I love when books surprise me. I just did a post on that actually. And Sorcery of Thorns was that book for me. I skipped the excitement for Enchantment of Ravens, so when I got Sorcery of Thorns in my Owlcrate, I was optimistic about it, but I did not plan to read it soon. But the book kept calling to me from my shelf (as books do) and it kept getting great reviews. So I decided to pick it up and that my friends, was a great decision.
Sorcery of Thorns follows Elisabeth Scrivner, an orphan that has been brought up in one of the Great Libraries of Austermeer. The books in these libraries are tools of sorcery, they are grimoires that if mishandled can transform into monsters. Elisabeth hopes to one day become a warden, whose job is to protect the Kingdom from their power.
This was a really immersive and captivating read. It’s such an engaging book and it completely took me by surprise. I never wanted to stop reading it, and I kept sneaking in a chapter whenever I had free time. I really loved the atmosphere of this novel and I really think that Margaret Rogerson’s writing style worked for me. I really enjoyed the setting – the world is reminiscent of Middle-Grade Fantasy novels I used to read, with the kingdom and the libraries and I really enjoyed that.
I also really loved the way the world was set up. Sorcery is tied to the demon world in this book, meaning if a person wants to yield magic, they have to summon a highborn demon and trade years of their life in order to gain access to magic. I think that creates a really interesting dynamic between a sorcerer and his demon, and I really loved how Rogerson played with the humanity of demons and the relationship between magic and demons. It’s an interesting twist to the story that I really loved.
I really loved the way Rogerson wrote about books and magic and like I said, there’s something about this novel that’s really reminiscent of the whimsy and the magic of Middle-Grade Fantasy. But with angst. We love angst.
Speaking of that, one of the reasons this was so enjoyable to me is because it evoked a certain sense of nostalgia. Not only did it remind me of the books I used to read when I was younger, but it’s also one of those books that is about the love of books. The way Elisabeth feels about libraries is something I think anyone who loves reading can relate to. And I grew to love books in libraries as well, so this was a really nostalgic read for me. And Margaret Rogerson made books these living things that had a mind of their own and communicated, and I think that was absolutely lovely and really made me love this novel.
On top of all that, this book is really trope-y, but in the best way possible. It has a lot of tropes in it (like the one I talked about on Twitter, where character A calls character B by their last name until character B is in danger) and I completely loved every single minute of it. I think Rogerson managed to play into those tropes really well, and still make them feel fresh and exciting.
I really enjoyed the characters and the character dynamic in this novel. Elisabeth is relentless and dedicated, but also really fearless and all in all, a really easy character to love and root for. And I loved her relationship with Katrien, her best friend a lot. I think Margaret Rogerson really did a great job at writing a really lovely female friendship between the two of them.
Nathaniel was also a really easy character to love, one of those tormented boys who shuts himself from the world to not hurt others, but is actually a really nice person. Oh, and he is bisexual, which I did not see people mention before! His and Elisabeth’s dynamic was lovely, they had amazing banter and I feel like their relationship really evolved in an organic and natural way.
And finally, Silas, who is Nathaniel’s demon was easily my favorite character. I loved the way he was written, from his impeccable sense of style to the fact that he loves Nathaniel despite his demonic nature. Like I said, this book plays into a lot of tropes, but in a really wonderful way, and Silas is one of those demons that has spent so much time with humans that he becomes very human, and I again, loved that.
If I was basing my rating solely on enjoyment, I would have given this five star. But I feel like this book had flaws. It’s really predictable (sometimes annoyingly so) and while it was a lovely and nostalgic read for me, it also wasn’t anything novel. I don’t think that the characters or the world really stood out. I also feel like the magic and the world itself weren’t as developed as I like. That’s why I usually don’t enjoy YA Fantasy as much – because I like overly explained and detailed worlds and magic systems. But I did not mind any of it in here. I just feel like I cannot justify giving it five stars because I did notice these things and they kept bugging me. A tiny bit.
I cannot recommend this book more, despite some flaws I mentioned previously. It was genuinely one of the most enjoyable reading experiences of the year for me, and it was just full of tropey goodness. I really loved the setting and the feeling this book provoked, so I would love for all of you to experience it as well!
I would really love to hear from you! Did you read this? What were your thoughts? Did you read Rogerson’s previous books? Let me know in the comments!
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