Chantress Alchemy (Chantress Trilogy #2)
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books
Release Day: May 6th 2014
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 continues in a similar vein in this second installment – Lucy is honing her ability for Wild Magic after losing her stone’s powers. She is dedicated to keep her magic strong, so that she can protect herself in her world. When an important artifact related to the Philosopher’s stone goes missing, she is called to Court to investigate and root out the thief. However, her magic starts becoming unreliable, so much that she is forced to resort to cunning to keep her lack of powers a secret from Court. Her one weakness could prove harmful to her, since it is her power alone that keeps her in favor. Most of the book deals with her deflecting the attention of the Chantress-hunter-turned-Counsellor, and her trying to figure out who in the Court can be trusted. Add to it, Nat becomes a prime suspect in the theft and she is determined to prove his innocence. More importantly, she strives to gain her freedom from the Court, a place where they only care about her powers.
The writing was as good as the first, keeping the plot engaging and interesting. The plot touched upon different aspects of magic, like alchemy, scrying as Wild Magic was off limits to Lucy, as well as the fact that in a patriarchal society, the only thing that people see in her is her power. They underestimate her worth and well, that comes to bite them later on. Since it takes place in the Court, we see varied characters added to the plot, some quite ambiguous about their intentions – which makes for a fine guessing game. Nat and Lucy have their ups and downs as usual, and the end left me a little sad. On the subject matter, I feel alchemy was a great addition to the series since it complements the story quite well. A great sequel, and looking forward to further books in the series!
Amy grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and later studied history at Williams College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Oxford. She now lives with her family in England, where she writes, bakes double-dark-chocolate cake, and plots mischief.