Description from Goodreads: 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.
It took until nearly the end of this book (80% in actually) for any major plot events to happen. Up until that point, it was a lot of exposition, magic training, character development, and what I felt were a lot of repetitive scenes which actually contributed very little to this book. I think Chantress could have been about a hundred pages shorter. Honestly. It clocks in at 336 pages, and truthfully, I think a little over 200 pages would have been fine. I don’t mind books that don’t completely focus on plot–heck I read a lot of character-driven novels–but this book was pretty boring. A lot of my blogger friends put it down and moved on to something else due to boredom. I pushed on because I wanted to see if it got better and if all of that zzzzzzz stuff was worth it. And…
It was. Sort of.
I can’t talk about much because of spoilers, but the last 20% was pretty exciting. For those who are keeping track, that’s about 67 pages. Out of 336. Even though they were exciting and riveting, I don’t know if it’s worth it for that small amount of the book.
There are good things though. I think most readers will appreciate the relationship in this novel. There is no love triangle, no insta-love. It takes the entire book for the relationship to build, and not until the very end does something actually happen. But that’s kind of the thing with this book. Nothing seems to happen until the end.
Nat’s annoying at the beginning. He really is. It gets better though because he has a decent character arc. I don’t mind when characters are annoying and mean if there is justification for the way they feel. It was explained why he was so anti-magic eventually, but I didn’t buy the explanation. To me there wasn’t enough of a reason. I liked Lucy though. She was the type of protagonist I like in my novels. Strong, determined, but not perfect. The rest of the characters were interesting as well. There is a little bit of everything here but some of them felt like the typical characters you would find in a fantasy novel.
So. The story itself. I liked it. This was truly a compelling premise and as far as fantasy goes, it wasn’t something I had seen before. Chantresses are singing magicians. They can create magic through song. And I thought it was very cool. The object on the cover is a giant ruby, by the way. I know some people were wondering. Unfortunately for singing magicians, the magic part of the story itself doesn’t make for a very compelling plot. Which is sad because I truly thought it would work. But it’s just not explained well. The training scenes are just a bunch of vocal lessons. It was all very meh.
I should also mention that this IS a historical novel and the author did quite a bit of research. Aside from the fantasy part, that is. But…it didn’t feel very historical. It almost felt high fantasy. Depending on the reader, that could be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, I wanted to feel the historical part of it. And it’s not really there at all. Other than beling TOLD the book was set in London, I would never have known. It could have easily been set in an alternate universe.
The one thing that did affect me was the Shadowgrims. And this is why I stated if you have Ornithophobia you should probably not read this book. The birds in this book are the freakiest birds I have ever had the displeasure of reading about. They steal souls and flap their wings and claw at them and UGH. And I LIKE birds. When Chantresses are around Shadowgrims they actually start to feel a burning sensation, and the closer the bird is, the hotter it gets. NO, thank you. Thing is though, I love being creeped out. So that part of the story worked for me. But if you are afraid of birds, I wouldn’t do it. This is your warning. It’s not particularly graphic, but it did make me shiver.
I haven’t decided if I will read the next one or not, but right now I am leaning towards not. It just didn’t do enough for me as a book. I liked it enough, but I don’t think I was engaged enough to continue on to the next one. I bet the next book will be much better with so much exposition out of the way, but with so many other books out there that might be spectacular reads for me, I just don’t think I will have the time or that much desire to do so. I sort of recommend this. But it depends on what you like in your books. I’m on the fence about everything that has to do with this book.