Series: Tudor Witch Trilogy #1
Release Date: July 5, 2012
*Disclaimer* I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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 practise 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.
When I started this book, I thought it was pretty good. The writing wasn't bad, the story seemed interesting enough - overall, it seemed promising. Right off the bat I liked the fact that the story was slightly darker and "older YA" than I expected which was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I regretfully report that there weren't too many more pleasant surprises in this one.
There was some insta-love.. okay, maybe insta-like, and sometimes that can work for a book, but it didn't work for this one. I felt no chemistry between the main characters, which made it even harder to believe.
There wasn't much plot movement right in the beginning, which I was okay with because I expected a historical fantasy novel to need some set up. Then there came a point where there still wasn't any plot movement and I couldn't figure out why. The plot, when it did move, was all over the place. It felt like a bunch of random plot points thrown together with no real segue and it was choppy and poorly executed. Some of the events that took place earlier in the book almost seemed to be forgotten after they happened and never really developed later on in the book.
Around the 80% mark, there was a plot resolution and I though to myself, 'okay, it wasn't great, but it was resolved in a way I can say was satisfying, and maybe I'll even read the next one.' Then I realized I still had 20% to go, and there was that much more plot (non)movement to trudge through. Frankly, the book should have ended with the denouement and Lamb should not have tried to add any more to the book, in my opinion. Actually, the last 20% of the book would have been an okay start to the next book. Wait.. strike that. This actually would've been a somewhat better book if it had been a stand-alone. Don't get me wrong, I'm a serial series-ist, but not everything has to be a series people!
I didn't like the characters except for Alejandro who.. again.. the whole insta-like/love thing, so I just couldn't love him. Basically no character development, basically no world building in the sense of getting a feel for the magical world within the "real" one. The plot holes in this regard were just too much to bypass. Maybe these would be things I could easily overlook if I wasn't so bored with the story before the halfway mark.
What I'm getting at, I guess, is that this was not the book for me.
RATING: ★★ 1/2
I am a big fan of historical fiction and obviously a huge fan a fantasy and I had hoped for something a little more intriguing and put together with some world building, too. I didn't get those things. The writing was pretty good and the basic premise was interesting, I just wish it had been executed better. When I finished the book, I was debating on whether I'd finish the series or not, but as I write this review I realize that it really is just not for me and I won't be picking up the next one (even if the UK covers are gorgeous!).
Have any of you read this one yet? What did you think? Agree or disagree? Let me know!