Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Release Date: 4th June 2019
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.
In a rush? Scroll down to the bottom to read my snapshot thoughts!
‘For all the girls who found themselves in books.’
Okay, so, I loved this book. I fully, totally loved this book, in that way that serves as a reminder of why I love reading so much.
Going in, I knew that I would probably like the library aspect, working in libraries myself, and having spent a lot of time in them growing up. Having a main character raised as a child of a magical library was always going to appeal to me, but I didn’t expect the book to be what it was – an homage to the kids who were raised by books. Having that be a superpower in its own right was just so wonderful to read.
The writing in this book is achingly good, too. It perfectly sets the differing atmospheres, from gloomy to suspenseful, to magical. It complemented the premise so perfectly, and I know it’s cliche to say, but reading it gave me major Harry Potter vibes. The book itself is more character focused than Harry Potter, but it gave me all the magical nostalgia and fuzzy feelings that that series always did, as well as standing strong on its own.
‘When terrible things have happened to you, sometimes the promise of something good can be just as frightening.’
I enjoyed Elizabeth’s character a lot. She had heart and courage, but also didn’t bear the struggles stacked against her with an emotional stoicism that many ‘strong female characters’ do. Her motivations made sense to me, and I felt I could understand her, even if I wouldn’t have made the choices she did. Her choices also weren’t dictated to her by the men around her, as she constantly takes initiative and makes her own decisions, with guidance from others.
Nathaniel was a delight, his personality a complete contrast to Elizabeth. Nathaniel is the posh, manicured, bisexual, sarcastic remaining member of the famous Thorn family, a house of sorcerers dating back for generations. He’s the perfect amount of witty without seeming that the author is trying to hard, and not tipping into the territory of just being plain rude. I often have trouble with that, but Margaret Rogerson actually made me laugh out loud at his dialogue and warm up to him instantly.
Silas is Nathaniel’s demon, bound to serve him in exchange for years of his life, and to exist in the mortal world. His character was exactly my type of character. He was fascinating. I loved that he was soft and mild on the outside, but you are constantly reminded of his darker side, of the parts of him that are just unapologetically evil. He has a well-shielded heart and a sort of exasperated tolerance for the humans he is tasked to protect, and I just adore him.
I’m not usually too much of a sucker for romance, but I do love a good slow-burn, and this hit that craving perfectly. The relationship between Nathaniel and Elizabeth is so frustrating and painful and passionate in the way that good slow-burns are. I actually yelled out loud more than once when I thought it was going to happen, and then it was just pulled that little further out of reach. I love pain!
As you can see, I loved everything about this book. The writing was beautiful, the characters were precious, the romance was top-tier, and the humour was spot on. But, I have to say that the premise itself is probably one of the main reasons I loved this book so much. It made me feel so lucky to be a reader.
I’m so excited to find out what Margaret Rogerson comes out with next, and to pick up her debut An Enchantment of Ravens.
IF YOU LIKE:
- Characters you can totally root for.
- Slow-burn romances.
- An exasperated demon trying to stop his humans from getting themselves killed.
- Witty banter done brilliantly.
Then this book is for you!
IF YOU DON’T LIKE:
- Romances that develop slowly.
- Perhaps a slower read in general.
- More focused fantasy, in terms of setting and cast.
Then maybe give it more thought before you pick this book up.
I’m so happy I read this book, and even two weeks later as I’m formatting this post, I’m still riding the high of reading it. Please pick it up if you have the chance!
Have you read A Sorcery of Thorns? Please let me know and we can chat!