Sorcery of Thorns

Sorcery of Thorns

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, cha...

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Title:Sorcery of Thorns
Author:Margaret Rogerson
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Edition Language:English

Sorcery of Thorns Reviews

  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    I never do this, but I’m going to give you all a

    for this review, just in case you’re in a hurry and need me to get the point across quickly:

    I never do this, but I’m going to give you all a

    for this review, just in case you’re in a hurry and need me to get the point across quickly:

    After adoring Margaret’s debut,

    it felt blaringly obvious that I would love this, too, but I had no idea how much my love for this world, this story, and these characters would blow

    out of the water. The lore and world-building are so gorgeous and intricate, particularly surrounding the

    You see, you might know that this book is about books, and magic, and libraries, but what I loved most is that there are no simple

    in

    Grimoires are living, feeling creatures, capable of good or bad, kindness or scorn, and most of all, of being corrupted. Elisabeth, having grown up in a library (literally), is more familiar than most with the grimoires, and her level of respect and adoration for them made me ache. As another adult who grew up with books as my closest friends, I loved how easily I related to her desperate need to be surrounded by books and to take care of them. (After all, it’s why I became a librarian, too!)

    Margaret’s care in crafting these grimoires is evident from the start, but as the story progresses, I was amazed at how important a piece of the story they became. I won’t spoil anything, but I will tell you that I have never in my life literally

    over a narrative about

    in my life until this story.

    Of course, that’s enough about the grimoires, because the primary star of the show is Elisabeth, and hell, she deserves an entire review dedicated solely to what an incredible, hilarious, witty, kind, lovable character she is. She’s clumsy and awkward in all the best ways, and she genuinely leaps right off the page with her general

    . There’s a sub-plot line involving her and the development of PTSD that felt so honest and authentic, it broke my heart for her every time it reared its head and made me root that much harder for her successes and happiness.

    Sharing the spotlight is our love interest, the infamous, talented, handsome (and casually queer!) sorcerer Nathaniel, and his demon servant/companion Silas, either of whom I would happily protect at all costs because they are precious and not to be trifled with. Okay, Nathaniel could probably use a little trifling-with in his life, particularly because he responds with disarmingly hilarious nonchalance to every minor or major disaster Elisabeth drags him into. Silas, on the other hand… well, you’ll just have to meet him for yourself, but I don’t think anyone could

    love his grouchy, quietly protective demonic self.

    Oh, and I can’t pass up the opportunity to mention the

    It’s fairly slow-burning, and it forms in the most natural, beautiful way. I loved watching Elisabeth and Nathaniel grow to trust one another, become friends, and gradually recognize the fact that neither of them could fathom this adventure without the other. If you all could see the number of tabs I used just on Nathaniel’s sweet admissions of affection,

    I might have also tabbed every single instance in which Nathaniel called Elisabeth “you absolute menace”, because if that didn’t sum up their relationship as a whole, I don’t know what could have. My heart is so full.

    Beyond all of this, the plot in this story is so engaging and suspenseful! I’d been reading

    as slowly as I could stand to, because I knew I would be devastated when it ended, but once I hit the last hundred pages or so, I couldn’t be interrupted for anything because I simply

    to know what happened next—and reader, let me tell you, not a single word in this story disappointed me. For every expectation I had of this book, Margaret surpassed it by a country mile.

    As you can see, from the fact that I’m forcing myself now to refrain from writing another entire page to this review about all of the things I adored in

    I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is easily my favorite read of 2019, and one of my favorite reads

    It touched my heart in a million places and a million ways I could never have predicted and will never fully recover from, frankly. I can’t wait to reread it over and over again, and more than that, I can’t wait to see what Margaret writes next.

  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

    I can't stop smiling. Margaret blows me away every time!

    Sorcery of Thorns is equal parts whimsical, flirtatious, and totally hysterical, while still managing to deliver a gut-punch of feels on more than one occasion. This story is an absolute blast to read, and kept me thoroughly entertained all the way through.

    First we have Elizabeth, a library apprentice of sorts. She's tall, fierce, yet has the gentlest of hearts. Time and time again, she charges headfirst into danger and drags us with her,

    I can't stop smiling. Margaret blows me away every time!

    Sorcery of Thorns is equal parts whimsical, flirtatious, and totally hysterical, while still managing to deliver a gut-punch of feels on more than one occasion. This story is an absolute blast to read, and kept me thoroughly entertained all the way through.

    First we have Elizabeth, a library apprentice of sorts. She's tall, fierce, yet has the gentlest of hearts. Time and time again, she charges headfirst into danger and drags us with her, and her cleverness and willpower never disappoint. I'd follow her anywhere. Literally.

