August 25, 2019

"Sorcery of Thorns" by Margaret Rogerson Review


Book: Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

My Rating: ★★★ 3/4 (3.75 Stars)

Synopsis: 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.

      Before receiving my OwlCrate box with Sorcery of Thorns, I’d heard very little buzz on the book. It was something that popped up a little bit on Goodreads and Twitter, but nothing overly hyped that put it on my radar. That being said, when I received it in my OwlCrate box, I was pretty excited because not only was the cover super pretty with my favorite shade of purple, but the premise of books coming alive that surrounded the book captivated me. That being said…

      I have mixed feelings on this book. Even after having a day to mull over my thoughts, I’m not quite sure where I’m at. I don’t hate the book by any means, but I don’t think it was fantastic. I saw another review describe the book as “fantasy-lite” with a sprinkle of romance, and that is exactly what this book was. The fantasy in this book was very light, and that’s an aspect of the book that really let me down. I was expecting more explanation on how the magic system worked, some world-building, why the wardens hate books, why the wardens and sorcerers have beef, more on the whole books coming alive thing, but that didn’t really happen. I was super let down about the whole no explanation on the books thing because the concept of books coming alive is something so foreign that it needs a lot of explanation, especially since I couldn’t really get an imagine of what these transformed books might look like in my head. Basically what I’m saying it I wanted more fantasy from this fantasy marketed book.

      As far as the plot went, it wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Special girl meets boy, boy is special so she hates him of course, something happens that only special girl can solve, special boy eventually comes around to help special girl, they fall in love, the end. I’m pigeon-holing the story of course, but that’s essentially it wrapped up in a nutshell. I think the plot (and the fantasy to be honest) could have been flushed out better if the story was not a standalone. Going into this book, I thought this was the start of a trilogy, or at the very least the duology. I soon realized about halfway through that this was probably just a standalone and that bummed me out. I think a lot of the issues I had with the book could have been resolved if the overall story was a part of more than one book. For instance, the pacing of this book was super odd and something that I just couldn’t shake off. A lot happened in the beginning, then it slowed down, then a shit ton was thrown at us, then it slowed down and I was like where is this, going and finally it ramped up again until wham bam we were at the end and I was like that’s it? All in all, I didn’t hate the plot, but damn could it have been more.

      The final, and arguably one of the most important aspects of the book, was the characters. I’m going to be honest from the get go: there was nothing special about any of the characters. There I said it. Elisabeth was the typical “quirky” girl who was seen by others as this adorable weirdo, especially when she was first put into the limelight. It’s clear from the beginning that there is something different about her as far as magic effects her, and when the explanation of that was given, I was disappointed. It wasn’t a terrible explanation, but it just kind of felt like a cop-out and not as magical as it could have been.

      As far as her love interest, Nathaniel, is considered, I’ll be honest and say he kind of stole a piece of my heart. Nathaniel is this a sarcastic, queer, loveable, asshat and the lines he delivered were pure gold. Every time he went to speak, I thought, “what amazing weirdness is this boy going to speak now”. He kind of reminded me as a mix of Damon from “The Vampire Diaries” and Stiles from “Teen Wolf” and that did it for me. I loved the fact that him being bi was not a big deal and not an element that pushed the plot. If I could get a book just about him from his perspective, I would get it in a heartbeat.

      The final character who really matters is Silas. He was a character I didn’t expect to like as much as I did. He’s a stoic yet funny character in the way that he deals with Nathaniel’s shit. I wish we got to know more about him, but I guess that air of mystery is part of what makes him the character he is.

      Overall this was a quick, entertaining read. It drew me in from the beginning, and while the pacing and plot wasn’t the greatest, it was enough to keep me interested and entertained. Nathaniel and Silas really made the book for me, and if they weren’t as great as they were, I would not enjoyed this as much as I did. And as I mentioned before, I still have mixed feelings. This book was by no means the best book I’ve read in a while, but it also wasn’t awful. I think the majority of people will really enjoy this book, and I suppose that is all that matters.

      This was a super long review, and if you read it all the way through, then damn, thank you. If you read this book, what are your thoughts? Are you one of the people who thought it was amazing? Or are you like me and thought it was just pretty good? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below.

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