Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Elisabeth is a library apprentice in a world where grimoires hold great power, even have their own personalities and agency, and the potentional to turn into giant, rampaging monsters. She's been told all her life that sorcerers, the only ones who have use of grimoires, are completely monstrous and evil. Her whole life is turned upside down when the Great Library where she lives is sabotaged and her only mother figure murdered. Despite having saved hundreds of people and her lifelong role working at the library, she is blamed for the attack and is set to be questioned by the sorcerer's council. Nathaniel and his servant Silas escort her and challenged everything she thinks she knows about sorcerers. She becomes entrenched in a centuries old plan to destroy the fabric between worlds and desperately tries to stop it with every ounce of her strength.

Sorcery of Thorns is a book that immersed me in such a fully realized, magical world through Elisabeth's eyes. First, we are introduced to the world of the Great Library with sentient books, giant book lice, and dedication to protecting it all. Elisabeth has lived there her whole life, abandoned as a small child there, and hasn't seen much of society outside of it. She accepts what the leaders say as law and hasn't seen much of the outside world to contradict it.Her experience with the grimoires is unlike anyone else. They all have their own sort of sentience and personality that she can recognize and commincate with. Of course she loves to read and wants to be a warden, one who protects their society against maleficts, hulking monsters grimoires become when awakened. I could have stayed in this library world for the rest of the novel, but the rest of the world is just as fascinating.

Elisabeth gets to know Nathianel and his demon servant Silas as they traverse the countryside and fight against minion demon attacks. She finds her worldview is flawed and sees good in both Nathianel and Silas. The upper crust of society is full of riches, gossip, and sorcerers. Elisabeth doesn't quite fit in as one unaccustomed to social niceties, rich clothes, and surrounded by those she thought were evil. Unfortunately, not a lot is different at its core because powerful men, such as the new Great Library director who condemned her with no evidence, abuse their position to dismiss her, keep her quiet, and prevent her from telling the truth in insidious ways. Elisabeth is such a force and does so much completely on her own. Her joining up with Nathaniel (and motivating him quite a bit) only makes both of them stronger. Silas proved to be invaluable and an incredible being. He's a demon and has two sides: the completely monstrous pure demon side and the much more human servant Nathianel and Elisabeth are friends with. His character arc is kind of like Spike's from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and shows that the way you were born doesn't determine your fate, your actions do. The ending didn't come easily with some losses and lots of my tears.

Sorcery of Thorns is good on so many levels. The romance is sweet with a nice build up without superceding the main plot. Elisabeth struggles with her entire worldview being challenged and Nathanial is incredibly conflicted about his family legacy and drawing other people into it. The main villain threatens the very fabric of their world and these two misfits plus Silas do what they can to save it. There are lot of horror elements from the maleficts to the demons entwined into this fantas. The story shattered my expectations at every turn in a very good way and I would love to see more books in this world.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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