Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Maturity Level: 4-
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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 finished a book and immediately jumped out of your chair and run around the house yelling “Oh my god this book!!!!!”? Because that was totally me. I loved everything about this book, but the ending in particular was so absolutely perfect. If you love YA fantasy or books about books this is a must-read.
Rogerson’s world and magic system were so absolutely unique. While the idea of sorcerers relying on an alliance with demons is maybe not brand-new, I’ve never read it quite the way Rogerson presented it. Demons are a necessary evil, not someone you should get close to or friendly with. Except, that maybe good and evil aren’t as black-and-white as we’ve always imagined…
In particular I loved Rogerson’s magical books, grimoires. The reminded me of the book from Hocus Pocus, and just a campy. These magical books have personalities, many of them walk and talk, and they get up to plenty of mischief. The heroine of our tale, Elisabeth, has an affinity for books and can communicate more closely with them than anyone. And so, of course, she winds up on an adventure.
Elisabeth was a wonderful heroine. I loved that she doubted herself. She was actually clumsy, and more than a little adorably naive. But what I loved most about her was that she had a knack for seeing the best in people, even people who didn’t necessarily see the best in themselves.
Her friendship with Nathaniel was everything. I LOVED NATHANIEL. He was so snarky and sarcastic, and he positively dripped for disdain for Elisabeth’s naivete. My favorite bits were when she would accuse him of eating virgin’s hearts, and he would just go along with it, and she never realized he was joking. I also highly approved of his Tony Stark-esque humor. But he’s battling very real demons. Figuratively and literally. He came across so human, and I enjoyed watching Elisabeth bring out the best in him.
I always enjoy a book that ends up going in a completely different direction than you expected it to, and this one did. Every fifty pages or so the book would take another soft right. While the bad-guy wasn’t too difficult to pin, it ended up being for a quite different reason than I expected.
My only criticism of this book is that I couldn’t buy the librarian’s disapproval of magic. Why would they go through such trouble to save books of magic and stress their value to the kingdom if they were so sure magic was evil? It seemed like a plot device so that Elisabeth and Nathaniel could have a star-crossed-lovers story arc.
This book was amazing. I will definitely be buying it and reading it again and again!