Cover Image: Sorcery of Thorns

Sorcery of Thorns

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Member Reviews

A fantastical adventure for young adults!
Thanks to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Margaret McElderry Books for the opportunity to read and review Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson!
Elisabeth is a librarian who aspires to be a warden of the library. Many books are “alive” and have to be kept safe and sometimes locked up to prevent harm. The Book of Eyes escapes and Elisabeth is locked up afterwards. She’s transported to Chancellor Ashcroft’s where she discovers that he’s the mastermind behind the Director’s death and many more atrocities. She escapes his clutches and finds refuge at the Thorn residence. Nathaniel Thorn is a young sorcerer and his servant, Silas, is a higher demon that has served the Thorn family for generations. Together, the three of them try to end the sabotage of the Great Libraries and continue to unravel the entire plan. I really want this book to be the beginning of a series instead of a stand alone book. The fun, dynamic characters and the library setting with live grimoires makes an interesting world that I don’t want to leave. 5 stars for this fantastical book!
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At what point does the pursuit of progress become the justification for sheer arrogance? This theme lives as the undercurrent for Margaret Rogerson’s newest novel, Sorcery of Thorns. Elisabeth Scrivner was abandoned on the steps of one of The Great Libraries, protectors of magical artifacts and grimoires. She grew up within the walls of Summershall, surrounded by the whispers of the books and training to fight them should they transform into a Malefict – a monster of ink and leather. Her dream is to become a Warden of the library, but all of that changes when the Director is killed and she’s shipped off to the Magisterium. Elisabeth must clear her name, confront her internalized prejudices against sorcerers, and save the world while navigating the upper-class political world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, finding myself in Elisabeth’s awkwardness and resilience to the crappy things that happen to her in the story. I found myself falling in love with ALL of the characters, no matter how minor. I found them all to be rather fleshed out and each one had their own distinctive voice, even if we only got a few paragraphs with them. I’ve always believed that books were magical, but Margaret Rogerson gives them breath and feelings, and reminds us that knowledge isn’t necessarily good or evil, but what matters is how it is utilized.
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4.5 stars!

I adored this stand-alone, young adult fantasy from Margaret Rogerson. She's been nailing fantasy novels, and after reading this book you can't help but want to stay in the world for a little longer. Her writing is enchanting and the storyline is enthralling. I would definitely recommend this story for fantasy fans.

Elizabeth is a spunky heroine who ends up on an adventure with Nathaniel, a mysterious sorcerer (he's also bisexual!) who is intrigued by her. They work together to uncover a conspiracy on burning libraries, and work to reclaim the magical grimoires of the world. Elizabeth's beliefs that sorcerers are evil are challenged, and Nathaniel slowly opens himself up as they learn more of each other in this slow-burn romance. I can't wait to see what kind of story Rogerson brings us in her next book!
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This is another book that I really missed out on. I had this Netgalley ARC months before it was released, and subsequently exploded onto the book community. I think I had been recommended this book more than any other in recent memory, and was very nervous going into this story for that very reason. So many people told me I’d love this. But what if I didn’t? And they said it would be loads better than Margaret’s first novel, An Enchantment of Ravens, but that novel absolutely stole my heart. What if Sorcery of Thorns just didn’t live up to the pressure and expectations that had been placed on it?

I picked this up as my last book in the #stayhomereadingrush and managed to read 92 pages before the clock struck midnight. I was quite enjoying what I was reading, but I had the hardest time concentrating on the words or what they meant arranged in a sentence. I managed to finish the book with a sense that I had just read something great, but I couldn’t remember most of what I had read. I knew to do this book, and myself, justice I’d have to reread it. (I don’t normally get brain fog like this, but corona had really done a number on me emotionally this week).

The reread went excellently. There were so many parts of the story that didn’t completely make sense the first go-round, that were clear as day the second time. Turns out I had ‘read’ entire pages without ingesting a single word from them. That makes it pretty hard to discern who is doing what or why it matters, in my opinion.

Our main character, Elisabeth, had grown up in a magical library. We’re a page or two in and already I’m jealous of her. The books in Elisabeth’s library were all sentient beings, with differing levels of communication and personalities. Some books would sing unsolicited, some would spit wads of ink at passersby, but all the books knew Elisabeth was special, even if she didn’t yet know it herself. I could quite possibly read a whole book just about how the books acted towards each other and other librarians, but I digress.

Then we meet Nathaniel, a sorcerer who uses a demon (Silas) as his conduit for magic. The entire world opens up for Elisabeth when she is forced to leave her library and travel with Nathaniel and Silas to the epicenter of their world.

