Review: Sorcery of Thorns

Sorcery of Thorns
By Margaret Rogerson
Published June 4, 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publisher’s synopsis:
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 liked An Enchantment of Ravens, so I was looking forward to Margaret Rogerson’s latest, Sorcery of Thorns. I’m happy to report that it’s an absolutely delightful book. It felt Sorcery of Thornsa little old-fashioned to me, and I meant that in the best possible way. The book has more in common with old-school fantasy writers like Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce.

Elisabeth is a great heroine. She’s grown up as an apprentice at a library filled with grimoires, sentient and often dangerous books, but she’s always wanted something more, to become a warden (a protector of the libraries) like her mention, the library director. But then the library is attacked, the director is killed, and Elisabeth is blamed. She’s sent to the capital for her trial, and she’s forced into an uneasy alliance with a handsome, brooding sorcerer named Nathanial Thorn and his demonic servant, Silas.

The growing relationship between Elisabeth and Nathaniel is really nicely done. Elisabeth has been raised to fear sorcerers, so Nathaniel and his demon make her extremely nervous at first. But when they uncover an evil plot, they’re forced to work together. Their banter is very funny and charming. Nathaniel is very grumpy at first, but he’s had a difficult life and he doesn’t open up to other people easily.

The plot is great. The villain is revealed a bit earlier than I would have expected, but it’s not really about the villain as much as it’s about Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas working to stop the villain and keep chaos and destruction from happening. The author does an excellent job of world-building, and the society of libraries, sentient grimoires, and sorcerers really comes alive in the book. I really enjoyed it, and although it appears to be a stand-alone, I would be happy to revisit this world.

I received an ARC from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

 

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