CW’s: Violence, Blood
Representation 🌷 Bisexual Love Interest, Aromantic Side Character
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.
Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for providing me with a digital Arc in exchange for an honest Review! All quotes featured are from the Arc and therefore subject to changes.
“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.”
Source for the word definitions 🌷 adventureinyou
💖 Nefelibata (noun) One who lives in the clouds of their own imagination; An unconventional person 💖
My first love with this book were the characters. I loved them all, because they were all complex, flawed and yet so understandable. Even the secondary characters basically leaped from the page and had a distinctive personality that made some of them (but especially Katrien) a scene stealer.
Elisabeth 💖 A young librarian who grew up an orphan in the library and has not known anything else her entire life. She’s a bit more wild and ‘feral’, but I prefer to call her untamed. She has a passion for books deep inside her and a great bravery that comes out several times in the book. Even with everything crushed to pieces she fights on so no one else gets hurt. I also liked how the book explored some of the grief and trauma she faces and how to calls out young women being demeaned and disbelieved by powerful men. Elisabeth is a strong person, but she also struggles with where she belongs as the path, she was fighting for the most is suddenly banned. Where do you belong if suddenly everything you know turns upside down? The book does a great job of answering that question and showing someone wondering about their dreams.
Nathaniel 💖 Sorcerer from an old magical family, that has gotten a bad representation. He is very isolated, having no surviving family and only a demon to rely on, so he tends to distance himself from anyone showing that they care. Nathaniel has secrets and some deep scars from his past, but never uses that as an excuse to be cruel to Elisabeth or anyone else. However, he does want to escape close relationships and try not to care, even if it doesn’t always work this way. Keeping people from his dark corners works until someone tries to tear down these walls, he built around himself. But on the surface Nathaniel is witty, cocky and the master of flirty banter. You cannot help but love him and laugh along with his amusing attitude. He displays confidence without coming across superior and instantly stole my heart, because deep down he is a loyal person who would do anything for those that manage to earn his trust.
Silas 💖 A demon bound to Nathaniel and his friend. Silas is such a fantastic morally grey character that was written with such nuance. He never downplays that he is dangerous and kills people if they threaten his master, he doesn’t pretend to be a good person or even close to human nature. In general, he is a very controlled person, not often letting his emotions show, even though he is closer to humans than any other demon we see in the book. He genuinely cares for Nathaniel, even though he also stays because his master owns him 20 years of his life that he craves and feeds off. It’s not black and white with Silas. He does care, but he is also selfish and well … a demon, especially in his true form without any humanity left. Silas could technically annihilate you, but he chooses to fight for his humans.
Katrien 💖 Elisabeth’s best friend and fellow librarian, who does everything to bring down their unfair new superior and support her friend when she is wronged. Katrien is more of a minor character and doesn’t appear that often, but I loved her so much that I needed to talk about her! I need a companion book about her life, PLEASE I’m begging you, someone make it happen! Katrien is such a positive force and instantly made me melt by being such a carefree and accepting person. She isn’t put off by Elisabeth when they meet as young girls, even with all the rumors about her being odd. Instead she reacts totally chill and wins Elisabeth’s friendship. Katrien is not to be underestimated either, because she would do anything for her friend and will not let injustice stand. It is also mentioned that she doesn’t experience romantic attraction, another reason I want to have a book about her, we need more aromantic lead characters!
✨ Vagary (noun) A whimsical, wild, or unusual idea ✨
Sorcery of Thorns truly does worldbuilding right. Once again Margaret Rogerson shows that she can create a truly magnificent new world within the span of a standalone fantasy book. Like always I want MORE, her books could make for such fantastic duologies, because she has so many fantastic ideas that could fill whole Series, please someone make that happen. For real, the magic system and world was so lovely and vivid, I was immediately immersed. I LOVED all the book appreciation that was conveyed by Elisabeth’s love for books and the central role of librarians in this world. They are not only the guardians of books (and strictly forbidden from interacting with sorcery), but can become wardens, who resemble warriors and are tasked with handling more difficult grimoires. In general, I loved the grimoires and how they are actually ALIVE in this book. There’s nothing better than living books, that each have their own quirks and abilities. In this world books are classified from 1 to 10 in order of how dangerous they are, 10 being the deadliest. The more dangerous books usually contain dark spells or knowledge and can turn ‘evil’ aka destructive if not properly handled. I did like the less dangerous books too, because I would love to befriend one of them and talk to books all day. However, as then title suggests there is also sorcery and I like that here it’s not really hereditary, as you gain magical powers by bargaining part of your life to a demon from the Otherworld. The ‘magical’ families still exist as they usually all make deals with the same demon and hand down magic that way. However, demons are dangerous as they are bound to their Master and would like to find a way to be free. All in all, this book was a masterpiece of engaging and interesting worldbuilding.
💕 Serendipity (noun) Finding something good without looking for it 💕
What truly impressed me about this book were the close, flawed relationships between the characters, romantic and platonic in nature. Of course, I was awed by the slow burn romance between Nathaniel and Elisabeth, I’m always drawn to couples with lots of chemistry and banter. They delivered on that end and were such a realistic couple, that came naturally, and every person still had their own struggles and character Arc. I love that we got to see their bond deepened, but that it never overtook the story. It just naturally got integrated into the flow of the plot. [In slightly less coherent words: AHHH I loved these two so much, they were very cute and flirty and funny, my favorite type of couple! 😍💖💕] The platonic dynamics stole my heart as well. We didn’t see that much of Elisabeth and Katrien, but I loved them as best friends who never abandoned each other and were always partners in crime. Katrien didn’t mind that Elisabeth was a bit odd and accepted her for all her flaws, that’s true friendship. In addition, I liked how Silas was a demon – and therefore dangerous in nature – developed such close relationships to humans. He is like a family member for Nathaniel and truly cares about him, even though he made a deal for him, that will take 20 years of his life. When he had no one else, Silas cared for him like he was his child. Then, he doesn’t know Elisabeth that long, but immediately sticks up for her when he sees that she’s a good person. I liked how they became friends against all odds!
“Books, too, had hearts, though they were not the same as people’s, and a book’s heart could be broken; she had seen it happen before. Grimoires that refused to open, their voices gone silent, or whose ink faded and bled across the pages like tears.”
Are you going to read Sorcery of Thorns? What is your favorite book with magician’s? 💖