This book had some really nice representation that I hope becomes a theme among YA books. Nathaniel describes himself as liking both when referring to his sexual orientation, as if it’s not a big deal. Because, you know, who someone likes isn’t a big deal or anyone else’s business, as Elisabeth points out to a gossip one night at a dinner party. I’m pretty sure I fist pumped the air during both of those scenes. There’s also a lot of body acceptance in this novel that I felt was refreshing. One example is Elisabeth herself, who happens to be very tall for a female, but she is never derogatory towards herself, and is never overtly made fun of for her size. Instead it is toted as an advantage during the multiple fight scenes where she kicks absolute butt.

The plot in this novel was very well crafted. While I was reading, I could clearly see all the places where the author had known the ending intimately, and then sprinkled in hints along the way. Hints that never amounted to anything in my brain, however. I was stumped until the very end, even on the second reread since I completely missed the main point the first time.

I really liked the struggles the characters faced as the plot progressed. No, I didn’t love the anxiety I had when Elisabeth or Nathaniel were close to death (MORE THAN ONCE), but I do love how it can be perceived through the reader. Elisabeth grew up in the libraries, being taught that demons and sorcery are evil and have no place near a librarian/warden. The longer Elisabeth spends time with Silas or Nathaniel, the more she begins to question the truth and virility of those sentiments. Yes, Silas has killed countless (literally) individuals, but as the story progresses we see him begin to be affected by Elisabeth, and Elisabeth be affected by him. Nathaniel struggles with his family legacy of necromancy. This is what everyone believes he was born and bred to do, and that he is inherently evil because of it. He even believes this of himself, and doesn’t allow anyone into his life due to his fear that he will be their demise.

Both Elisabeth and Nathaniel struggle to determine what is true for them. Is it the sheltered prejudice from the wardens of years past, or is it a generational curse that seems doomed to repeat itself? While these struggles are tainted with a fantastical viewpoint, they are also incredibly relatable for any reader. Both of these characters go through major transformations of mindset throughout this story, and by the end, it’s like a wight has been lifted off of them.

Reading this book made me think of all the books on my shelves. If they could talk or move, what would they say? Are they sad that some of them have been sitting, covered in a light layer of dust, for years without being read? My little librarian heart can’t think about it too long or I’ll get too sad. I can see why people prefer Sorcery of Thorns over An Enchantment of Ravens. The stories are completely different in so many ways. Both stories have a huge space in my heart: Sorcery of Thorns was so well put together and developed, while An Enchantment of Ravens was so raw and beautiful. I struggle to pick a favorite, so I won’t. I’ll just recommend them both.
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"Sorcery of Thrones" is a YA fantasy that is an ode to the book girls of the world. In a fantasy world of yore, our heroine has grown up in one of the great libraries, studying to become a library apprentice (and ultimate leader). This isn't just Dewey Decimal System mastery--the books here are magical, alive (grimoires), and they range from neutral to downright malevolent. It is the library's job to keep their world safe from the forces of uncontrolled magic--and so of course, things go awry, and Elisabeth's training will be tested.

The book jacket will start off by telling you about another feature of Elisabeth's world--that sorcerers are viewed as evil, and Elisabeth will have to work with one. That's true (and the sorcerer is a fun character), but the real story here is about the magic of books, and the joy we find within them.
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I didn’t write a review immediately after reading the book so I’ve forgotten some of my reasons for choosing the rating that I did. Thanks, goldfish brain. I do know that I spent the entire time reading the book thinking “okay, I want to fight demon books.” So there’s something I never thought I’d be jealous about. I loved the magic system - this is a universe so detailed that it would make sense to have more books set in it. It ended sort of...tidily, which is my only complaint. There was this huge build up and everything is tense and then...womp womp.

Also I know we shouldn’t judge books on their covers but wow, the cover. That color palette and paint job is everything. Charlie Bowater is such a talented artist.
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Margaret Rogerson’s sophomore novel, Sorcery of Thorns, reads like a love letter to libraries, books, and readers. The orphaned protagonist, Elisabeth Scrivener, was raised in one of the Great Libraries to become a warden, a protector of the library’s grimoires. When Elisabeth is accused of a murder she didn’t commit, she has to leave her home in the Great Library and make an unlikely alliance with a sorcerer named Nathaniel. While she attempts to clear her name, she uncovers danger, conspiracies, and an evil she never expected.

Mixing high fantasy, romance, and gothic elements, Sorcery of Thorns is an engaging story that presents a fascinating world, a breathtaking plot, and deep themes on morality and family. Our panel also enjoyed the representation of bisexuality in a fantasy setting, the lore of the demons, and the quick pace.

