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.
Margaret Rogerson does it again with Sorcery of Thorns! I had loved her debut last year, and her specific brand of fairytale-like fantasy returned in yet another standalone story, this time about a kingdom that has sorcerers and living grimoires. Elisabeth has literally been brought up in a library, under the care of its head Librarian, and she has been training to be a Warden, a staff member who is basically the guard of the library and deals with handling the dangerous grimoire. When an attack on her library has her framed, she comes under the custody of Nathaniel, a Magister who belongs to an elite Sorcerer family and who helps her entangle the web that she is caught up in, as she prepares to face down against the sorcerer who framed her.
There are so many things in this book I absolutely loved! First, those grimoires – they have personality, and the library is practically living and the bond between Elisabeth and the books almost had me in tears multiple times during the book, like when it is revealed why she is called a ‘child of the Library’. I loved that those grimoires, by the way – especially that singing one, OMG! It was glorious and the way the grimoires helped her in the end was beautiful. Secondly, our heroine Elisabeth is amazing – she has been sheltered but she is not naive; she is clever and takes understandable risks and it is not that she is invincible, because she is often caught into things bigger than her. And to her rescue comes Nathaniel, who is the sweet on the inside and gruff on the outside. I loved him a lot – him calling her ‘an absolute menace’, his and hers dynamic from the start (I just knew it would be true love when she brought down a bookcase on him). Oh, and he is queer, too!
Oh, and one of the best parts was Silas and his relationship with Nathaniel and then Elisabeth. Silas and Nathaniel gave me some Kuroshitsuji vibes, in that there is a demon servant who is restrained by his deal, looking over his master and not caring who gets hurt in the process; he does show a soft side to Elisabeth, though. This trio grabbed my attention and didn’t let go until the end – it was complicated and interesting and beautiful. By the way, this book also gave me vibes of another series – Fullmetal Alchemist (I will let you find out how). The book also has slight humor in its scenes, like when Silas turns up as a cat, and the name Elisabeth gives him! The action, the pacing and the writing all brought together an engaging story that is made all the more better by its brilliant narrator – Emily Ellet – whose voices were amazing.
Released on June 4, 2019