Chantress Alchemy: Chantress, Book 2



Sequel has less fantasy, less excitement, but more intrigue.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Chantress Alchemy departs a bit further from real 17th-century English history than Chantress did. In the historical note at the end, the author gives a brief explanation of some of the things drawn from real life, such as the Invisible College (which is explained in a bit more detail in the first installment), the study of alchemy, and the introduction of the potato to Europe. No resources are supplied, so kids who are curious will have to do their own research.

Positive messages

You have to do the best with what you have at the time and not spend your life waiting for a more perfect time to do something. Men fear women who have power, usually for no good reason.

Positive role models

Heroine Lucy's now 17, and for most of the story her powers from magical singing have mysteriously disappeared. But she's resourceful and uses investigative skills as well as other kinds of magic to solve the central mystery. She takes calculated risks and trusts her instincts and judgment in learning whom she can trust. Friend and love interest Nat favors taking realistic actions that will pay off better in the long run than relying on magical quick fixes.


Mentions of a past dead body in a pool of blood and blood on knuckles after punching a wall. Lucy has a couple of violent visions in which beheading, slashing with a knife, and spurting blood are mentioned. A villain menacingly implies a threat of physical violence toward his unwilling bride-to-be.


A few ardent kisses are described vaguely, and one kiss on the hand sparks feelings of attraction.


"Damnably" is used once.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Mention of a poppy syrup that takes the edge off pain.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chantress Alchemy picks up a few months after Chantress leaves off. There are fewer fantasy elements (no scary shadowgrims) and fewer ties to actual historical events. Blood is mentioned a few times, and a description of a magical vision includes spurting blood and violent slashing with a knife. There are a few ardent kisses that are described vaguely.

What's the story?

A few months after Lucy saves England and restores its rightful king, she's trying to live a quiet life far from palace politics. Because she's the only chantress left in the world, the king summons her back to his palace when the magical crucible needed to create the Philospher's Stone is stolen. But once she's inside the palace walls, she can no longer hear the music that gives her Wild Magic its power. She'll have to rely on her instincts and figure out who her real friends are to find the crucible in time to save the kingdom.

Is it any good?


CHANTRESS ALCHEMY takes a bit of a turn from some of the elements kids may have enjoyed about its predecessor, Chantress. Fantasy elements take a back seat as heroine Lucy, 17, is unable to use her magic for most of the story. The mystery of who stole the crucible and palace intrigue take the forefront here.

The writing is solid, and the events are well paced to hold the reader's interest, so kids who were entertained by Lucy's adventures in the first volume will enjoy finding out what happens next.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why fantasy books are so popular.  Why do we enjoy them so much?

  • It's mentioned a few times that men fear women who have power. Do you think that's true? Which powerful women, historical or modern, can you think of? What makes them powerful? How were they treated by their societies?

  • The famous Harry Potter series starts out with a quest for the Philosopher's Stone. Are its magical properties the same in that series as in Chantress? Do the characters want it for the same reasons?

Book details

Author:Amy Butler Greenfield
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Great girl role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Margaret K. McElderry
Publication date:May 6, 2014
Number of pages:352
Publisher's recommended age(s):12
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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