    Elizabeth's world is upheaved when a grimoire (yep you heard me) escapes the library. Mind you, grimoires are no ordinary books. In this world, they are quite alive with minds of their own - and can be very dangerous. Elizabeth, who's well aware of this danger, charges after it (of course, it isn't in 'book' form anymore and is now a rather grotesque lard-of-a-monster) to try and save her town from destruction. And while she succeeds (because she's a badass), she's accused of treason for letting it escape in the first place.

    Which means she's shipped off to who-knows-where, now in the charge of a sorcerer.

    Only, that sorcerer is Nathaniel and he's quite literally the best.

    But Elizabeth doesn't know that, and she certainly doesn't trust him (because sorcerers are evil apparently). And, typical Elizabeth isn't going to sit still while evil-hot-sorcerer-dude carts her away and disposes her body. Naturally, she tries to escape.

    But alas! Sorcerer dude Nathaniel isn't going to let her get away (though he'll roll his eyes a time or two because ugh she's impossible). And his butler, of all people, seems to have spooky-special powers that ensure Elizabeth fails in every attempt.

    So Elizabeth, our strong-willed heroine, is stuck with hawt and untrustworthy Nathaniel, and his creepy butler-friend-thing-who-clearly-has-powers.

    As usual, I'm not going to spoil much more, but suffice it to say, things don't go as planned. Because don't forget! Somehow that grimoire escaped. And if it wasn't Elizabeth, who was it? Ah! There is evil afoot, friends, and as I'd hoped, it forces Eizabeth and Nathaniel to team up and uproot it.

    Only, they may be over their heads.

    So I leave you with this: Make room in your hearts! We have on our hands a new story with gorgeous prose (as expected), absolute hysterical banter, new precious characters, and a riveting

    . I can't even pick what I love the most - the incredible world-building (omg can this be a movie?) or the brilliant prose. Or the characters, who are as real as they are fantastical.

    And! That! End!

    The last page. I actually gasped aloud and scared my cat.

    ~

    ~

  • ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    Guys, this book.....

    .

    This book is

    cousin and I was

    throughout it.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
  • jessica

    yaaassss! we stan a fantasy queen who both acknowledges AND writes stories for us bookworms. <3

    i know i wont be the only reader who sees a little bit of themself in elisabeth; for being able to relate, on such a personal level, to her love of books, for seeing them as companions, and forever feeling at home in their company/in a library.

    and this story is every bit deserving of having such a remarkable character. there is so much balance to

    yaaassss! we stan a fantasy queen who both acknowledges AND writes stories for us bookworms. <3

    i know i wont be the only reader who sees a little bit of themself in elisabeth; for being able to relate, on such a personal level, to her love of books, for seeing them as companions, and forever feeling at home in their company/in a library.

    and this story is every bit deserving of having such a remarkable character. there is so much balance to this story, that i honestly couldnt have asked for anything more. elisabeths fierce loyalty is a match for nathaniels charm and humour. the fast-paced plot is evened out with with meaningful scenes and narration. and the enchanting magic is made even more alluring with the personal growth and development of the characters because of it.

    this story is perfection for lovers of books and sorcery and i wouldnt have it any other way.

  • Sabaa Tahir

    This is the YA Fantasy about libraries and living, breathing books that I didn't know I needed. Fell in love within like 20 pages and then ripped through the rest. Loved the characters, loved the ending, just loved it full stop. Silas was my favorite! Highly recommend.

  • Melanie

    I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been looking for a story all about someone living in a library, surrounded by magical books, while also going on adventure after adventure, for my entire life. And I truly believe that not only did Margaret Rogerson give me that, she is giving the YA literature community a

    I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been looking for a story all about someone living in a library, surrounded by magical books, while also going on adventure after adventure, for my entire life. And I truly believe that not only did Margaret Rogerson give me that, she is giving the YA literature community a gift from above. I feel like when

    came out most people loved it, but it did seem a little bit polarizing, while I liked it but I never was in love with it. But

    captivated me from page one, and I adored it so very much that there was never a moment that I wanted to shut this very magical book and stop reading.

    And like I said above, this is a story all about a girl named Elisabeth who has grown up in a library all of her life. She wants to eventually be a Warden, who is a person who protects the library, the people, and the books, because some books in this world are very much alive and are capable of doing some very bad things. But one night, when there is an attack at the library and the surrounding town, she takes it upon herself to defend the only home she has ever known. Yet, this act ends up making her the only suspect in the crime.

    So, Elisabeth gets sent away and is forced to travel alongside a nobleman and sorcerer named Nathaniel Thorn, who also has a companion named Silas who happens to be a demon. In this world, the old royal families have all made pacts with demons to give them magical powers, and these pacts are passed down from generation to generation, but at a cost. Also, Silas is easily my favorite character in this book and I would die for him this very instant.

