Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Publication date: 13 June 2019
Genre: YA fantasy
Page count: 464 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I was provided with a digital review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler-free review.
I was captivated by the cover of Rogerson’s debut, An Enchantment of Ravens, but was ultimately lukewarm on the book itself. Despite this, I perked up when I heard about the release of Sorcery of Thorns. Not only does Sorcery have a great cover as well, it sounded like my exact cup of tea where Enchantment did not — who doesn’t love sword-wielding librarians, sentient grimoires, and sassy magicians? I’m so pleased to say that I really, really enjoyed Sorcery of Thorns and am so happy I gave her writing another chance.
All sorcerers are evil.
Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
You know what I haven’t done in awhile? Read a book that’s just pure fun. That’s what Sorcery gave me — pure fun. I read the majority of this book while I was stuck at home with a cold and it’s the perfect read for a sick day. It reminded me in many ways of The Princess Bride — the ultimate sick day film — with it’s swaggering hero and delightful banter. Although it has some dark moments — it does, after all, feature a necromancy and conspiracy — I found this book to be an absolute delight. If you’re a little burned out on super grim fantasy books, I couldn’t recommend this one more highly.
The characters are at the heart of what makes this book so fun. I absolutely loved their relationships and the connections they forge as the story progresses. I will admit that Elizabeth was probably my least favourite of our three main characters though. It took me awhile to warm up to her and she initially came across as, ahem, not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. I understand that she grew up in isolation and didn’t have a lot of worldly experience, however I still had trouble connecting with her until the second half of the book. Although I’m not often a huge fan of YA heroes, I found Nathaniel totally charming and delightful.
However, one character stole the show for me, and that was Silas. The demonic servant who takes on the form of an adorable fluffy white cat (a reference to Mogget from Sabriel, perhaps?)? The quiet, non-human caretaker who looks after our bumbling humans from the shadows? Of course he was my favourite character. I would love a novella that takes place before Sorcery of Thorns that just follows Silas. Actually, I’d love a whole spin-off series about Silas. More Silas is required.
I was so surprised and impressed by Sorcery of Thorns. If you didn’t enjoy An Enchantment of Ravens but like the sound of this book, I’d highly encourage you to pick it up. Sorcery of Thorns is the perfect book to read in a single sitting — you’ll tumble into the pages and lose yourself in the story.
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