Thank you Harlequin TEEN for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was really excited when I heard about Witchstruck. A historical fiction novel set in Tudor England--with witches--and it's young adult! The cover is gorgeous; I just knew I'd like the story. Looking back I kind of think I was building it up in my head a little too much. Sometimes (being the book obsessed lady I am) my expectations grow and grow and then I realize I'm a little disappointed because, although I liked the book, I didn't love love love it like I thought I would. I'll let you decide if my expectations were unfairly high, or if it was just a good novel (with a few elements short of being great)?
I had a really hard time with the first part of the book. I really struggled with getting to know Meg and who she was as a person and a witch. I felt the initial bonding period that usually occurs in the novel was sort of skimmed. It didn't help that Meg's "boss" Princess Elizabeth (Meg helps the princess while she's at Woodstock as a sort of poor version of a lady-in-waiting) was a stone cold bee-yatch. I actually kind of hated her until about 3/4 of the way through. And I didn't soften up with Meg until about 30% into the story. For me that's a really long time to be pretty much apathetic about the MC. I'm not gonna lie, I almost DNF this book. I had to stop for like 2 whole days and try to convince myself to continue because I just had such high hopes for it and I didn't want to give up! So I had issues with Meg and Elizabeth; and Blanche (Elizabeth's other servant/helper woman) was so hateful and mean to Meg I just didn't like her. That was fine, I don't mind disliking side characters but then wham at the end she turns nice to Meg. Out of nowhere. I need motive, people! WHY are you suddenly nice to Meg when you've been nothing but mean to her the entire book? What changed your mind about Meg? I didn't have a problem with Blanche changing her feelings toward Meg, in fact I liked it, I just needed to know why
she changed them.
Now, onto the good. Witchstruck has a lot of good strong points. Most of these occur after the first chunk of story I was referring to where I felt only apathy and confusion. So after the first 1/3 or so, we get hottie Alejandro who strolls into Meg's life at Woodstock. Alejandro is a priest in training, from Spain. He carries a sword, he's hot, and makes Meg feel all tingly and hot and bothered. Oh mama. He's a keeper. Not gonna lie, I picked the book back up solely because I wanted to see what would happen with him (Would he keep Megs secret? Is he a spy)? He was just so charming and chivalrous! *daydreams*
Besides the wonder that was Alejandro, I also really liked the setting and overall feel of the novel. I just love English historical fiction. There's nothing more dramatic or juicy than the Tudor era. The dresses and old buildings and castles all make for lovely setting and I really thought the descriptions were stellar. The fear of being a young woman during those times is really chilling. I felt super scared at the position Meg was in during the novel as a young witch. How terrifying it must've been to live back then!
The ending was pretty satisfying. I am sort of confused as to why it is as complicated as Meg makes it out to be (I think Alejandro is too). But I'm not going to elaborate-- you have to decide for yourself. I sort of feel like it ended that way to perpetuate the conflict of the plot, which sort of is a pet peeve of mine. Lets just say, it was unclear and not proven well WHY Meg decided what she decided (or hesitated, you could say). And because it was unclear, I feel it isn't valid therefore doesn't make sense and *throws hands in air* All I can say is I hope it gets resolved in the sequel!
So overall I enjoyed reading Witchstruck very much. Although I had some problems with the first part of the book, the story redeemed itself. I did eventually grow fond of Meg and Elizabeth, and I look forward to reading the sequel.