Book Review : Sorcery of Thorns

Book Review : Sorcery of ThornsSorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 4th 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Action & Adventure, General, Young Adult, Love & Romance
Pages: 464
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A New York Times bestseller!
“A bewitching gem...I absolutely loved every moment of this story.” —Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Caraval series “If you loved the Hogwarts Library…you’ll be right at home at Summershall.” —Katherine Arden, New York Times bestselling author of The Bear and the Nightingale
From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an “enthralling adventure” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.
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.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire, and Elisabeth is implicated in the crime. 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 absolutely love Sorcery of Thorns and it is one of my all time favorite books. Even with this second reading of the novel, I adore the setting, the magic system, the three main characters, the romance, the humor, and the plot. Sorcery of Thorns revolves around main character Elisabeth, an orphan who grew up in a Great Library, who gets wrapped up in a conspiracy that could destroy everything she holds dear and the entire world. Along the way to put a stop to this nefarious plot, she meets Nathaniel Thorn, a powerful sorcerer, and his trusty demon who revolutionize everything she’s ever thought about sorcery and love. 


Elisabeth is superior to most other young adult female protagonists. Yes, she can be a bit impulsive, but she does her research and investigations, and never takes too long to consider what is truly important. Not only is she intelligent and extremely well-read, but she is emotionally intelligent as well, able to show compassion and understanding to those different from her. This empathy is on full-display as she gets to know Nathaniel Thorn, with his tragic past and notoriety, and witnesses the precious bond he has with his demon servant, Silas. Think of the anime Black Butler. 


And boy, do I love the relationship between Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas. The three manage to form a found family of sorts, despite their inherent differences. Elisabeth, as an apprentice of the Great Library, is supposed to shun all sorcery, but finds herself falling for the most eligible one, Nathaniel, and learns to care for his demon companion as well. Their developing relationship should perhaps be difficult, or stilted, due to their differences in society and standing as well, but it feels natural and comfortable, like falling into a plush bed after a long day. It doesn’t hurt that Elisabeth and Nathaniel, as well as Silas, have great banter that often makes me chuckle aloud. Making it even better is that Elisabeth and Nathaniel have a fabulously flirtatious slow-burn romance, with a touching and dear conclusion.


“’You used a demonic incantation to pack my stockings!’

He raised an eyebrow. ‘You’re right, that doesn’t sound like something a proper evil sorcerer would do. Next time, I won’t fold them.'”


As a lifelong lover of books myself, I also couldn’t help but love Elisabeth’s adoration for books that was reminiscent of Belle’s in Beauty and the Beast. She has a special knack for the grimoires of the Great Library, which comes especially in handy in her quest to save not only the libraries, but the world itself. I was also so excited by the concept of these magical books, all created by sorcerers, with some closely guarded by the Great Libraries due to them holding dark and magical secrets. These grimoires are sentient, and can even cause the readers of them to go mad. Without the proper caution, these grimoires can also turn into dangerous and monstrously powerful creatures known as Maleficts. If I lived in the world of Sorcery of Thorns, I would definitely want to work in one of these Great Libraries myself.


“A dangerous way of thinking. But libraries are dangerous places. There is no getting around it.”


I think the only big flaw for me in Sorcery of Thorns is that it is incredibly fast paced. The action of the novel starts almost immediately, and never really slows down. This is both a good thing, but also a bad thing, as it means that there is not a whole lot of time spent getting to know characters or the world. On the other hand, this fast pace prevents the novel from giving information dumps, or having long periods where nothing happens. At times, I did wish the novel would slow down a bit. For instance, Elisabeth dreams of being an armed protector of the Great Library, known as a warden, but it’s just a dream and she has never in fact, had any training to become one.


However, when Elisabeth is bequeathed a sword, she picks it up and seems to be a very proficient sword user without any training whatsoever, fighting off both villainous humans and nefarious magical creatures alike. This was pretty unbelievable to me, because if I picked up a sword today, I would be useless to defend myself, let alone attack anyone with it. Likewise, the few side characters in the novel, such as Elisabeth’s best friend, are not very well developed, and are definitely more plot devices to help Elisabeth along than anything.  However, it didn’t really matter to me that other characters outside of Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas weren’t that well developed because I adore these three characters, their interactions, and their relationship so much. 


On this second read of Sorcery of Thorns, I found I enjoyed the novel just as much as the first time I read it, which is something of a rarity for me. If you love books, strong-willed and capable female protagonists, romance, a Victorian setting, great banter, books, and magic, Sorcery of Thorns is undoubtedly the book for you. 


Book Review : Sorcery of Thorns - Blogging with Dragons

Posted January 4, 2022 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Favorite Books, Young Adult


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