Samantha Randolph, YA Books Central
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I really enjoyed this title, it was fast-paced and characters are likable. I wish we would have learned more about Elisabeth's special circumstances and the magic behind it. I loved the witty banter between  Elisabeth and Nathaniel, but my favorite character was Silas! I'm super bummed we won't learn more about him as this is a stand-alone. Actual rating 3.5
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This is one of the best books I've read this year. I was in a bit of a slump where what I was reading, for the most part was good, but not what I wanted - a roaring fantasy with characters I wanted to fall in love with and go visit.

That's exactly what this was. Nathaniel, Elisabeth, and Silas are the best. Even the secondary characters are well done. There's so much in this book that it's hard to believe it isn't a complete series instead of a standalone book.

I need someone who has read this to have spoiler-y conversations with me. I need fandom items for this book. I need to hug Silas and Nathaniel and Elisabeth, and probably in that order.

I'm so glad I finally got to read this book. I'll be reading it again soon.
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This was delightful. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun with a book! I fell into it immediately; it possesses that elusive and cozy familiarity that some books just do, and I couldn't put it down. I loved the characters and their friendships and even the romance! This read very much like Classic Fantasy with a Victorian Twist, and it was an absolute joy to read.
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I LOVED THIS BOOK. I'm sad I did not have time to give this book a review before its publication date, but after finally having time to read it, holy cow. All the vibes of Harry Potter's Monsters Book of Monsters. So good.
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From page 1, I was completely hooked into the story. I mean, realistically, I was hooked from the synopsis. You had me at magic library. I loved the idea of having magic books (grimoires), and a elite group of librarians who are sworn to protect them. Seriously, just a fantastic idea for a story. 

I will admit, that the entire time I read this book, I pictured both Nathaniel and Silas as Ciel and Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) [Sebastian = Nathaniel, Silas = Ciel]. And it definitely worked for me, I mean, they're both demon butlers essentially 😭

However, the entire last half of the story completely sucked me in. I stayed up extremely late one night in order to finish reading it, and I just really loved all of the characters and the twists and turns that the plot took. I never really knew how it would end until it did, which was a perfect way to end it if you ask me. If you enjoy just a really fun fantasy that has bad-ass demon servants, magic libraries with crazy living books (think of the books in Harry potter, the one's with teeth!), and swoony romance, then please do yourself a favor and purchase this book from your local indie or add to your TBR! Teacher friends, this is definitely one you'll want on your classroom bookshelves! 

I cannot wait to see what Rogerson will bring to the table for her next book as she has just become an auto-buy author (Joining Victoria Schwab, Kristen Ciccarelli, and Tricia Levenseller among many others!), I'm sure whatever it is will be just as fantastic!

Thanks again to Simon and Schuster & Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for my honesty!
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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, which is why I did not download it. Unfortunately, the story did not grab me the way I was expecting. The writing is beautiful, but I just did not care about the characters or what happened.
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This book was so much fun! I loved the magical world that was created and how strong the heroine was! I am definitely going to re-read this one!
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I read and enjoyed this author's first book, "Enchantment of Ravens". This book is a bit of a lighter romp, even though it contains necromancy. It's very YA. There's a lot of fun stuff.

Elisabeth has been raised in a Library with a capital L. In her world, books contain life and power. If they are damaged, they can become monstrous, dangerous creatures called Maleficts. Great Libraries are for containing books of power, and Elisabeth wants more than anything to be a Warden, one of those who watch over the books and keep them from sorcerers. She's 17.

After the worst happens to a very powerful spellbook, Elisabeth finds herself headed to the big city with the one sorcerer that she has met, the scion of a powerful family of necromancers, the only one left because of a family tragedy. His name is Nathaniel. He's 18 years old. 

Elisabeth and Nathaniel (never Nate for this one!) and his demon familiar Sebastian end up working together against a plot against the Great Libraries, put in motion by one of the very seats of power. The bad guy doesn't take long to show his true spots.

Elisabeth is larger than average and very strong and damage resistant. The book actually gives an interesting reason for her unusual abilities. Elisabeth is also fearless, a paladin who unhesitatingly throws herself into the cause of right and justice, after she reconsiders exactly what justice is. Some reviewers more familiar with anime than I am seem to think that Elisabeth and Nathaniel are reworked versions of characters in an anime series. I don't know about that, but Nathaniel certainly feels like he could come out of an anime. His hair is black as midnight, his eyes are green and glow emerald when he uses his magic, he dresses in a very dapper manner and is always there with the lighthearted quip. He's adorable, and I feel a bit uneasy about my fondness for him because, hey, the kid is all of 18 years old and I'm enough older than that... but it's a book so it's fine. 

