Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

by - October 27, 2020


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.


I want to start this review with a declaration; I loved this book. I'm still trying to determine if it was the right timing or the actual story but this book took hold of me during a time that I was not the biggest Young Adult book fan. This may sound like I had every intention of hating this book but I genuinely did not expect just how much it captivated me. Sure, looking back now I do see some plot holes and I can't stand behind the "instalove" but for a standalone book, this book did just enough.

We start off following our young protagonist Elisabeth as she once again breaks the rules. She immediately introduces herself as the type of heroine I want to read about. Curious, brave, and smart; a combination that I wish more young adult authors would get right. Once this was established, the story simply snowballed and turned into one of my favourite reads of 2020. I laugh at it now because this purchase was very last minute, the type of book you add when you want the free shipping.

But that last-minute spark of inspiration introduced me to Margaret's writing for the first time and I can officially say that I'm a fan. Her writing is simple and beautiful, which effortlessly carried the story along, making it an easy read. I felt like no chapter was wasteful, with Elisabeth taking very little time to wallow about and think about her next plan. No, in this story she kept going and going until she reached her goal. I find that standalone books are best for those of us who despite filler chapters that don't correlate to the story.

While the world-building does not reach epic fantasy levels, it does just enough to teach the reader about this world's history and customs. The magical system was not too complex but it still sounded unique and interesting. I loved the idea of books coming to life and companion demons, which is how I came to read about my beloved Silas.

Most young readers might faint by the addition of Nathaniel but I found that Silas easily stole the show. He was generally the one saving Elisabeth (when she couldn't save herself) and accompanying her on her adventures, which in turn helped make the romance element less overbearing. However, this lack of interaction between Nathaniel and Elisabeth also eventually made the romance feel forced. There was a balance there that I think the author missed slightly.

Despite the instalove, I still found this story intriguing. The ending was relatively predictable and our villain didn't stand out as an all-time favorite but like I said, he did just enough. "Just enough" might not sound like a stellar review but it's the only praise that accurately describes my reading experience. 

Rating: 4/5 stars.

Goodreads Description:

You May Also Like