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.
Review by Samantha
All Elisabeth Scrivener wants is to become a warden and protect the Great Library’s magical tomes from demonic destruction. But when she is drawn into a dark scheme that rattles the realm and confronts her with a sultry sorcerer and his demon accomplice, she begins to question the distinction between good and evil that she’s trusted all her life.
This is my favorite YA fantasy novel of the season! In this thick volume of nearly 500 pages, I found myself spellbound before the first hundred. Rogerson displays great pacing, clear stakes, heavy tension, and the rare gold star of LGBTQIA representation. Her shining skill is her command over action scenes, in which there is an unceasing supply, and the relationships between characters, in which I was delightfully ensnared. None of the characters are completely figured out and none of them are safe. Everything comes alive amidst Margaret Rogerson’s Sorcery of Thorns– from the prose, to the people, to the personified objects- the spirits of the books and the spirits of the forest. This complex magical universe is replete with sorcerers, demons, sword wielding librarians, and politics weaving this world together with historical accuracy. Everything revolves and relies upon books in Elisabeth’s world; if the balance of their libraries is disturbed, the fabric of their lives is also, quite literally, torn asunder. The only factor that briefly took me out of the story was the difficulty I found in following its flashbacks. Rogerson utilizes this device sparingly (only twice), but when the flow of the present action is interrupted by flashbacks, they are confusingly placed and not always necessary. Rogerson’s strength is in her forward momentum, and once you get into the flow of this enchanted tale, you won’t want to stop.
Anyone who swoons over books needs to read Sorcery of Thorns. It’s a story of deep friendship and the power of unlikely bonds that transcend time and space. The uncanny is made real in reading this immersive tale, and that is the ultimate gift of the fantastical.
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