Although some of the subject matter is dark, this feels like a very frothy book. It's put together a bit haphazardly, but contains enough stuff that I like that I didn't look at it very critically. There is a cute couple and a demon familiar with white hair who turns into a white cat. Sebastian the familiar is cut very much from the anti-hero mode. He is small and innocuous, but absolutely deadly. He is fastidious and polite, but warns Elisabeth that if he is ever set free of a familiar's bonds he will be worse than anything they are trying to fight. He's woobified Loki, he's every bad-but-is-maybe really- good? character ever, but I still kind of liked him. The demons in this book feel very similar to the Fae in the author's previous book- they are vulnerable to iron and must keep to the letter of their promises. 

What else? There of course must be a ball so Elisabeth can wear a pretty dress. There must of course be a garden behind the manor where the ball is being held so there can be a dramatic scene. There are books with personalities who end up being part of the most heart-rending sacrifice in the book. There are Great Libraries with secret passages and starlit windows. This is YA without a lot of the angst and drama that I dislike. The two main characters certainly have their past problems, but they are far more focused on the problem at hand than obsessing over past pain. In this way the book almost feels like a throwback to an earlier style, and I've got to say I'm here for it. It's simple and fun. I need that once in a while, and I'd like the author to give me more to read.
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I loved every page of this book. It was such a fantastic read with beautiful prose. I highly recommend A Sorcery of Thorns!
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This was a very exciting book about the magic found in books and libraries.  I loved how the books take on a life of their own and are seen as these living, breathing things that play a huge part in the story.  The characters were easy to relate to, and the action kept you reading until the end.
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I loved everything about this book! It is also really nice that it is just a single book, not the start of a series. While I would love more of the characters and the lively grimoires, it is also nice to feel that the book simply reached a conclusion.
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Elisabeth is an apprentice librarian at a great library, until one night when someone attempts to destroy the library. This sets Elisabeth off on an adventure with a sorcerer and his demon servant as they attempt to save the rest of the great libraries, as well as the world, from the evils that lurk in the libraries. 
I really loved this story! Margaret Rogerson's writing is simply gorgeous. There were so many beautiful quotes within this book. I loved the way she brought the libraries to life, with the hierarchies of the wardens and apprentices, and the structures of the grimoires. It was thrilling, and made me wish so dearly that I could be a library apprentice like Elisabeth. 
The plot and adventure of this book were thrilling as well. I loved the setting of the magical libraries, the grimoires, and the societies. Seeing how the plot and the characters interact with the magical books, and how the books were at times the villains and the heroes, was thrilling.
The only downfall of this book for me was the pacing. As much as I loved the plot and the overall story of this book, I thought the pacing seemed just a tad off, and toward the end I was just ready for the story to be over with. Since Rogerson's debut book was so much shorter (almost 200 pages shorter) I can imagine that this will improve with her next book. 
Overall, I thought this was a gorgeously imaginative story that I will absolutely be recommending to the patrons in my library!
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*I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

I mean, awesome librarians who protect, guard, and fight books of magic that become monsters?? A sorcerer with a demon familiar who act like family? Really there is so much here that seems designed for me, it was impossible for me not to like this book.  

This book as magic, betrayal, adventure, and so many other elements I absolutely love. It also helps that I adored the characters. Elisabeth has been training to save people from dangerous grimoires her entire life and she isn't going to let the ignorant public get in her way. She's witty, kind, and so very easy to love. Nathaniel has some great dialogue with Elisabeth and I love how their relationship evolves. He has some problems which add more interest to the story. Then there is his demon familiar Silas, who almost stole the show for me. I think his role was written so well, and it is made clear many times that he IS a demon-- this isn't a fairy tale and this isn't a fact that should be forgotten. These characters and what happens to them almost broke my heart. 

To touch back on the lovely romance, it is a slow burn-- my favorite!! Seeing these two come together, realizing their feelings for each and the depth of it was so, so beautiful. They are a couple I absolutely rooted for the entire time and may be in fact relationship goals. 

Look, the story had me hooked. The opening scene brought me in with the atmospheric writing making me travel with them and the dangerous book. Then the last quarter or so was so suspenseful and intense I was flying through it. I had to put the book down with only 5% left to go to work and had contemplated calling in late in order to finish it-- IT WAS THAT GOOD. 

100% recommend this book. It is one of my new favorites and I plan on reading it again. 
If you are looking for a good fantasy standalone with lovable characters, engaging plot, and a romance that doesn't overshadow the story then pick this one up today!
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