- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Harlequin Teen; Original edition (Sept. 24 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0373210973
- ISBN-13: 978-0373210978
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.1 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #785,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Witchstruck Paperback – Sep 24 2013
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"Full of cliffhanger moments, impossible escapes, dastardly villainy and even a few chase scenes, the story has enough suspense and unrestrained emotion to satisfy romance fans and enough witchy activity for paranormal fans." -Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Victoria Lamb lives in a farmhouse on the wild fringes of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, England, with her husband, five children and an energetic Irish Red Setter. She writes poetry and fiction as her day job, and is addicted to social media. On dark nights she has been known to sneak out onto the moors and howl at the moon . Visit her website www.victorialambbooks.com or chat with her on Twitter, where she answers to @VictoriaLamb1.See all Product description
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Not every sixteen-year old has figured out that thing that makes them special. But, not every sixteen-year old is a descendant from a long line of witches. In Tudor England, there is an inherent distrust in anything different. Being a maid to the supernaturally interested Princess Elizabeth, offers Meg a small amount of protection, but trying to stay faithful to her families’ history, while trying to stay alive, is a constant juggle. When the stakes start getting too high for Meg to handle everything on her own, she has to figure out if she can trust anyone but Elizabeth with her secret, but risks fatal consequences if she puts her trust in the wrong place.
My favorite part of the novel is the dynamic between polar opposites Meg and Alejandro – a Catholic Priest in training sent to convert Elizabeth by her sister Queen Mary. Both characters are unique, interesting, and at odds with each other from the first time they meet. I love the strength in Meg’s character, and how unafraid she is to be herself, or stick up for what (or who) she believes in. Alejandro’s intentions and trustworthiness on the other hand are always questionable, but his fishiness adds a level of mystery and intrigue that keeps you glued to your seat reading. Alejandro is the right kind of wrong for Meg, which creates a dynamic that I found thoroughly entertaining throughout the novel.
One aspect I wish had been stronger was the suspense. The novel moves from one big potential disaster to another, but I didn’t always believe the danger Meg and Elizabeth faced. While I understand that the characters have no idea whether Elizabeth will be executed for treason against her sister, the readers (hopefully) know her fate. Similarly, a seed is planted that Meg could be burned / drowned/ hanged if her witchliness were discovered, and while I didn’t question she was in dangerous situations, unless a Drew Barrymore in Scream kind of twist was going to happen, I didn’t ever believe that she was die in the first book of a trilogy.
Filled with intrigue, a fast-paced storyline, an awesome heroine, and a touch of magic, Witchstruck is sure to strike a chord (pun intended!) with readers. I can’t wait to see what happens in book two of the trilogy.
Side note: This is truly just a personal preference, and maybe I’ve seen too many episodes of Charmed, or read Harry Potter too many times, but I really wanted a little more magic. I’m hoping that as Meg learns more about her power in the next two novels that the magic will become a more predominant feature. If she goes down for being a witch, she’d better go down having tried every witchly trick in the book.
** I received a copy of the novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated.
This review and others like it are available at confessionsofanadultteenreader.blogspot.ca
Note: My sincere thanks to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
My Review: When I initially found this book on NetGalley I was drawn to it because it combined two of my favourite genres: historical fiction and supernatural. This book wonders what it would have been like if Princess Elizabeth (who later becomes Queen Elizabeth I) had a witch for a maid while she was forced into exile by her sister, Queen Mary (ie. 'Bloody Mary').
The 1500's were a very tumultuous time and this was a great premise but unfortunately I didn't feel that there was enough of a supernatural element in the overall story. Meg never really embraces her magical powers and therefore magic plays a very minor role in the overall plot.
On the historical fiction side of things there is a lot of political intrigue involving Elizabeth's exile from her sister. Elizabeth is constantly afraid of being charged with heresy and meeting the same fate as her mother, Anne Boleyn. The reader gets to see some of the friction between Elizabeth and her half-sister, Queen Mary and just how volatile Elizabeth's fate is while she's in exile. I liked the fact that the author dives into the very contemptuous issue of Mary (Catholic) versus Elizabeth (Protestant) and yet doesn't spoon feed the reader with her opinions on the subject. The reader is allowed to make up their own mind as to which side they support.
But what didn't sit right with me is, with Elizabeth so concerned about her own life I find it hard that she'd want a witch as a her personal maid. Why take that risk when her sister is looking for any little reason to put her to death? And to take such a risk on a witch that hardly uses her powers too.
Overall, the pace was good, the evil Marcus provided some suspense and the punishments doled out to women accused of being witches at times left me a little squeamish. Unfortunately, the majority of the characters were flat and the story line just wasn't all that interesting. I was assuming that the majority of the book would surround Elizabeth but unfortunately she was a very tertiary character. I would have loved to have been able to get Elizabeth's point of view to make the story well-rounded.
The bulk of the story was carried by Meg. For being a witch Meg wasn't very interesting and I honestly didn't really like her that much. She was naïve and does some rather stupid things that put her and Elizabeth in mortal danger. I guess that Meg is not the heroine that I was expecting and not one that I could truly get behind and support throughout the book.
There was also a romantic element which was sweet but it felt too 'Romeo and Juliet' for me and the male love interest didn't stand out enough for me. I would have expected someone much more vibrant for Meg to think about a romance with a guy with this man's chosen profession.
This book has its pros and cons but despite some of the weaknesses I'm holding out hope that the future books in this trilogy will bring out a lot more of the magical element of the story.
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Meg Lytton is gifted with Magick. Raised as a student by her Aunt Jane, she spends many years perfecting her craft and is summoned to perform rituals to none other than Elizabeth (daughter of Henry VIII). Betrothed to the dangerous Witchfinder Marcus Dent and imprisoned at Woodstock, Meg is constantly threatened by outside forces of evil. With the unexpected arrival of young Spanish priest Alejandro De Castillo, whom she is irresistibly drawn, Meg is torn between her heart and her secret. The constant threat of exposure is never more prominent when Elizabeth is drawn into the web of magick versus God ~ a debate that has been going on for years.
This thrilling tale of deception, danger and desire is simply stunning and contains a perfect balance of young adult/ teen angst within a realistic historical backdrop. The enchanting romance that begins to emerge between Meg and the priest lightens the tone of this otherwise quite serious story, of a time filled with frightening occurrences and ignorance to the unexplained. The main characters innocence is very endearing, even if it does lead her into trouble and the divergence between those of pure heart and the corrupt is very acute. Alejandro is not only Meg's confidant and friend he also proves how strong he feels, by essentially facing danger head on despite the risks and consequences. With a small cast of distinctive, memorable characters this is a tale that you can easily follow and become entangled within. I am very much looking forward to reading the next installment within this magical series, which I presume will focus more on their relationship as Meg grows up into a young lady rather than just the Witchcraft that this book focuses on more.
Book 1 in the Tudor Witch Trilogy is a fantastic historical paranormal read, and something that I would recommend to fans of Philipa Gregory.
*I won a paperback copy of 'Witchstruck' by Victoria Lamb through a Goodreads, First-Read giveaway*