Author: Victoria Lamb
Series: Tudor Witches #1
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Published: 5th July 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher
Amazon (UK/US) | Book Depository | Fishpond
First SentenceWhen the power falls on me, it buzzes in the warm, dark spaces of my skull.
Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.
Sent to the ruined, isolated palace of Woodstock to serve the disgraced Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister of Queen Mary, Meg discovers her skills are of interest to the outcast princess, who is desperate to know if she will ever claim the throne. But Meg’s existence becomes more dangerous every day, with the constant threat of exposure by the ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent, and the arrival of a young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo, to whom Meg is irresistibly drawn – despite their very different attitudes to her secret.
My first thought when I’d heard about this book back when Victoria first followed me on Twitter was: Oh god I need this book in my life! I love the Tudor history period, and I love Witchy things. Combine the two and you have a book that is more or less designed for my personal enjoyment. Seconded? Then you perhaps don’t need to read any more before going straight off to your chosen book store to purchase.
Witchstruck follows the first person narrative of a young witch called Meg Lytton as she goes into service as maid to the Princess Elizabeth while she remains imprisoned within the ruined palace of Woodstock. The first thing I noticed in this book was Elizabeth being somehow involved in the witchcraft, not on an active level, but she’s definitely interested which is a dangerous stance for an imprisoned royal to take. It immediately added a sense of impending danger to the novel which makes you want to keep reading. The second thing was the atmosphere Victoria has created. It’s immersive and the only way I can really describe it is kind of like a dark fog creating a sense of mystery and foreboding. I felt as though I was well within my comfort zone reading Witchstruck and I loved that about it.
I have to admit to not enjoying the ending as much as the beginning and I can’t even put my finger on why, it just fell flat for me. It could be because, after all, this is a young adult novel and I usually prefer adult fiction, or maybe because I was only able to read it in small chunks while my dad was visiting and would have read a lot better in one sitting. I don’t really know but it’s worth making your own mind up. I also noticed a couple of inconsistencies throughout though they didn’t affect my enjoyment of Witchstruck at all because at the end of the day it’s a historical fantasy, but I don’t believe Tudor witches would have known who Hecate was with her being an ancient Greek goddess, and “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” wasn’t in the Bible until the 1600’s when the King James Bible came into being.
Even so, there is a lot going on so the novel doesn’t get boring, there’s a lot of foreboding as danger is constantly imminent and Victoria has done a fantastic job of portraying how dark these times were. Not just for accused witches but also for non-Catholics and rebels to the crown. She has encaptured the spirit of this alternate history fantastically and I urge you to give Witchstruck a read.
Take a look at my interview with Victoria Lamb here.
The Tudor Witch trilogy: