rocks? Had storms broken its masts? I did not know. We had boarded that ship in 1660, when I had been eight years of age. Surely eight was old enough to remember? Yet my only recollections of that night came in broken fragments, slivers that were more sensation than sense. The sopping scratchiness of wet wool against my cheeks. The bitter sea wind snarling my hair into salty whips. The chill of the dark water as I slipped through it.

"Hush, child," Norrie would say whenever I dared mention any of this. "It was a long time ago, and a terrible night, and you were very young. The least said about it, the better."

"But my mother-"

"She's lost to us, lamb, lost to the wind and the waves." Norrie's face would always pucker in sadness as she said this, before her voice grew brisk. "It's just the two of us now, and we must make the best of it."

When Norrie took that tone, there was no refusing her. So make the best of it we did, and if life on our island was not easy, it was far from desolate.

But we never sang. We never even whistled or hummed. We had no music of any kind. Any if anyone had asked me, I would have said I did not miss it at all...

Until now.
Chantress is a captivating and beautifully written young adult historical fantasy novel that follows our teenage heroine, Lucy Marlowe, as her life is turned upside down when she accidentally uses her magic to transport herself and her guardian, Norrie, back to London one day. Lucy learns the truth of her heritage: she is a Chantress, like her mother before her. She has the magical ability to sing things into being. In London, Lucy is taken in by Dr. Penebrygg and his apprentice, Nat, who fill her in on her heritage and what has been happening for the years while she was on the island with Norrie. England has become terrorized by the King's Protector, a terrible man named Scargrave who is using Chantress magic to torture and kill any people he deems a threat. The only way to stop Scargrave and save England is with Lucy's ability - she must sing a song that will break the magic holding Scargrave's power. Along with her growing powers, her unsure feelings towards Nat, and the entire country's well-being riding on her shoulders, Lucy must look deep inside herself to find the voice she's been taught to hide for so long.

This was a truly enchanting novel that swept me off my feet from the beginning and didn't slow down until the final page. I found myself eagerly reading each word and wondering what would happen next. The characters were all well written and unique - they each had strength and weaknesses, along with quirks and flaws that made them very realistic and easy to identify with. I loved Lucy as the main character. She's completely uprooted from her home, transported to a place where people like her have been obliterated and the rest are hunted down, she doesn't know a soul, and she finds out she has magical abilities. Taking all of this into account, along with the new knowledge behind her mother's fate and the fact that she is the only hope these people have, Lucy is very mature for her age and acts with a grace and intellect that most would envy. She's still human though, and she has to deal with failures, crushes, uncertainty, and self doubt. It makes her a very likable main character and one that I definitely rooted for throughout the novel. The plot of the book was incredibly fascinating and original. I have never read anything quite like it and I relished reading as much as I could about the Chantresses. I'm hoping that the next book will delve a bit more into their history and abilities because I found it so interesting to read about. The historical aspect of the book was very well researched and I enjoyed that part of it as well. The imagery of the book was so vivid and descriptive that I could easily close my eyes and feel as though I was right beside Lucy and the others. The writing itself was incredibly well done with a fast pace that kept me eagerly turning the pages and it also wove the various story lines together with ease. The wonderful thing about this book was it's ability to break down genre walls and effortlessly blend various types of fiction. It has a bit of everything: mystery, adventure, fantasy, history, magic, romance, action, and more. It easily appeals to fans of several different genre types and is the type of book that everyone will enjoy reading. This is easily one of the most riveting and enchanting novels I've read this year and I'm already eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series. Fans of YA fiction will not want to miss out on this one!
Amy Butler Greenfield was a grad student in history when she gave into temptation and became a writer. Since then, she has become an award-winning author. 
Born in Philadelphia, Amy grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and later studied history at Williams College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Oxford. She now lives with her family in England, where she writes, bakes double-dark-chocolate cake, and plots mischief.


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  1. Great review & excerpt. Thanks for participating.

  2. I cannot wait to read Chantress this is awesome! I have had this book on my wishlist!!!!!!! Thanks for a chance to win:)