All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Sorcery Of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

on August 15, 2022

Sorcery Of Thorns
Margaret Rogerson
McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)
2019, 453p
Personal purchased copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}: 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. 

I really enjoyed this.

I almost read this so many times when I had a free membership to Scribd back in 2020 – they offered a free month or maybe two to everyone during those very early days of the pandemic and I read a few books on there. I looked at this one multiple times but I always ended up choosing something else. I think that was during the time I read all 9 of the Chronicles of Ixia by Maria V. Snyder.

Recently this book came up on my radar again – I read a few reviews and saw one booktuber praising it as one of her new all-time favourites so I decided to give it a go. It’s a stand alone fantasy (or so I thought, lol) which you don’t often get in YA and I’m notoriously bad at finishing series’ these days so I thought it might be a good option for me.

Elisabeth was raised as an orphan in one of the Great Libraries. Usually orphans come to the library to learn at 13 or so but Elisabeth has been there since she was a baby. These libraries are a little different to the usual – they contain magical texts of varying strengths and abilities, the grimoires, which can talk and influence and provoke. When one is released and the Director of Elisabeth’s library is killed, she is framed for the crime and sent to the sorcerers to be dealt with. The sorcerer that comes to collect her is young – and the only sorcerer that Elisabeth has met before. Nathaniel Thorn is from a notorious family and it doesn’t take Elisabeth long to realise escape attempts from him, his abilities and his mysteriously bland servant, are futile. But soon, as she uncovers a grand plot, she realises he might provide the only safe haven for her.

For the most part, this was a really fun read. I enjoyed the libraries and the idea of the grimoires and I liked the sorcery angle too and how Elisabeth has been raised to view them with suspicion and must overcome that when she’s cast out of her library. She’s known nothing else and it definitely involves her having to recalibrate a lot of things. The world was interesting but I don’t know anything about it other than the libraries and the one city she goes to – it was built only as it needed to be for the story with nothing larger remarked upon.

I found myself really loving the character of Silas and all his complexities. He definitely added a lot to the story, the way that Elisabeth finds herself perplexed about him, the way she muddles out his connection with Nathaniel and the bond she herself develops with him as well and the way that she also must come to terms with the two sides of Silas and all that means. Elisabeth undergoes a lot of growth about a lot of things after leaving the library and realising that there is more to the world out there than the one library she has always known and also that it is under threat. She figures out what is happening but has trouble getting anyone to believe her, which is why it ends up being incredibly important to her first when Nathaniel says he believes her but also then when he says he will help her. For me, the libraries were the most interesting of the settings (because of course they were, who wouldn’t want to grow up in a magical library like the one Elisabeth did) but I also enjoyed Nathaniel’s house as well.

However, as much as I enjoyed it, I felt like the pacing was at times, uneven. It’s over 450p so it’s quite a solid sized book and I suppose it’s inevitable that there will be places where the plot does feel like it drags a little. Also, the ending felt a little rushed for me, like it was trying to pack everything in it wanted but in about half the pages that it should have. I liked the romance, I thought it was cute without being anything super exciting and without anything to really hold it in my memory. It’s not going to be one that stands out for me, that I return to because it’s a favourite pairing. But I did definitely enjoy this enough to read more of Margaret Rogerson’s books and there’s actually a….novella? sequel to this out next year, less than 200p detailing Elisabeth and Nathaniel in the aftermath of the events here and look, I’m a sucker for a “look how they live” novella so you can bet I’ll also read the heck out of that.


Book #142 of 2022

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