Friday, 21 March 2014

ARC Review: Chantress Alchemy by Amy Butler Greenfield


Author: Amy Butler Greenfield
Pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Received from: Publisher on Edelweiss
Status: Chantress #2

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Since defeating Lord Scargrave with her music, Lucy, the last Chantress, has lived by the sea, mastering the intricacies of Wild Magic. But now her quiet life is about to end: the wheat crop has failed, the people are rebelling, and Lucy is called urgently back to King Henry IX’s court. There she finds the Inner Council planning to save England by making gold through alchemy. But the golden crucible — the critical element in the alchemical process — has been stolen, its guards murdered. Lucy is charged with finding the traitor behind the attack.

Meanwhile, enemies old and new are gathering. Scargrave's brutal Chantress-hunter has become King Henry's closest advisor. Lucy’s beloved Nat has fallen out of favor and is shunned by his colleagues; their romance means trouble for both of them. Worst of all, something goes wrong with Lucy’s magic. The palace is a labyrinth, and there’s a monster at its heart — a monster who may have the power to defeat Lucy once and for all.

Amy Butler Greenfield returns to the beguiling world of Chantress for a suspenseful tale of courtly intrigue, music, and magic in Chantress Alchemy.


Chantress Alchemy was mysterious, thrilling, and romantic! It's an amazing sequel that I couldn't get enough of! I cannot wait for the finale!

This book picks up almost a year after the events of Chantress. Lucy, our protagonist, is still trying to tap into her magic but is torn away from her quite life in Norfolk when the King's men come to get her baring important news: she has to use her magic to save England. Unbeknownst to her, the country has been suffering from a famine for months, and King Henry the Ninth is in dire need of her help to find the crucible. The problem? Ever since arriving to court, Lucy has been having a hard time tapping into her magic. In addition to all her problems, she has to deal with Nat Walbrook, the brooding and secretive guy that was all over her one minute, and stopped writing her for months afterwards. At court, Lucy will find that even with the King as an ally, she-and her heart- are not totally safe.

I LOVED this book: it was entertaining, it was action-packed and it had a good pace. I liked Lucy's character development in this story because she thinks for herself and doesn't totally support on Nat- she even rejects him at one point because she had a duty and wanted to do it on her own, for herself and for others. I was really proud at Lucy many times in the book, and I really felt bad for her when she wasn't able to tap into her magic.

Like with Chantress, this book was a good balance between relationships, mystery, history and adventure. I didn't feel like the historical aspect didn't take too much away from the story, but it did add to the tension. I liked how Lucy wasn't afraid to venture out and play different roles (though, according to Nat, her acting skills aren't on par). And the relationships in this book were really well executed.

We have Nat, who makes a swoon-worthy reappearance in this book; King Henry; the Invincible College members (although Lord Barnaby isn't present in this book, and he was one of my favourites). And we get a lot of knew characters as well: we have Margery, her maid; Sybil, an old childhood friend she can't seem to remember due to her mother's magic; Earl Wrexham, Scargrave's Chantress hunter and resident jerk-face (we probably met him before in the first book, but I really don't remember him); and Lord Gabriel, a charming and charismatic alchemist apprentice of Lord Isaac, who is openly smitten with Lucy. I liked the relationships of Lucy and these side characters in this book, because in the first book, they didn't really play much of a huge role- they kind of took a back seat to Lucy, Nat, and Lady Helene, and the whole Chantress extinction thing in book one. I enjoyed seeing her have actual friends and allies (not that I'm saying her and Nat are a bad thing) because we see her grow more and there were some very fun parts in the book. My favourite character is Sybil because she's such a great friend and she's just so smart, and she's not afraid to sass Gabriel.

Lucy and Nat had a complicated relationship in this book. They moved passed the stage of hiding their feelings for each other to being willing to protect each other at any costs. Their relationship went from being the most adorable and beautiful thing in the world, to being the most infuriating thing in the world. I was totally like this the entire book:

They have their adorable moments, but then they just...they just go in circles and it bothered me because they came such a far way, but they are struggling to making everything come together.

The mystery behind the stolen crucible was the most confusing thing in the world for me. I pinned it on everyone (even at Henry and Nat for a moment), and it was the last person I actually expected that stole it. Reading it back now, I realized it should've been more obvious to me, but since there were so many other suspects, I just ignored it.

AND THE ENDING! OH THE ENDING! You know, I was actually really happy with the way things ended. I wasn't expecting King Henry to let Lucy have her way, but I see why he gave her what she wanted: freedom. I mean, she saved the kingdom TWICE, so it's understandable. But the way things ended with Nat and Lucy, I-I...

I am really upset, but at the same thing I feel like what Nat did was needed. He does need time as a character, but I hope things will be alright in the next book! I talked to the author on twitter after I finished the book, and she did say that Nat DOES come back in the finale! I'm excited, but scared because although I have so much hope, there's still the Gabriel set up! I don't know how to feel, but I hope Nat does grow character-wise in the next book!

Overall, this book was amazing, and I really enjoyed it. This book did NOT suffer from second-book-syndrome and really stood on it's on. Yes, you can sort of read this book as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading BOTH books because the series is just that good!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

CONTEST ALERT: You can win some awesome Chantress swag from the author herself! You have till TOMORROW to enter the contest! It's INTERNATIONAL! GOOD LUCK!

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