Review: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson … In BUZZWORDS 🖤


Published: October 5, 2021 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

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The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.


CW’s: Anxiety & Panic Attacks, Gore, Violence, Death/Murder, Possession, Trauma, Self-Harm, Past Child Neglect, Mention of Suicide

Representation 🌷 Social Anxiety




Awkward & Unconventional Heroine 🖤

“I wished I were better at speaking. All those thoughts were in my head, but I didn’t know how to get them out.”

I definitely related to Artemisia. ➽ She’s been possessed by a spirit when she was younger and is still dealing with the lingering trauma. Artemisia is happy to be a Gray Sister as it means not having to talk to other people. She struggles with forming relationships and always seems to say the wrong thing. I found her awkwardness and avoidance of having to talk to people pretty relatable. It was nice to see a more unconventional heroine, who isn’t good at charming others and prefers to keep to herself. Artemisia isn’t especially pretty or heroic, yet it seems like she’s the only one who can wield the high relic that binds a revenant, the most dangerous type of spirit. After her convent is attacked, she sets out to help the people and quickly becomes a sort of legend herself. I loved that she was uncomfortable by all the attention and fame, as I would have also been overwhelmed! Another highlight was her unlikely friendship with Marguerite, another girl at her convent that she didn’t get along with at first. Both are very different from each other and don’t know how to communicate at first. I loved that Marguerite had hidden depths that Artemisia hadn’t anticipated and became an important part of the book.


Evil Spirit Companion 😈

“The revenant noticed me sizing up an escape route. “You had better not, nun. Ideally the priest won’t be looking for you at all, but he certainly won’t be looking for a version of you that’s voluntarily socializing with a group of humans. Also, I want to try a pastry.” I felt obscurely betrayed.”

One of my favorite things is the main character being forced to team up with an evil, untrustworthy entity! ➽ The revenant is a Fifth Order spirit of immense power and malice. Artemisia has no choice but to wield its relic in order to stand a chance against the other spirits. Both of them share a body and can communicate, but the revenant might betray her or try to properly possess her at any chance it gets. I LOVED the snark and banter between them. The revenant is grumpy, mean, and spiteful, yet it has no choice but to work with Artemisia for now, as otherwise it’s trapped in its relic again. Despite making clear how much it hates the ‘wretched nuns’ and threatens to murder everyone, you can also glimpse a softer side to it. That’s what made the revenant so interesting, it’s untrustworthy and dangerous but also shows an unlikely care for Artemisia. I appreciate that their (very much not romantic) relationship was the focus of the book!


Saints, Nuns & Ghosts 😇👻

You do realize there’s nothing mystical about ravens, don’t you? They don’t gather around convents because they’re divine messengers of your goddess. They come because that’s where humans bring the corpses.”
“That’s fine. If he’s leading us to corpses, that’s where I want to go.”
“You must be popular at the nun parties. Do you have any friends? Just out of curiosity.

The world of Vespertine is so immersive and perfect for fall! ➽ The dead of Loraille rise up as malicious spirits if they haven’t been properly cleansed and buried. Depending on their death they turn into different types of spirits that are sorted into orders. The higher the order, the more dangerous the spirit. Only people with the Sight can fight against them, but they are also in danger of being possessed. Sighted girls like Artemisia are sent to become nuns and serve the people in a number of ways, yet Artemisia is content to stay a Gray Sister, responsible for the burial rites of the dead. Another interesting element are the relics, as they can bind a spirit and harness its power. It can be a struggle to control the relic, especially if it binds a stronger spirit. Between old magic, Saints, dangerous revenants, and the dead rising in alarming numbers, Vespertine is an engaging and suspenseful Fantasy book that has a lot to offer!

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Did you read Vespertine? What’s your favorite Fantasy book about ghosts/spirits? 👻

4 thoughts on “Review: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson … In BUZZWORDS 🖤

  1. I love this review so much and I LOVED buddy reading with you! Well, I guess we’re technically still BRing since I haven’t finished it yet, but I only have a little bit left and I’m planning on finishing it tonight so we can discuss the ending! I’m so excited, but I’m also SO sad to see it end lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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