    But Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas’s paths all continue to cross while Elisabeth is trying to prove her innocence, while also stumbling upon a conspiracy theory to end all other conspiracy theories about what is really happening to the libraries in this world. And the adventures they go on, the secrets they unfold, and the discoveries they make together, was nothing short of a treat to read.

    The thing that I didn’t love about this book, and the reason I am giving it four stars, is because I didn’t love the very vague representation. Obviously, I want authors to write what they want to write and what they feel comfortable with, but this was a little too subtly done for me. Yes, we have a main character that does express attraction to more than one gender, which I am always going to be living for, but we get a very brushed off moment with a very minor character being on the ace spectrum. Also, I think another leading character could possibly also be on the ace spectrum, but the representation in this book is so quiet that you are constantly left second guessing yourself while reading, and it feels bad, even with the excuse that this story is set in a fantasy world because the mentions are so very brief, too.

    Overall, I did love this story. It was so unique and so whimsical; I couldn’t resist getting completely swept off my feet. I loved all three characters and their dark backgrounds, while gaining so much hope for their futures. I loved the writing and all the twists and turns that this adventure packed story delivered. I loved the historical setting, which is very reminiscent of

    ! I loved the romance even though it was such a slow-burn that I wanted to scream in the best way possible! I just loved it all, and I can’t wait to see what Margaret Rogerson does next! Especially because this is a standalone, but I could totally see more in this world after that last page.

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    anxiety depiction, anxiety attacks, talk of loss of a loved one, captivity, talk of forced institutionalization, and violence.

    Buddy read with

    ,

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    , &

    ! ❤

  • Chaima ✨ شيماء

    The cruelest and kindest thing a good book does is make you believe you live inside it for the space of a few hundred pages, that you are a part of something, part of its world, not just skating around the edges, too tied up in yourself to join in…until it ends and the illusion winks out, like a snuffed flame, and you’re left marooned, adrift, your head chilled in its absence.

    The real world takes a seat at the back, and Rogerson’s imaginary one holds center stage. Here where books are a soft war

    The cruelest and kindest thing a good book does is make you believe you live inside it for the space of a few hundred pages, that you are a part of something, part of its world, not just skating around the edges, too tied up in yourself to join in…until it ends and the illusion winks out, like a snuffed flame, and you’re left marooned, adrift, your head chilled in its absence.

    The real world takes a seat at the back, and Rogerson’s imaginary one holds center stage. Here where books are a soft warding from the beings that stalk the night and trapdoors to something beautiful and wicked that trickles beneath the surface, but when damaged—even inadvertently—they mutate into ravening monsters rising up in clamorous fury,  the warp spreading from the pages as sinuously as ink clouding through a glass of clean water. And they're called “Malefics.”

    The gist of the story concerns Elisabeth Scrivener who is an orphan raised in the Great library of Summershall where she learned the delicate arts of tending to books and the blunter arts of guarding them against the world, and guarding the world against them. Her apprenticeship as a warden was a sapling graft that barely had time to take when one night, Elisabeth wakes up to find the library’s Director slain and a Malefic free to loosen its wrath on her city. She takes the monster outright, vicious and victorious, with the strength of the Director’s sword, but before she could even begin to comprehend the magnitude of what had happened, Elisabeth is branded a murderer and a traitor, at only a word and a whim from the library’s new Director, and the charge of her punishment is given to the Magisterium.

    When the Great libraries start falling under attack, dread sluices through Elisabeth and a surety rises in her, lodging in her throat: someone is gathering arms against the Great libraries, colluding in treacheries, and, growing resigned to anyone believing her account, Elisabeth’s darkest self rises to the challenge: the heft of protecting the libraries would suit no one’s strength but hers—she who is “

    ”.

    But when secrets start melting into the dark, and all the doors slam shut in Elisabeth’s face, she seeks the help of Nathaniel Thorn, a sorcerer whose family is dogged with rumors of necromancy, and together they are soon yanked into the machinations of blood, greed and power. Revelations turn truths Elisabeth had known all her life into a tripwire primed to catch her off balance, and danger is dragged to her feet before she even sought it.

    Reading the first couple chapters, the strength of my delight, the speed with which it flowered, shocked me.

    burned through my initial skepticism, bright as a comet in the night’s sky, piercing me with vicious pleasure. In Rogerson’s luscious prose,

    weaves a pleasant spell indeed. This is a vibrant novel, and an unstintingly lush one. The author spins her tale with directness and wit; I enjoyed her storytelling, as one might enjoy music freely played, and was left clutching at each page as it slipped between my fingers.

    As familiar as the novel’s template is, Rogerson’s success lies in the way she infuses exhilarating new life into it through tenderly compelling characters, luxurious writing and an exquisitely wrought premise. It would be easy to say that it’s laden with genre tropes, but the author takes several classic fantasy stances and makes them seem utterly fresh on the page, and, though it occasionally dips in and out of cliché, the author never lets it linger there long. The result is an immensely immersive novel, as graceful and thoughtful as it is action-packed and pulse-pounding.

