“It was always wise to be polite to books, whether or not they could hear you.”
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.
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: June 2019
A book about warrior librarians and book with magical powers? Count me in! I didn’t expect to binge read this book, but it was really well done. The characters are very compelling to read about and Rogerson has this incredible writing style that makes you eager to keep going. But as much as I wanted to love this, the pacing and story started to slow for me near the end.
↠ The main characters are incredibly captivating and intriguing. Elizabeth, our main heroine, is simply an amazing female protagonist — she’s intelligent, feisty and willing to fight for the good of humanity no matter the cost. She’s also willing to changing her opinion on sensitive topics, making her more accepting rather than discriminatory like some other wardens (higher level librarians). Nathaniel, the male protagonist, is charming and full of wit. I really enjoyed his character growth, especially since he isn’t simply just selfless like so many other heroes in novels. And then Silas … the most amazing part of this novel! A powerful and insightful demon, he’s completely happy and unapologetically happy with who he is. Though I do wish they could’ve been more fleshed out, this is a standalone novel.
↠ The concept of good and evil is more complex, showing moral complexity and ambiguity. In the beginning, it seems as though we’re about to enter a story about light versus dark — humans versus magic and demons. But Rogerson’s novel grows to be much more than this! Not all demons are evil, not all magic is corrupt, and not all humans fight for the betterment of humanity. It’s a morally complex novel, making you REALLY think about how these kinds of enlightenment connect to our world today.
↠ There’s a carefully crafted balance between being character-driven and plot-driven. This seems to ALWAYS be the tug-o-war in fantasy novels — one tends to overpower the other. But Rogerson found some MAGICAL way of focusing greatly on both the development of the plot while maintaining focus on the crafting of the characters and their own personal growth.
↠ There’s something rather compelling about Rogerson’s writing, making it easy to binge the novel. I don’t even know HOW to describe this … it just happens. One minute, you’re at chapter one … the next it’s 2 AM and you’re halfway done the novel! She picks her words wisely and transitions between scenes fairly well, providing enough description and detail to keep us intrigued but not overdoing it to bore readers.
↠ I was expecting more world-building in this novel. In the beginning, there’s a lot of information about the importance of libraries and grimoires and sorcery. Once Elizabeth begins her adventure, it felt as though there was going to be a lot of travelling and exploration, visiting different parts of the world and getting to know more about the politics of it all. But this just started to fade more and more as the story progressed.
↠ The magical system’s fascinating but we don’t learn too much about it. Sorcerers and demons — binding to one another to create magic but at a cost — honestly, I was hooked! I even loved how there were different specializations and that magic wasn’t just all-powerful — it takes work and strength. But it’s never really explored more than this — how it all began, more detail into how it works, etc. I also found this with the grimoires; there’s some discussion at the beginning, but then it never goes any further later on. I really would’ve loved for Rogerson to explore all of this more.
↠ The beginning starts off so strong, but the pacing falters near the end. Seriously, I couldn’t put the book down at first. The action, the fast-paced nature, the eagerness to learn more … it was intoxicating. But about just over the halfway mark, the story started to simmer. It’s as though the focus moved TOO much towards Nathaniel and Elizabeth; not necessarily their relationship, but their personal growth arcs. The plans to overtake the antagonist, the search to save the day, the final battle at the end … everything just started to feel glossed over rather than the detail we had at the beginning.
Sorcery of Thorns is a grand fantasy story full of magical books and grimoires, warrior librarians, a fascinating magical system, and all-powerful demons … with some witty banter to bring the characters to life. Rogerson’s writing ability is incredible at drawing you in … you’ll be amazed by how fast you finish this novel. Though the world-building lacks and the final battle’s slightly anti-climatic, the story as a whole is spectacular. And honestly, what book lover doesn’t want to read about magical books? You can simply tell how much Rogerson feels for books with how she describes Elizabeth’s love for them and the library. It makes it an even more powerful and authentic read.
I recommend this novel if you enjoy:
↠ Moral ambiguity
↠ Plot and character-driven novels
↠ Slow burn romance
↠ Standalone novels
↠ Magic and demons
Have you read Rogerson’s Sorcery of Thorns?