The Enchantress of Lynniah is a fantasy novel set in times of horse drawn carriages. The book follows three sisters who have recently lost their mother and move in with their aunt. While living with her, they find that the flowers, plants, animals and pretty much everything around them has magic properties.
Their aunt suddenly leaves for an unexpected trip and they are left with a family friend, her two sons, and very little answers as to what kind of world they have entered. When one of the girls is kidnapped, the other two embark on an adventure to bring her back. During this adventure they meet up with unlikely allies, and begin to discover that they have magic powers of their own.
I like reading books that have a solid ending. This book had a good ending. It gave some teasers of things to come, and had some unanswered questions, but it can be read as a stand alone and you feel satisfied. There is definitely some finality to the ending.
I want to start my review by saying how much I love the cover art! It makes you wonder what on earth is inside this book. It is definitely eye catching, and I needed to mention it.
The Enchantress of Lynniah begins with an action packed prologue that captured me. I wanted to know more about the characters, the magic, and the world that they lived in.
After the prologue, the book seemed to move pretty slowly and took a while to really hook me. Looking back on the book I think this was probably intentional. There were three sisters, a servant, an aunt, a friend with two sons, and a world filled with different creatures. Bawden slowed the plot down to make time for character development. In the end I was glad that I understood the characters, and had some kind of connection to them because when the plot does pick up, even more characters come into play. If we started full pace into the adventure I think I would have felt a little lost, like in the Hobbit when you're trying to keep all the dwarfs straight.
I liked the different creatures that were part of the story. It seems like Bawden has an unending source for fun fantasy creatures in her mind. The one downside to this is that I think the girls would have questioned their surroundings more and not been so surprised to find that their aunt was an enchantress after having spent time in Lynniah.
One theme that could probably have been played down a bit was the damsel in distress cliche. I know the girls are in a new world, and just discovering their magic, but I would have liked to see them do a little more with their powers, and rely a little less on the men to defend them. I'm hoping that I will see this more in The Journey Into Shadows. On the upside I really did like Danu, probably my favorite character in the book. She did some serious butt kicking!
I'm not a fan of love triangles. In most cases you know who the girl is going to end up picking, so it seems like it would be more romantic, or at least more loyal, if she just picked him right off the bat. Having said that, I know it is a popular theme in YA books so I need to get over it. This particular love triangle is actually pretty interesting. In the end of the book I'm not completely sure who Corrah will end up with, and she hasn't been stringing either one along with false expectations. So in that way it is actually a nice twist.
Overall this was a good clean fantasy story. It had well developed characters, fun new creatures/plants/foods and a dangerous adventure.
Note: I was given a pre-release copy to review and asked to focus on the story. I haven't taken editing, or word choice into consideration with my review of this book.