Thursday, January 2, 2020

Review: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Sorcery of Thorns
by Margaret Rogerson
Release Date: June 4th 2019
2019 Margaret K. McElderry Books
Kindle Edition; 456 Pages
ISBN: 978-1481497619
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars


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.

My Thoughts
Sorcery of Thorns is one of those books to which I would be immediately drawn: it is about magical books, the setting takes place in buildings that are mysterious and are pretty much libraries, and there is a system of magic that is unique and different.  While I am not a huge fan of YA literature, I truly did enjoy this novel from beginning to end, and was somewhat disappointed to learn this was a standalone as I became quite involved in the lives of the main characters and would love to read more about their adventures.  But it is what it is.

First of all, I thought Elisabeth was a great character and really enjoyed her personality.  She was tough, but not mean, going after what she wanted, but still thought about others and their needs.  She has grown up in a library and has always wanted to be a warden, someone who protects the kingdom from the power of books if they are provoqued into transforming into monsters that could destroy entire towns or villages.  Some of the books are very much alive and could do some very bad things, which is quite an interesting concept in this book.  When an attack one night goes badly, Elisabeth is sent away, under the protection of Nathanial Thorn and his demon Silas, and a host of new adventures happen to this trio who eventually work together to discover what is actually happening at the libraries and what was behind the attack that sent Elisabeth away.  Silas is by far my favourite character in this novel and I love how the author developed his personality as she explained the bond between Nathanial and Silas and how the magic system worked.  Nathanial is part of an old magical family who pass down their demons from one generation to the next which helps keep the bond between the family and the demon intact.  Having a demon loose upon the world would not be a good thing for the people.  And the author gives the reader a good glimpse as to the chaos that could arise if such a thing were to happen.  Anyhow, the characters were complex, interesting, sarcastic, fascinating, and intriguing, and I was invested in all of them but for different reasons. 

The plot was extremely fast which didn't really bother me too much except that you didn't really get to absorb a scene before you were thrust right into the next one.  Right from the beginning Elisabeth is defending her library against an evil book monster and someone who betrays them, and is then sent away to prove her innocence and is thrust right into some major conflicts in the city so the action just keeps right on going.  The author does a great job explaining the magic system as well as the people involved so there is little confusion as to who is who and what is what. I think the only issue I really had was the lack of world-building. I really felt there should have, and could have, been more details given about the world as they were a bit disjointed and murky which is why when the plot slowed down towards the middle, it also seemed a bit disjointed and murky. Luckily, there were only a couple spots where this happened and the plot and flow picked up rather nicely again. I began to root for Nathanial and Elisabeth right away, but not necessarily as a romantic couple, just as friends as she desperately needed someone on her side who believed in her and who believed that something terrible was happening.  I thought all of the twists and turns worked out rather well, and I liked how the author faced the dark pasts of the characters without flinching and allowed them to explore their feelings and what they were dealing with on their own terms, some of which I don't think is quite fully resolved, leading me a very faint hope there may yet be a sequel to this book.

Sorcery of Thorns was a well-written book about two people who needed to help each other discover what they could truly be and who they really are.  I enjoyed the twists and turns and thought the action was a lot of fun. The idea of magical books and libraries was interesting and I liked how the author treated the books.  (I was actually getting sentimental over a book sacrificing itself towards the end.) I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves books (!!) and a fun tale involving a boy, a girl, and my favourite demon, Silas.  To the author, please, please, please write a sequel!!