Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb

Pages: 320
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: September 24, 2013
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Meg Lytton has always known she is different;that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practice witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne. With witchfinder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg's hand in marriage, and Meg's own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn't a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice. The Secret Circle meets The Other Boleyn Girl in Witchstruck ,the first book of the magical Tudor Witch trilogy."
Meg serves Lady Elizabeth Tudor (as in the future Queen Elizabeth I) while she lives pretty much as a prisoner, thanks to Queen Mary's distrust of her.  It's the 16th Century and witchcraft is against the law, especially in Mary's Catholic England. Many young women have been put to death from practicing witchcraft whether they were actually witches or not.  This directly impacts Meg's world as she is an actual witch and her aunt as well.  Elizabeth knows of Meg's powers and is greatly intrigued by this as she wants to know what her future holds: will Elizabeth become queen or die here at Woodstock Palace and never see court again?  The girls must be careful, because Marcus Dent, also known as England's best witchfinder as well as a vile human being, is interested in asking for Meg's hand in marriage.  (If only he knew she were a witch! The irony!) Also, Queen Mary sends Catholic priests as well as priests-in-training to watch over Elizabeth's household and make sure they are abiding by the Catholic faith.  Enter Alejandro de Castillo, a good looking and heroic priest-in-training whom Meg instantly connects with.  Can she trust him though? What will happen if she is caught practicing witchcraft? Victoria Lamb's Witchstruck is a fun paranormal romp through 16th Century Tudor England and the start to a promising new trilogy for fans of fantasy, historical fiction and romance.

I can't say that I connected with Meg instantly in Witchstruck as I felt throughout the entire book she made dumb choices.  Like she knew that practicing witchcraft would find her hanging from a noose, but she still made careless errors and didn't cover her trail completely.  I felt badly for her when it came to her family as she doesn't have much support other than her aunt who is training her in all things witchy.  To make matters worse regarding her family, they are behind a conspiracy regarding Elizabeth, which complicates matters tremendously for Meg.  Also, I could totally feel her pain regarding Marcus Dent, the witchfinder. He is pretty much a horrible person and the evil villain we all LOVE to hate.  The fact that her father wants her to marry him just makes things even worse for Meg and the sections of Witchstruck that involved Marcus literally made my skin crawl. Ugh.

On the other hand, Meg's love interest with Alejandro in Witchstruck was definitely intriguing as it was the whole forbidden love type of relationship.  I am definitely a fan of Alejandro though as he isn't your average priest in training. The entire time I was wondering how on earth their relationship would work?  Like I said, he is going to be a priest and she is a witch!! That's some major drama right there. 

The setting of Tudor England was done well and I liked Lamb's incorporation of magic/witchcraft. I think it added to the suspense of Meg's story as well as Elizabeth's.  We all know what happens with the whole Queen Mary/Elizabeth situation, but adding in the element of magic brought something special to the story of Witchstruck.  However, I must say that there were many "unbelievable" escapes throughout the book which were a little hard to swallow for me, but I struggle with this quite frequently when reading fantasy novels. As I have said before, the author of a fantasy needs to make me believe it (J.K. Rowling, I'm looking at you!) and Lamb didn't quite achieve that at all times.

Nonetheless, Witchstruck was a delight read. I love historical fiction + magic. For me, the combination always makes for a captivating story. I definitely plan on checking out book two of the Tudor Witch trilogy, Witchfall, which comes out this March.

12 comments:

  1. I hope I will like this book when I read it for review. The story feels very familiar. It seems like a combination of Chantress and Maid of Secrets.

    I like the concept of Tudor history and magic and hopefully the main character will not annoy me very much!

    I agree that it can be difficult to buy into stories about magic sometime if the author doesn't sell it well :)

    Great review!

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    1. Oh, really? I haven't read Chantress or Maid of Secrets, but I remember reading the synopsis for Chantress -- they sound similar! I love Tudor history, so you know this was right up my alley, even though it was a little light on the historical aspect. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this book. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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    2. I think you might like Chantress and Maid of Secrets. The latter is a straightforward historical novel about female spies in the Tudor court posing as Queen Elizabeth's maids.

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    3. Ohhh....it does sound like something I'd enjoy. I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  2. Aside from some of the dumb decisions Meg makes, this book sounds awesome Christina! I'm particularly interested in Marcus, I do so love to hate a good villain, and anyone that makes your skin crawl is someone I want to read about. That sounds a little twisted, but I love those kinds of characters! I think I might wait to read this until book 2 comes out just so I don't have to wait, but I'm excited to give it a try:)

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    1. It was really enjoyable and you are right...Marcus is a "good" villain that I LOVED to hate. :) I hope you do get to read this book! Thanks for visiting, Jenny!

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  3. I really loved this book! I got it on a whim and I'm so glad that I did. Seriously, I loved how she incorporated history and fiction so seamlessly! Great review!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear to hear you really liked this book. Thanks for dropping by, Christianna!

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  4. Hmm, I think this isn't for me. Though I love that colorful cover, I'm not really a historical fan and I can't stand heroines who make ALL the dumb choices :P

    I'm glad you enjoyed it, though. Great review!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Celine, and I agree...the cover is brilliant!

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  5. It's too bad you didn't quite connect with the lead character. There's nothing that could turn me off more than my inability to connect. I hope your next read will be better.

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    1. Although I didn't connect with Meg, I thought the story was entertaining overall. Thanks for visiting!

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