Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review: Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb

Title: Witchstruck (Tudor Witch Trilogy #1)
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. 

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.
Review by Nara

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.

Liked it

Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5


  1. I got an e-copy from Netgalley, so I'll be reading this one soon. It sounds like a book I'll enjoy :D! Great review.


    1. It is quite good! I mean, apart from the shaky romance and ending. But it's definitely worth reading, especially if you like historical novels :)

  2. I almost borrowed this from the library the other day. I'm not sure if I'd like it, though; I really dislike overly convenient resolutions to problems in the fiction I read.

    1. Don't worry, that convenient resolution wasn't so bad that it overshadowed the rest of the plot! It was just a slight annoyance at the end! I'd still say that it's worth giving a read.

  3. I'm not sure if I want this one... I know a lot about that time period, just because when I was younger I read a lot of historical novels that all were about Elizabeth in some way. It sounds like a fun read (although I don't like the sound of that ending) but not what I'm looking for right now. Glad you enjoyed it though!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. That's understandable! I guess there are times at which you just don't want to read particular books :)

  4. I don't read much historical fic that has magical elements in it but I do love historical fic and wizards and stuff by it's own so I am curious about picking this up soon!

    Fab review, Nara! <33

    1. I don't think there really are that many historical books with magic in them! I mean, there probably are, but I can't really think of any that aren't Steampunk...
      Thanks Mel :D


  5. Yay for Historical! I love historical novels, the ones that stick truly with Historical events or that resonate even slightly. I guess it's interesting to have a fantasy twist, but I'm not much of a fan of witches and the lots.
    The bit where you pointed out about political intrigue sounds interesting though!
    And yikes if the romance moves too quickly >< It never works for me when that happens and it is unjustified.
    I'm glad you enjoyed this one though! Great review Nara :D

    1. I don't really read many historical novels, but I feel like I'm going to have to start reading some more, because I actually really like them. Then again, if I think about it, there really aren't any genres that I particularly dislike haha. I MUST READ ALL THE GENRES!
      The romance is justified a bit at the end, I guess, but it's probs not quite what I would have liked. I would say it's still good overall though :)

  6. Okay, I am SUPER curious about how you get your ratings.

    At the top, you've given it 3.76, which is MIGHTY specific. Then down below, it has individual ratings for different factors on a scale of 5, and an overall rating on a scale of 10. I actually did try doing math with the individual ones to come out with the 7/10 and the 3.76. Can you explain? I'm so curiousssss!

    1. haha the top one is actually just the general one from goodreads (the one that's just the average of everyone's ratings). I should probably make that more clear, hey.

      And the individual ones out of 5 vs the overall one out of 10 are actually all independent of each other! I mean, mostly they're going to match up- if I give all 4s, likely to be a 8 out of 10 overall, but sometimes they don't. For example, if a book has AMAZING world building but crappy characters and plot, the overall score still might be really high, because I value world building quite highly compared to other factors.
      It's just whatever I feel like, really :)

    2. Thanks for explaining! Now the GR thing makes sense. Haha.

      Do you use base 10 rather than a consistent 5 to show that the ratings are entirely separate? Sounds like the base 10 is an emotional rating, and the others aim for objectivity?

    3. I hadn't thought of it like that, but I guess so!

      I just do 10 for overall because it's kind of hard to really show where you stand on a book if you do only 5 (I think you do half stars as well, so I guess you understand there)

    4. And I do 10 because I don't really like giving 0.5s (as in, I like whole numbers :P) But you can see that I get really indecisive and end up giving 0.5s for the out of 5 categories anyway haha

  7. "I'm really not much of a history person. Except mythology- I love my mythology!" - Same here! You know you're a bookworm when you say that, haha. Love anything historical that isn't realistic fiction. (Unless it's WWII.) What can I say? Fantasy is much more interesting than real life. ;)

    But it looks like the "historical" part of the book worked in its favor! I'm all for anything that makes the events more realistic. I like that the author used actual events and put her own twist on it, even though this book seemed more protagonist-centered than anything else. And nooooo! The MC has the same name as me! Darn.

    Ah, leave it to the romance to screw things up. I hate it when the author decides to put timeskips everywhere, and then before you know it, the couple of kissing, because APPARENTLY months went by, but I as the reader never felt it. That kind of thing feels almost like intsa-love for me, because like you said: we don't get to see much development in the romance. LOL. Lady Gaga's song totally played in my head when I saw the love interest's name!

    "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..." - Are these things horrible in the sense that they're cruel and gory? Or just pure ridiculous? Villains need to be villains in order for me to enjoy a book - not just petty guys who go on a killing spree just for the fun of it. That's why so many baddies are so shallow in my opinion.

    So apart from the unsatisfying ending and the not-so-great romance, I'm glad you enjoyed this overall. I was tempted to request this when I saw on NG, but then when my staggering pile of September ARCs, I decided I shouldn't. I love the colors on the cover, though - so bright and colorful. *O* Great review!

    1. YESSS MYTHOLOGY! Just love it. Especially when authors put a nice twist on it, like Percy Jackson or Antigoddess. Haha definitely, fantasy is the best :D

      There seem to be a lot of books with characters named Meg these days..actually just two, but that's still a lot, relatively speaking :P Yep, this book is very MC centred- hopefully the sequels have a lot more about the anti-Catholic movement!

      HAHAHA oh god, now I have that song stuck in my head.

      Horrible as in rapey and abusive :/ This villain is pretty shallow in the sense that he's just messed up. There doesn't really seem to be a motive for his actions except that he hates witches for some reason.

  8. You know, this is the first I'm hearing of this one. Kind of surprising because I freaking LOVE historical fantasy! (Well, mostly... there have been a few misses here and there). And I've always been fascinated with the anti-witchcraft movement. I think I might like this one. Thanks for putting it on my radar, Nara!

    1. Ooo I don't think I've read that much historical fantasy. Do you have any recs?
      But yeah, this one was pretty good despite the couple of flaws I could pick out :)