Friday, September 13, 2013

[Review: WItchstruck by Victoria Lamb]

Author: Victoria Lamb
Series: The Tudor Witch Trilogy #1
Pages: 304
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Alternate History
Date Published: September 24th, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format Read: eARC provided by the publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.

Sent to the ruined, isolated palace of Woodstock to serve the disgraced Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister of Queen Mary, Meg discovers her skills are of interest to the outcast princess, who is desperate to know if she will ever claim the throne. But Meg's existence becomes more dangerous every day, with the constant threat of exposure by the ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent, and the arrival of a young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo, to whom Meg is irresistibly drawn - despite their very different attitudes to her secret.

Thrilling and fast-paced, this is the first unputdownable story in a bewitching new series.

My Thoughts:

It has come to my attention that I love alternate history in my books.  Witchstruck is yet another shining example of why.  Lamb somehow managed to blend historical events in England as well as characters we know with elements like witches who have actual power.  Meg is as fictional as they come, while we all know that Elizabeth became the actual Queen of England.  The fact is that Lamb writes both of these girls in such a way that they both seem like they were real factual people.  It's so well done that you might find yourself looking through history books to see if there was ever any mention of Meg Lytton.  

There is a lot going on in the pages of this book.  Witches practicing in the secret, dark corners.  Conspiracies that could throw England into a huge fire of rebellion.  Catholics vs The Protestants and the consequences of being caught practicing anything other than Catholicism.  Witch trails and plenty of death to go around.  Lamb paints a world where you have to follow the status quo or be continuously checking your back to make sure no one is there to stab a knife into it.  Or in this case a broadsword or a dagger.  But what is so awesome about this book is it's heart, the heart that shows two girls coming to terms with who they are.

I though Meg was a really strong protagonist.  I like a self assured lead, who doubts things just enough that they feel real and Meg is just that.  She's trying to discover who to trust out of all the people around her and is practicing the dark arts in secret.  Only a few know that she is in fact a witch.  The secret is her burden to bear and yet she never really complains about it.  She's the type that always does the right thing, even when it feels like the wrong one.  Basically she's someone who you would want to be, for the most part.

It was also fun to see the way that Lamb painted Princess Elizabeth.  The would be Queen is only 20 in the book and is still coming to terms with everything that her royalty has bestowed upon her.  She hasn't had that easy of a life so her human reactions to what is happening around and to her really work in this book.  Lamb takes a historical figure and makes her someone that you can relate to.  She pulls her out of the history books and turns her into a real person.  Who knows if it's 100% accurate, and who cares.  I totally dug Elizabeth!

Now, let's talk about Alejandro.  Sure every time I read his name the Lady Gaga song would come to mind, but if this is who she was singing about, I now know why.  The man is pretty darn amazing.  He's close to becoming a Catholic priest and Meg is a witch.  Lamb uses these facts to build some of the sweetest, swoon worthy moments that I've read in a long time.  I found myself excited every time they interacted and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next.  Big points for a swoony, tension filled romance! 

So, to be perfectly corny, I can't help but admit that I was bewitched by Lamb's story of witchcraft and Tutor England.  If you're a fan of witches, swoon worthy romance and English monarchy then this book is for you.  This book was a wonderful start to what is sure to be a great trilogy.  Can I have book two please?

          5 Unicorns = Get your hands on this one now!


Giselle said...

I have never read a book by Lamb but this one sounds really good. I'm a big fan of any book with witches and my favorite are those in historical novels - darker and classic witches if you know what I mean. Meg sounds like a great MC for this story, too. I'll keep this one n mind I hadn't really read up on it before now I'd just seen the cover around. I want to be bewitched too! >.< Corny FTW!

Eileen said...

I usually don't really enjoy most historical fictions, but I feel like I should change that outlook with how many raving reviews that historical fiction books like Witchstruck has been getting. I love how the characters were both so well done, even though they sound like totally different characters. Diversity is always good though, especially when it comes to the characters and the romance :)

Fantastic review, Christianna! <33 I'm so happy you loved this one!

Nicole said...

"Sure every time I read his name the Lady Gaga song would come to mind, but if this is who she was singing about, I now know why." Haha you always have some line or other in your reviews that makes me laugh. This is another book that sounds really good. I tend to enjoy every historical fiction book I read and I'd lump alternate history in that category. If you gave it 5 stars this is definitely something I need to read! Great review (again)!

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

Strong lead, historical & swoon worthy romance! Yay! I'm definitely going to be reading this. You know, every time I hear that song now I'll be reminded of that. Haha, great review! :)