Goodreads: Sorcery of Thorns
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: 04 June 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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.
Have you ever experienced the struggle of writing a review because you loved a book so much? That’s happening to me right now. I think Sorcery of Thorns might be one of the best YA fantasies I’ve read in a long time and I loved it so much that all I can think about saying is: ALL THE STARS. READ IT NOW! I honestly don’t think I disliked anything in this book, and as book lovers and readers, I think we can all agree on how rare it is to say something like that. TL;DR: The story, the characters, the world building and magic, and THE BOOKS IN THE BOOK made for an incredibly fun and magical adventure that everyone should read!
Y’all, this story was about libraries and books–but not just any old books–but magical books (grimoires) that have thoughts and feelings and are alive. Books that have been made of the most gruesome of things (eyes, faces, teeth), full of dark and evil. Books that need to be stored in Great Libraries so that they can be protected from the world, but also so that the world can be protected from them. Books that, if damaged, can turn transform into frightening and unstoppable monsters that ravage towns and steal lives. But there was also so much adventure, magic, sorcerers, demons, mystery, murder, plotting, friendship and romance in the story.
Books, too, had hearts, though they were not the same as people’s, and a book’s heart could be broken; she had seen it happen before. Grimoires that refused to open, their voices gone silent, or whose ink faded and bled across the pages like tears.
I was blown away by the worldbuilding and magical system that Rogerson developed in Sorcery. Her writing was spellbinding (yes) and the towns and winding paths of the library floors full of thousands of grimoires, came so much to life that I felt like I was there, surrounded by the intoxicating smells of ink, paper, and aetherial combustion. I loved that not everyone had magic in this world and the ones who did had to give a piece of themselves away for it. All sorcerers are bound to high-born demons from who they draw their powers from. No demon, no magic. The demons were sufficiently creepy and forming a bond with a demon would obviously result in some not-so-good stuff happening (duh). I should note here that there is an element of predictability in the mystery of the story, and it wasn’t surprising at all when you find out who the evil characters are, but that didn’t make me enjoy it any less.
“Ink and parchment flowed through her veins. The magic of the Great Libraries lived in her very bones. They were a part of her, and she a part of them.”
The characters were also just as amazing as the world and magic. Elisabeth was such a wonderful lead character. She was fierce, strong and determined, intelligent, open-minded and compassionate. Having (literally) been raised as an orphan in one of the Great Libraries, she has a strong affinity and connection with grimoires. The love and respect she had for them, and the sense of belonging she felt when surrounded by books was so relatable, and the relationship she had with them felt incredibly special. She wasn’t a perfect character but she was very real. Prior to the events of the book, she had never experienced the ‘outside world’, and didn’t know any different from what she was taught by the people who raised her, and those she looked up to at the library. Was her attitude and prejudice frustrating? Sometimes, yes. But her behaviour was so normal for someone with her background.
“Of course .” A wicked gleam entered his eyes. “But I only turn girls into salamanders on Tuesdays. Luckily for you, it’s a Wednesday, which is the day I drink a goblet of orphan’s blood for supper.”
Then we have Nathaniel and Silas, who were also fantastic characters that brought so much to the story. Nathaniel’s laidback attitude towards basically everything that came his way, even the situations Elisabeth ropes him into, made for some comedic interactions. He might be seen as typically fulfilling the trope of “warm-hearted character acting cold to protect others” but I was all for Nathaniel being that character trope! His sassy streak was strong and it provided some great levity to situations; not to mention how he so casually reveals that he’s queer! Pretty sure I fell in love with Nathaniel too. Plus, his relationship with Silas defies the odds of who they both are, and that made it so much more heartwarming. When it comes to Silas, I don’t know how anybody couldn’t love him by the end of this story! UGH. THAT ENDING. So. Much. Love. For. It!!!
Perhaps the only thing that I didn’t like about this book is the fact that it ended. I’m so glad but at the same time so sad that this was a standalone–there’s relief from not having to wait ages for a sequel, but regret that the story has ended and I have to leave this world behind. I really hope that Rogerson revisits this beautiful world she has created in Sorcery so we can come back for a new story!
Have you read Sorcery of Thorns or is it on your TBR?