Witchstruck is a highly imaginative young adult fantasy, set in the dark era of 16th century England. The story follows young Meg, who works in service of banished Tudor princess Elizabeth. Meg is a witch and proud of her powers, but she lives in time when practicing witchcraft is punished with death, so she can never be too careful. Witchfinder Marcus Dent wants to marry her and her own family is plotting against Queen Mary, and as if she didn't have enough problems, Meg meets young Alejandro, who seems to be a mystery on his own.
I haven’t read much historical fiction set in Tudor England before, but I loved the historical background to this story. I’m from central Europe and the time of inquisition is a dark stain on our European history. We’ll never know how many women were accused of practicing witchcraft and consequently drowned or burned, but the numbers go up to 50.000 and more. I was instantly interested by this historical concept of Witchstruck and it didn’t disappoint. A big part of this book is about witch hunts, political intrigue and conspiracies. And when Meg falls in love with soon-to-be catholic priest Alejandro, there’s also a forbidden love.
The story was constantly so intense, I could hardly stop myself from reading. It was action-packed with so many things going on at all times, it never got boring. Twist and turns always made me wanting more, because they were so unexpected. There was no way to predict how the story will continue and ultimately, end. The world building was rich and it created a mysterious, thrilling atmosphere. I was devouring every page of this book!
I loved the main characters, especially Meg and Alejandro. They’re such a sweet couple, Meg sometimes stubborn and acting childish, but I guess it was understandable under the occasions. She was no damsel in distress and she relied on her own powers. Elizabeth wasn’t that likeable, being the proud heir to the throne, she didn’t hide her wish to be a Queen one day. Marcus Dent was a great villain, smart and ruthless, he was very scary and easy to hate.
Witchstruck wasn’t perfect but it came very close for me. I wanted to read more about witchcraft Meg was practicing and some details fell a little flat. Still, I think this book is a hidden gem that deserves much more readers and higher ratings, so if you like YA historical fiction and magic, I really recommend it. I can’t wait to start book two and see how the story continues!
*I received this book from publisher via NetGalley for an honest review - thank you!*