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.
Genre(s): YA Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Obtained: I received/obtained this book via my local library
Representation: PTSD, LGBT+ (briefly mentioned), Possible Ace/Aro rep
Content Warnings: Nightmares, Violence, Gender-based discrimination & violence, sexuality shaming, prejudice against sorcerers that is very reminiscent of MAGA sentiments, grief, loss of loved one
At what point does the pursuit of progress become the justification for sheer arrogance? This theme lives as the undercurrent for Margaret Rogerson’s newest novel, Sorcery of Thorns. Elisabeth Scrivner was abandoned on the steps of one of The Great Libraries, protectors of magical artifacts and grimoires. She grew up within the walls of Summershall, surrounded by the whispers of the books and training to fight them should they transform into a Malefict – a monster of ink and leather. Her dream is to become a Warden of the library, but all of that changes when the Director is killed and she’s shipped off to the Magisterium. Elisabeth must clear her name, confront her internalized prejudices against sorcerers, and save the world while navigating the upper-class political world.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, finding myself in Elisabeth’s awkwardness and resilience to the crappy things that happen to her in the story. I found myself falling in love with ALL of the characters, no matter how minor. I found them all to be rather fleshed out and each one had their own distinctive voice, even if we only got a few paragraphs with them. I’ve always believed that books were magical, but Margaret Rogerson gives them breath and feelings, and reminds us that knowledge isn’t necessarily good or evil, but what matters is how it is utilized.
“The library possessed a life of its own, had become greater than Cornelius had ever intended. For these were not ordinary books the libraries kept. They were knowledge, given life. Wisdom, given voice. They sand when starlight streamed through the library’s windows. They felt pain and suffered heartbreak. Sometimes they were sinister, grotesque, but so was the world outside. And that made the world no less worth fighting for, because wherever there was darkness, there was also so much light.” (p.422)
What Other Reviewers Thought
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