Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Review: Sorcery of Thorns

Title: Sorcery of Thorns
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Genre: fantasy
Release Date: June 4, 2019

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eARC provided through NetGalley

Elisabeth was raised in a library full of very dangerous books- dangerous books that whisper, bite, and sometimes invade minds. Spellbooks that turn into monsters if you go about them the wrong way. Her aspiration is to complete her apprenticeship and be a warden, to guard over the books in the magical library for terrifying sorcerers. But when she is blamed for a death at the library, and nobody believes her warnings that there's something more going on, she finds herself in a world more complicated than she's ever known and with stakes higher than she could have imagined. 

Out of Ten: 8/10

Review at a Glance: an equal parts familiar and original plot, with a strong lead and some surprisingly fun scenes.

Review: I requested this one after I finished listening to the audiobook of An Enchantment of Ravens. Partly because I quite enjoyed Enchantment, partly because I was intrigued by the synopsis, and partly because I'm a shallow person and I thought the cover was really pretty. 

I think in a lot of ways I enjoyed this one more than Enchantment, simply because I found this one funner to read. As a trope "girl moves into sorcerer's house, he complains but doesn't kick her out because he's being peer-pressured by his demon familiar" is just entertaining for me. (Howl's Moving Castle, anyone?) (Does that count as a trope? I think it should. And it should be used more because it has excellent potential.)

It took me a little while to get into this one, simply because the plot isn't quite structured in a typical way, the build is almost in fits and starts and it's almost like there are two plots layered together. One was the big, flashy plot about the risk to the world, and the second was smaller and more personal. The two threads interacted, but not so much that they ever really became one. I actually quite enjoyed this strategy, Margaret Rogerson did a pretty great job of making both plots ones that I was invested in. 

Elisabeth's growth as a character was interesting in that she doesn't so much change as a person- she is, at her core, not changed from the start of the book to the end, she just... grows more into those traits. She learns more about the world, remaining true to the core of herself. She's an enjoyable character to read, and I really enjoyed her dynamics wit the other characters. She's practical and stubborn and just... aggressively believes in people until they eventually have to accept that they're worth believing in. It's kind of a superpower. She's very much a storybook character in that way, and I appreciated it. I also liked the rest of the cast, although Nathaniel took some time to grow on me. Katrien was one of my favourites, although she had a smaller role than many of the other characters. 

In terms of setting... I am always a fan of a sinister library. The setting was interesting in that it was also set up as almost a character, and part of the plot. Also talking books are fun. This book played on a lot of familiar plot points and tropes (there were bits of the plot that reminded my Fullmetal Alchemist, for example, and I've already mentioned Howl's Moving Castle) but was enough of an engaging take on them that this was enjoyable, rather than tiring. I also laughed more than expected, since there are actually some funny moments in the book, despite the seriousness of what is going on during most of the book.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this one! I do like a good fantasy standalone and I do recommend picking this one up if it sounds like your kind of book!

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