Author: Margaret Rogerson
Published: June 4th, 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genres: young adult, fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 456 pages
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.
When there’s an attack on her library, Elisabeth – our brave library apprentice – attempts to intervene, but only digs herself in a hole when she’s blamed for the escape of a powerful grimoire. Seeking help from Nathaniel Thorn, a sorcerer, and his demonic servant Silas, they find themselves in the midst of a century-long conspiracy that threatens the Great Libraries, and ultimately, the world. They attempt to seek the truth together, but everything Elisabeth knows about sorcerers and demons will be challenged, and maybe being a future warden of the library is no longer the only thing there is to live for.
I emerged from the last page of this book with a broken heart. Some books can just truly suck you in, and at the end, they spit you back out into reality, and you just feel super lost and melancholy.
You belonged in the library, as much as any book.
I was so impressed by the world this author created, with its magical libraries full of sentient grimoires, broody banter, and devilishly handsome sorcerers and their softy demon servants. 😍 Sorcery of Thorns was basically a love letter to all of us book nerds out there because she created a place that I would give anything to live in! If I could talk to books, and they could talk back, I would live in the library forever – even if some of those grimoires were extremely dangerous. 😅
If she does not suffer from the lack of company, I fear it is because she sees grimoires as her friends in place of people.
Even the world outside of the libraries was impeccable. Written in a time before electricity (because forms of technology were thought to be the work of sorcery), they still used horse-drawn carriages to get around, and gaslight was a new discovery. And the magic system! Humans aren’t born with magic in Sorcery of Thorns, but gifted to sorcerers who summon demons. But a human can only summon a demon if they know their true name, and this information is passed down along the family line – and very carefully guarded – so the most powerful sorcerers have had the same demon serving their family for centuries.
Bargaining magical powers from demons comes with a terrible price: years of your life taken away, which can only be claimed by the demon once you die. The relationship between a demon and sorcerer is tricky, because the demon is bound to your service, but is eager to betray at every turn to fulfill their payment.
I knew you talked to books. I didn’t realize they listened.
The characters in this story were excellently written! Elisabeth was a strong and brave heroine, and Nathaniel was a sassy-pants with all the tender brooding that made me want to jump in the book and hug him. And then there was Silas, whose relationship with Nathaniel was everything. They have an unusual bond as sorcerer and servant, because Silas is the only family that Nathaniel has left. Despite that, Silas still demands years of Nathaniel’s life as payment for his servitude, which makes their friendship complex and can sometimes really yank at your heartstrings.
When it comes to Elisabeth and Nathaniel’s relationship, I was constantly giggling at the way Nathaniel would call her “chaotic” and a “menace” because of the way she charges headfirst into peril. There’s a slow-burn romance, and the delicious moments are perfectly sprinkled throughout the story to keep you turning the pages.
The beauty of this story is that it’s a standalone, but though the end is decisively perfect, it leaves you wanting more. I would probably give my left pinky toe for just another chapter, just one more so I didn’t have to be pushed back out into reality. I will definitely be on the look out for any more novels this author writes, and I still need to read her previous standalone, An Enchantment of Ravens. (Which I just purchased online yesterday – happy early Christmas to me!)