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Friday, May 15, 2015
Chantress Alchemy (Chantress Trilogy, #2)
Amy Butler Greenfield
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Source: Purchased
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Lucy is the last Chantress, the only remaining girl who can sing magic into the world. Since she defeated the evil Lord Scargrave, England has changed - and not for the better. With crops failing and the people rebelling, Lucy is called urgently back to King Henry's court. His Inner Council is convinced that making gold through alchemy will save England. But a critical element to the alchemical process has been stolen. Lucy is tasked with finding it with her magic... or else. And until she succeeds, the castle is on lockdown.
Court too has changed. 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.

I loved this book. It was absolutely dazzling. Lucy is a strong heroine, and it’s written so beautifully that it’s hard not to love. The world it’s set in is fantastic, and everything about it screams to be loved. Though not without its flaws, it’s such a beautiful book that it was impossible for me to walk away from it with anything but an overwhelmingly positive attitude.

Lucy is a strong heroine who is extremely relatable. She’s needed in England, but she doesn’t want to go. She wants to stay isolated and live in peace, but she eventually realizes that she can’t hide forever. She has magic, strong magic, and that makes her responsible for helping others. Lucy has a really good heart, and she’s smart, but not so clairvoyant that she comes across as too powerful.

I didn’t love Nat as much as I remember loving him in the first book. He’s a bit foolish, and seems to question everything everyone else is doing. Even if he’s right, it’s not the smartest thing to do all the time. He’s stubborn, and doesn’t always make the right choices. It’s incredibly frustrating sometimes, to see him try to do everything on his own.

The moment I saw Gabriel, hearts came into my eyes, because he’s exactly my type, though he’s not right for Lucy, I don’t think. He can laugh at himself, he’s kind, and he’s a good friend to Lucy when she needs it.
I wasn’t sure what to think of Sybil at first. She’s a mysterious character, and it’s difficult to tell exactly whose side she’s on. But she’s a good friend to Lucy nonetheless, and she really helps her when she’s in a tough spot.

This book rings true because alchemy is something that was once a real, true obsession. In this book, it’s augmented by the fact that Lucy is a chantress. Instead of wanting to make gold, though, they want to make a special stone. It’s interesting to watch because it could be a similar plot to another historical fiction book, one that contains no magic at all.

Lucy must race to find the missing crucible, but she also must figure out what is going on at court and how to stop it. She may be forced to accept a marriage she does not want, and her beloved is not appearing a good option. Lucy has to get to the botton of what is happening before she can stop it, but as she searches for the missing crucible, things appear more complex than they first appeared.

The plot is considerably more intense than that of the first book, and for good reason. There’s no real chanters hunters on the loose anymore, but as the last remaining chanters, Lucy is under a different kind of pressure.

It’s a fast-paced type of book, and I kept turning the pages, dying to know what was going to happen next. It’s a wonderful, easy read type of book, and I didn’t put it down until I was done.

This book is light on romance, and there’s an awkward love triangle that never really goes anywhere, but aside from that, the romance is sweet. Lucy and Nat are an adorable couple, and it’s plain to see how much they care about each other. They’re both willing to take risks for the other, and they’re stronger together than apart.

Amy’s writing is gorgeous, and the world-building is truly spectacular. It’s historical fiction, but my favorite kind of historical fiction—the kind with a magical twist. She writes it in such a way that I can almost believe England really was that way once—it has the twist of truth, even though logically I know it’s not truth. The descriptive language could use work, but it’s still beautiful.

Chanters Alchemy wrapped up neatly and prettily, almost too much so, which is why this book didn’t get a higher rating. The ending seemed really rushed near the end and too easily to take entirely seriously. Everything worked out perfectly and it just seemed overly contrived to me. I like the ending, don’t get me wrong, but I think it would have had more impact if not everything had been wrapped up so prettily.

I adored this book, and at the time I’m writing this review I’ve already read the last book in the series, but you can be sure I’ll read anything Amy chooses to release in the future. Chantress Alchemy was a gorgeous, beguiling book and I’m sure I’d want more even if I didn’t already know what happens next. It was a pleasure to read something so beautiful and I highly recommend the series.


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