In this fast-paced sequel to Witchstruck, Meg Lytton is once again threatened from all sides: court remains dangerous with the Spanish Inquisition sniffing out would-be witches and torturing them, Queen Mary will do anything to sully Lady Elizabeth’s name, and Meg’s relationship with Alejandro has been condemned by the Spanish priests. Not to mention the mysterious dark spirits haunting Hampton Court and Meg’s visions of her old enemy, Marcus Dent. Time is running out, and Meg might not be able to save everyone: Lady Elizabeth. Alejandro. And most of all, herself.
I loved the first book in this series, so when I saw the second on Net Galley I rushed to snatch it up. Thank you so much to the publisher for letting me read it in exchange for a review! Second books in trilogies tend to make me nervous, because they so often act as a bridge between one major event and another–but Witchfall did not disappoint. If anything, I enjoyed it even more than Witchstruck.
What I like most about these books are the historical details that the author weaves in which transport the reader back in time. The way people talk, the way they dress, the straw mattresses they sleep on and the tallow candles they use–everything fits perfectly into Tudor England. It’s difficult to find YA historical novels that get this right, and it’s so refreshing to delve into books that have been well-researched and executed.
The characters were just as enchanting as last time–Lady Elizabeth with her alternating kindness and entitlement, Alejandro with his sweet battle between what he thinks is right and what he loves, and Meg with her determination and loyalty. There are a few new additions this time around–Richard, Master Dee’s apprentice, and Alice Upton, a new lady’s maid (who, by the way, earns the distinction of being the only minor character with my last name I’ve ever run across–unless you count Mrs. Upton in A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones, but her name was only mentioned in passing).
My only complaint about this book is that the ending seemed a bit rushed. The book is only 340 pages long or so, and given the monster books published in YA these days, I felt like this book could have been longer to let the story develop a little better when it came to the end.
I’m not complaining too much, though–this book is well-written and suspenseful. With its elements of history, romance, and fantasy, it’s sure to appeal to anyone. I can’t wait for the final installment.