A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Chantress is a fantasy that takes place in a world in which magical people and abilities are dying out. The book is set in London in the late 1660s in an alternative timeline, so historical places and people should be taken with a grain of salt. The fantasy violence is scary but bloodless -- kids able to handle Harry Potter will have no trouble here. Romance, in the form of growing attraction and one kiss, is budding and sweet.
What's the story?
Lucy was orphaned at age 8 when, as she was told, a shipwreck took her mother's life and stranded her and Norrie, her guardian, on a remote island. She doesn't know that Norrie is really trying to keep her and her magical chantress abilities safe from those who want to destroy them. However, the call of magic is too much for Lucy to ignore, and giving in to them transports her back to London and right into the heart of danger. As one of the last chantresses remaining, Lucy will need the help of Nat and the Invisible College as well as a lot of training from her godmother, Helaine, if she's going to put an end to the shadowgrims (magical ravens) for good.
Is it any good?
CHANTRESS is an entertaining fantasy with an engaging heroine who'll especially appeal to girls. Amy Butler Greenfield's writing is solid and at its best near the end, when the faster action and pacing make for exciting page turning. Older, more experienced readers will recognize a few clichés here and there. Good and bad characters are easy to recognize, and the outcome is predictable, which keeps the book firmly in the realm of an enjoyable genre piece particularly suited to tweens and younger teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why fantasy novels are so popular. Do the magical elements enhance the story?
Lucy decides that some kinds of safety are not worth having. What kinds of safety do you think she means? Do you agree?
The author changed some events of English history to tell the story she wanted to tell. Is it OK to do that, or should an author stick to the facts?
- Author: Amy Butler Greenfield
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
- Publication date: May 7, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 324
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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For kids who love fantasy and historical novels
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.