I recently finished Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson.
Who doesn’t love surprises? Am I right?
That sudden rush of a adrenaline when you realize something special is going on. That bursting through the seams excitement you get as you open the present or discover the unexpected gift.
Surprises come in all shapes and sizes.
A bar of chocolate, a new car, discovering you’re soon to be a parent, or going on an unexpected trip.
All of these things elicit a joy that can’t be experience any other way.
But what makes a surprise so exciting?
I think it’s the moment you realize the mundane expectations you had for the day were shattered and replaced with a sense of wonder and awe.
That’s what I felt when I read Sorcery of Thorns.
Sorcery of Thorns Review
I’ll be honest, the only reason I read Sorcery of Thorns is because it was our group read over at YA Fantasy Addicts on Facebook.
If it weren’t for that, I probably wouldn’t have read it.
Not for any particularly bad reason, I just felt the cover exuded a strong feeling of romance. Call it the roses, pinkish red gems on the sword or unnaturally voluptuous hair.
I don’t know.
It’s just the feeling I got.
And it’s not that I don’t enjoy a good fantasy romance. I just don’t normally pursue a book that appears to be entirely focused on it.
But boy was I wrong.
That’s not to say that there isn’t romance, because there is. But it takes a definite backseat to the world and story that is Sorcery of Thorns.
The book is called such because it centers around the idea that sorcery is evil, or at least that’s what Elisabeth has been told all her life. And it focuses on a one particular sorcerer, Magister Nathaniel Thorn.
It’s a clever title and one I can appreciate more after reading Sorcery of Thorns.
The Plot of Sorcery of Thorns
The book begins with Elisabeth, a lowly librarian’s apprentice, assisting the Director of the Great Library at Summershall as they lock up a particularly nasty Level 8 grimoire.
From the very first chapter you know that Sorcery of Thorns is going to be interesting because:
- The book is about librarians that function as defenders of peace.
- Books have soul and will and can talk.
- Books turn into giant monsters when used improperly.
- Elisabeth’s life goal is to become a warden, one of these defenders of peace.
There’s little I enjoy more than an author taking a mundane profession and spinning it in an exciting and thrilling way.
That’s not a knock on librarians. You all are wonderful people that allow me the opportunity to explore many worlds I couldn’t afford otherwise.
What I mean is that most books make the main hero the sorcerer rather than the librarian, the warrior rather than a simple tailor, like in Elizabeth Lim’s Spin the Dawn.
When tragedy strikes the only home that Elisabeth has ever known, she’s trust into the world of high society where sorcery is commonplace. It rocks the very foundations of everything she’s ever known.
And in the process she uncovers a plot that threatens the very existence of the entire world and she alone, and her affinity for books, can stop it.
What About The Romance?
Very early on in Sorcery of Thorns we meet Magister Nathaniel Thorn.
Turns out he’s pretty young for a sorcerer. He’s 18 years old, and he’s been a sorcerer since it was thrust upon him at the age of 12 years old.
He’s also Brassbridge’s (the capital) most eligible bachelor, but he’s completely uninterested in romance.
Not because of any particular lack of want, but because his family has a deep and dark secret. One he wouldn’t wish upon anyone and one he’s desperately tried to avoid all his life.
When Elisabeth first meets Nathaniel, she thinks he’s the epitome of evil. After all, all she’s ever been told was that sorcerers were wretched beings.
To become a sorcerer, one has to make a pact with a demon. The very act of becoming a sorcerer is a despicable thing. At least to the wardens of the library.
When Elisabeth bluntly confronts him with the fairy tales she’s heard about sorcerers, Nathaniel quips a pithy response dripping with sarcasm, yet Elisabeth takes him for real.
What ensues is a few chapters of hilarious dialogue and confrontations that are sure to make anyone squeal with delight.
Of course, their relationship progresses from there, but I’ll leave it for you to discover yourself.
Sorcery of Thorns is a standalone, and as such provides you with a complete tale from cover to cover.
The opening chapter is so gripping and the last line of the novel so full of hope and wonder that you can’t NOT love it.
It’s a big book with over 400 pages in the hardcover, but nearly every page was filled with excitement and every chapter ended with a hook that made putting the book down at night every difficult.
For all it’s good points though, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that at times the writing felt very basic. Some explanations and master plans to resolve a nearly impossible situation midway through the book left much to be desired.
But if you can accept that the people of the bookworld accept the reasoning given, then moving on to what happens next is an immediate return to the awesomeness that is Sorcery of Thorns.
4.5/5 stars for Sorcery of Thorns.
Looking for more reviews?
Check out my review of The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant.