Author: Victoria Lamb
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Magic
Release Date: 24th September, 2013
Source: Harlequin Teen via NetGalley
Goodreads | The Reading Room
If she sink, she be no witch and shall be drowned. If she float, she be a witch and must be hanged.Review by Nara
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.
To be quite honest, I really don't know that much about England in the 1500s (I'm really not much of a history person. Except mythology- I love my mythology!) but I almost think I could accept this story as being the actual accounting of history, had it not been for the magic aspect. It just seemed quite realistic- I think the events in the novel do line up with the actual historical events- e.g. Wyatt's rebellion and the imprisonment of Elizabeth I. It was interesting how Lamb included these famous events in the novel- with a twist of magic, of course. Also in line with actual history, the political intrigue aspect of the plot was rather interesting. I really hope this is pursued further in the other two novels in the trilogy, because I feel that this first novel was more so focused on Meg herself and her struggles to hide her identity as a witch. I would have liked to see a bit more about the rebellion/anti-Catholic movement.
I think the romance, overall, was a bit lacking. I feel like it just moved a bit too quickly. There wasn't really a chance for it to properly build up. There was an insta-attraction (different from instalove) but then there were a few timeskips and things that meant that we didn't really get a chance to really see the development from attraction to love. And while I could definitely see why Meg was attracted to Alejandro (we can observe the reasons behind her attraction, seeing as though we're in her head), it was kind of hard to tell why the feelings were reciprocated. I don't think Alejandro really vocalises these feelings, or even explains the reasons behind why he helps Meg, until the very end of the book- which is why, for the most part, the romance was a little bit shaky. Although, I must admit, the lack of a love triangle is pretty appealing (there are semi-love triangles, but I don't think they really count).
The villain was absolutely hideous. Marcus Dent was a middle aged witch hunter who, for some reason, is infatuated with Meg (I feel this really wasn't explained that well- although I guess it might just be because she's a young female. Don't know...) And Jesus, this guy was just terrible. Had I been Meg, I would seriously have been tempted to stab him in the jugular, or at least give him a good kick in the nuts to make sure he can't ever father children. The things he does...
There's this massive climax scene near the end- I don't think it's a spoiler to say that, basically, Meg gets caught and is about to be thrown into the water to see whether she sinks or floats. I also don't think it's a spoiler to say she gets out of the situation. Don't worry, I won't say exactly how, except to make a note that it was such a copout. The way she dealt with it was just too easy and too convenient...
Overall, Witchstruck was quite an enjoyable read- I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a historical novel with a twist of magic.