Sorcery of Thorns

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 May 2019

Member Reviews

"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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This was such a fun read. It is a story about a librarian who discovers an evil plot and tries to stop it. I cannot rave enough about this book! It has adventure, fantasy, magic, libraries (!!!), demons, books, and literally the perfect characters (both good and bad). The world-building is captivating, the relationships between certain characters are just so fun (um, hello, Elisabeth and Katrien – could I also be your friend, pleeeease?!), and the story just grabs you. I literally read the whole book in a day and felt that I wanted more. My one complaint was the abrupt ending, which I so wish Rogerson would have expanded – but I do think I’m being selfish here, because I loved the story so, so much!
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I love that the story opens with the preconceived notions that the three MC's have towards each other, That sorcerers are evil, that librarians never dabble in magic and that demons can never feel empathy and concern. It is very much a book about dispelling myths and not judging a book by its cover. It is also a crazy adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat and turning pages, wondering if people are who they truly seem. 
It was definitely a 24-hour read for me!

The tension between Nathaniel and Elizabeth is ridiculous and surprisingly totally believable. I am also such a softy for hate to love tropes in books, so it definitely had my attention. I would say though that Silas really took the prize on character development and making you care about him. The whole time you are reading Silas is an enigma. Is he good? Is he bad? What are his real intentions? and is he really a demon to the core like people around town say he is? in the end what Silas goes through, what he reveals and what we learn about him really added to the story and turned out to be some of the best writing I have read in a while.

This book was quite big and somehow I still wanted it to last longer, I wanted more of the story and that was the part that was truly magical. This book was equal parts character-driven and plot-driven which really kept you moving through the book at a steady pace, I honestly didn't feel like there were any lulls in the reading.
Literally couldn't put it down.

Last but not least the themes that were covered in this book were varied and powerful in their own right. Women empowerment, facing your fears, judging others, learning that there is a fine line between right and wrong, lgbtqia+ characters, discovering a new part of yourself, just to name a few! 

It had it all book wardens who protect great libraries, sorcerers, adventures, soul, love. I never thought there would be a story that would rival the stories of Belle's library but I finally found it! However, I think I will stick to being an archivist because me holding a sword? that wouldn't turn out well.

Stories like this are great for everyone out there, so I really encourage parents, young adults and even children who are up for the challenge to immerse themselves in a world they will not want to leave behind.
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Wow wow wow. SORCERY OF THORNS is one of those books you could eat with a spoon. The story world feels rich and totally immersive. I loved the library where Elisabeth grew up. A library full of books that are literally dangerous?! So cool.

Elisabeth makes for a truly compelling heroine, too. She’s smart, loyal, and clever. She cares very much about doing the right thing, even when her heart and her head war with each other over what that right thing is.

Okay, and this is very weird, but I loved the demon character, Silas. In SORCERY OF THORNS, demons are creatures from another dimension who wield great power. Elisabeth has been taught that demons are evil, untrustworthy creatures, and yet she begins to suspect that Silas cares for Nathaniel and protects him, which should be impossible. I loved watching her hunch play out, and waiting to see if she’d be proved right, and to what extent. Also, OMG the end of this book! I have so much love for the ending.

Thinking about Nathaniel, I’m kind of burned out on the bad-boy-you-shouldn’t-love-because-he-isn’t-capable-of-returning-your-affection kind of thing lately, so I feel like Nathaniel had a pretty high hill to climb with me in terms of whether I’d actually like him. And honestly, by about the middle of the story, I really started to like him a lot. By the end, I was a true fan.

I haven’t read Margaret Rogerson’s first book, but you can read Gabrielle’s review. And after reading SORCERY OF THORNS, I absolutely have to get my hands on a copy of ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS. If you liked the Thickety series by J. A. White or The Great Library series by Rachel Caine, you definitely want a copy of SORCERY OF THORNS in your hands as soon as possible.
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This book was everything! The story was so original, the writing was perfect and the characters were some of my favorite characters I have ever read about. 

I was first intrigued about this story when I found it was set in a library with books that are basically alive. I knew I had to read it, and it definitely did not disappoint. 

I loved Elisabeth. She was so brave and kind, but my favorite part of this whole story was Nathanial and Silas. Any time these two were on the page, I needed more!

I loved that this book was a standalone and the ending gave me all the feels. I highly recommend this book. It was one of my favorite books I read this year!
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