Series: The Tudor Witch Trilogy #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 24, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
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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 practise 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.
Witchstruck is one of those books that was interesting enough plot/setting-wise, but I didn’t feel connected to the characters. For me, characters are really the most important things about a book; you can have the most intricate, fascinating plot out there, but if I’m not connected to the characters, I won’t keep reading. Witchstruck had fine characters, they just didn’t really resonate with me.
Meg Lytton is a witch in a time when witches are drowned, burned, and otherwise tortured in horrifying ways. Fortunately, she serves Tudor Princess Elizabeth, who has been imprisoned by her Catholic sister, and so Meg has some protection. However, witch finder Marcus Dent (an unwelcome suitor of Meg’s) is intent on getting Meg to marry him, even though he knows she’s a witch, and he’ll stop at nothing to manipulate her. A young Spanish Priest, Alejandro de Castillo who is sent to pray for and teach Princess Elizabeth, begins taking a surprising interest in Meg, though he too knows what she is.
So obviously there’s a lot of secrecy and high stakes here, since Meg could easily be caught and burned at the stake. Marcus Dent is a sufficiently creepy, heinous antagonist that you immediately hate. Meg is neither here nor there; she’s not a terribly interesting person. Indeed, it’s difficult to discern where her values and motivations lie. She knows she puts everyone in danger by doing witchcraft, but she does it anyway. The witchcraft itself is not terribly interesting either. In a world where Harry Potter has given such vibrant life to magic, it’s difficult to read about magic that is mostly described as “she did a spell”. Or “she made the circle”. I get that all magic isn’t as zany and colorful as HP, but the magic here was hardly interesting.
I didn’t mind the romance between Meg and the Spanish Priest. I wished that he had a back story of something to the effect of his mother had been a witch who had been burned at the stake, which is why he’s so sympathetic to Meg. That would have been a stronger motivation. As it was, he seemed worried about her immortal soul, but not worried enough to not want to kiss her. It was just an incongruent relationship to me. It’s possible that this is discussed in greater detail in the next book, but in this one, it was fairly underdeveloped.
This would probably be an interesting read for someone who really enjoys the Tudor time period (although I can’t speak to the book’s historical accuracy). It moved fairly quickly, and it was a very complicated time in history, politically and religiously speaking. So again, Witchstruck’s strength is in it’s plot, not necessarily it’s characters and their relationships.
This book is part of my NetGalley Challenge and my TBR Challenge.