    Of course, no fantasy setting, however much entrancing and fresh it is, springs to life without strong characters to navigate it. On that end, 

    delivers. The novel’s characters are engaging, and the relationships between them occupy the seething center of the sparsely ornamented stage.

    Elisabeth’s character takes on a magical aura all her own. Rogerson boldly, brilliantly places her protagonist at the center of a sprawling conflict, and with unremittent relish, she begins to undermine what Elisabeth understands about magic, grimoires, libraries, and her role in it. She challenges not only everything Elisabeth knows, but everything she has come to learn and think about herself. Elisabeth’s compelling blend of wide-eyed vulnerability and world-weary wryness anchors a deeply moving journey of self-realization.

    Elisabeth has never seen the world beyond the library where she grew up and tucked her dreams into her books for safekeeping. That her suspicions are so easily allayed first strained credulity, and I was often frustrated with how readily she settled into the words people dripped like sweet poison in her ear. But there was an edge to her, a keenness of anger and determination, and it soon strikes to life like flint. Elisabeth grows strong, unbent, scraping up all her fears and crushing them into an unlit place inside her. The

    called to her like signal beacons burning on a vast black sky and she flung herself into the air, fearless and unflinching. Elisabeth will protect the libraries like a mother wolf looking out for her cub, and she will not count the cost.

    Although the supporting cast of characters is not granted a vivacity as stark as Elisabeth’s, together they made a whole like the heart of a flame.

    is rich, handsome, and beset by a tragic past. Not to mention: seductive toward men and women alike and blessed with a set of social graces that makes him look suave. Y’know…perfect daydream fodder. But Nathaniel is always alone, strangely solitary in the space everyone else gives him, and Elisabeth was acutely aware of the vast gulf between them: his fathomless barter with his unsettlingly taciturn servant, his tormented nightmares, the secrets she glimpsed only quickly through the corridors of his lonesome mansion; she wanted to shatter the cold mask of stone that Nathaniel slips down over himself in her presence, uncaring of how jagged and sharp he might be for her to cut herself on him.

    I liked Nathanial's character, but I was frankly far more intrigued by Silas and the inscrutable turning of his thoughts, like the cogs within a machine. Silas is Nathanial's silver-haired servant whose face was always a blank for just about any emotion one might care to project and who was a mystery, the safe Elisabeth (and the reader) could never crack, and I wanted to know if his icy exterior masks an even icier interior, or if it were a veneer for what was, at bottom, a warm and kind-hearted nature.

    If there’s a failing in

    , it’s that the ending is rushed in the novel’s last few chapters, and although a little light coruscating at the end of the tunnel is always a welcome respite, the conclusion felt a little too easy, too attainable, which knocked down some of my satisfaction. Minor quibble notwithstanding,

    is a remarkable achievement and I kind of hope the author writes more in this world.

  • Regan

    strong start weak finish tbh

  • Margaret Rogerson

    Hi, all! I don’t spend much time here (I view this as a place for readers, not me), but now that Sorcery of Thorns is appearing on people’s radars, I thought it would be a good opportunity to mention a couple of things.

    Firstly: Sorcery is quite a different book than An Enchantment of Ravens, which may be helpful for readers to know in advance. Probably the best way to put it is that Enchantment is a fairy tale romance, while Sorcery is an epic fantasy. Sorcery does have a romance, but it’s a sub

    Hi, all! I don’t spend much time here (I view this as a place for readers, not me), but now that Sorcery of Thorns is appearing on people’s radars, I thought it would be a good opportunity to mention a couple of things.

    Firstly: Sorcery is quite a different book than An Enchantment of Ravens, which may be helpful for readers to know in advance. Probably the best way to put it is that Enchantment is a fairy tale romance, while Sorcery is an epic fantasy. Sorcery does have a romance, but it’s a subplot, not the main focus of the story. I had a ridiculous amount of fun writing it—and hope you enjoy venturing into this world’s perilous magical libraries alongside Elisabeth Scrivener. Sorcery is also a standalone book, completely unrelated to my previous novel.

    Secondly, I don’t believe Sorcery requires any major content warnings, but I’d like to run through a few possible triggers just in case. They are as follows:

    Body horror associated with the books-turned-monsters

    Minor, brief self-injury when characters draw blood for magical rituals

    Implied/referenced sexual assault (not graphic, nothing described on page)

    Children disciplined using corporal punishment (think Dickens; again, not shown on page)

    Victorian-era attitudes about mental health—hysteria, etc

    If you have any questions about these or want to know about any other specific potential triggers and/or page numbers, feel free to reach out me and I’ll get back to you ASAP! I’m going to vanish from Goodreads again after I post this, so please contact me on Twitter, Tumblr, or via the email address listed on my website.

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