Sorcery of Thorns, Margaret Rogerson

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Night fell as death rode into the Great Library of Summershall

Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery. 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.

* * *
3 / 5

I love books. So it stands to reason that I would enjoy a book about books, right? And I do! I loved all the aspects in Sorcery of Thorns that were to do with books: sword-wielding librarians, grimoires that turn into monsters, books that whisper secrets to you, a child raised in a library who dreams of becoming a Warden. Unfortunately, the book didn’t manage to wow me. 

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. 

Elisabeth Scrivener was raised an orphan in one of the six of Austemeer’s Great Libraries, and she dreams of becoming a Warden. What does a Warden do? I would’ve loved to actually know! It’s something to do with guarding dangerous books, books with sorcerous knowledge and the potential to turn into maleficts, monsters that attack people. Elisabeth is on the verge of being old enough to pursue her dream when a high-class grimoire becomes a malefict and goes on the rampage. Unjustly accused, Elisabeth is taken to the capital by a sorcerer to be tried.

Nathaniel Thorn is a rakish, handsome sorcerer with a demon, Silas, for a servant. As a child of the library, Elisabeth has been raised to view sorcery as primitive, backwards, and dangerous. This didn’t make much sense to me. The libraries fear sorcery because it is powerful, and if Elisabeth has anything to do with sorcery she becomes ineligible to train at the Collegium. But on the flipside, sorcerers are prominent, powerful, respected members of society who use the Great Libraries all the time and are treated like royalty.

“I assure you, no good will come of a passionate affair between us. You, a small-town country librarian, me, the kingdom’s most eligible bachelor.”

What did I like? I liked Elisabeth. She is curious, intelligent, and a bit skittish. Despite being an orphan, she doesn’t care all that much about her biological parents, which was refreshing. She is exceedingly happy with being a child of the library. I also loved all the cool scenes with the books, especially when they fight. That was epic. Nathaniel and Silas are also great characters (even if Nathaniel is a bit cliche broody guy with tragic father issues), and I dug the Victorian vibe.

Sorcery of Thorns was my second shot at a book by Margaret Rogerson, after An Enchantment of Ravens which I didn’t finish. I love her ideas, but I’m not a huge fan of the execution. Whilst enjoyable, Sorcery of Thorns didn’t end up being the kind of book that makes a big impression on me.

My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of Sorcery of Thorns.

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