Whenever a weapon is named, it becomes 10 times more badass. Would you rather have some random hunk of pointy metal, or wield Demonslayer?? Um, is that even a question? Demonslayer sounds wayyy cooler. If I had to name a sword I think I would go with Soulreaper. Or stabby Mcstabberson.
A lonely magician, a bookish girl, and their demon babysitter try to fight evil book monsters, what could possibly go wrong?
Book: Sorcery of Thorns
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Published June 4th 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
TW: Blood, blood magic, death of a child (off page), grief, physical violence
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. (from Goodreads)
Parts of the beginning are a bit rough. There is a heavy reliance on passages of books to do some of the world-building and setup. Once the action began that’s when it got good.
I also had a few problems with the writing itself. It had what I would describe as a lighter tone. The tone of the writing drew me in and helped me get to know the characters a bit more. But it didn’t 100% fit the mood. The story occurred in the 1800s, but based on the somewhat modern undertones laced with some historical jargon didn’t quite set the scene for me. It just made it a touch harder to get fully immerse into the book.
Elisabeth is one of my favorite characters ever. She is a touch naive at times (or maybe that’s just a comparison to recent morally grey characters I’ve read about), but her heart is so pure. She wants to do good for everyone. Also, she is a sword-wielding bookish queen (bonus points for naming the sword).
Watching Elisabeth’s worldview change as she learned more than just the library’s teaching was super interesting. She began to realize, even surrounded in a fortress of words and knowledge, there is always more to learn.
Nathaniel is dealing with some trauma after losing his entire family. He struggles to let people in, but once he begins to open up a bit more we get to see a snarky sorcerer that is impossible not to root for.
Elisabeth and Nathaniel complemented each other really well. Nathaniel helped Elisabeth see the world, and Elisabeth helped Nathaniel learn to let people in. And their verbal sparring was so good. My family was definitely giving me weird looks as I did the awkward snort-laugh thing.
The world that Rogerson was able to create…
The books literally come alive and it is the coolest thing ever. These books have it all: talk, have personalities, and turn into bloodthirsty monsters. One of the main settings is a library, so just imagine all of the bookish wonders I got to marvel in. Sorcery and Thorns is a book about books and magic, what more could you possibly ask for??
The magic was pretty easy to understand, but the demon summoning is hands down the best component. Demons are tied to their masters by creating a bargain. Throughout the book, the depth of the bargaining and trust were explored. This allowed Silas to become an especially interesting character because we never knew if he was being helpful or self-serving.
The end battle was everything I could possibly want it to be. It was both epic and dramatic while still having little moments that made me laugh. My personal favorite part was when they hurtled through different dimensions with a monster head in tow and then crashed into a tea party.
The epilogue made me want more. It was such a fantastic ending, but it left me handing and I NEED TO KNOW!!!
I would like to formally thank BookTok for the recommendation. This book exceeded all of my expectations in every way possible.
If you had a sword, what would you name it? Have you read Sorcery of Thorns? What did you think?