Release Date: 09/24/13
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 on the book:
Okay, I just have to start off saying that I hate the made-up word, "unputdownable." Now that I have that out of my system, I can actually review this title. Witchstruck is a captivating story with a well-developed, suspenseful plot. The characters fall short, and the language isn't that of Tudor England (thankfully), but Lamb did a good job placing the reader in the time period. She clearly did a lot of research before writing this novel, and it paid off. The romance is a little lackluster, but for the time period, it fits perfectly. I would say that this is a solid to this trilogy.
Meg had the potential to be a fascinating character, but instead she was dull and without personality. Now I know people back then couldn't have a lot of personality... at least they couldn't let it show, but she could have been more intriguing. Alejandro was pretty interesting, and I wish we could have known more about him. I also liked Aunt Jane, but again, we didn't get to know her well enough. None of the characters was fully developed, it seemed. I hope this is remedied in the second installment. Yes, it's from Meg's perspective, but it could have been handled better.
The writing was more reminiscent of Victorian lit than Elizabethan list. It wasn't even completely like Victorian lit, though, as the characters used contractions. I don't know if Lamb decided to have her characters speak in a more contemporary colloquial form so that the reader could better understand or if she didn't know how Elizabethan period people spoke. The clergy and royalty especially would have NEVER used a contraction in front of anyone.
Lamb did a lot more telling than showing, and that's what made the characters seem dull, I think. Instead of seeing things through Meg's eyes, Meg relayed the events to us. That really made things a lot less interesting for me. However, the concept kept me involved. The Tudors always make for fascinating subjects, and the book has potential. The plot was solid and ensured that I enjoyed the novel, even though I wasn't a fan of the writing. The pacing was a bit slow at first, but quickly picked up. I just wish that Lamb had shown rather than told.
Overall, if you enjoy historical fiction (that's not authentic), witch tales, and Tudor England, then this book is for you. If you have lukewarm feelings about these things, then you may want to pass this one up.