Sorcery of Thorns is a magical YA fantasy that grabs hold and doesn't let go
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Published 2019, 453 pages
This amazing tale is about Elisabeth Scrivener, a teenage librarian in a library filled with magical books. These books are alive and can speak, move, and do magic. The librarian's job is to keep the books safe but also to keep them locked up so they can't unleash their magic and mayhem into the world.
For these were not ordinary books the libraries kept. They were knowledge, given life. Wisdom, given voice. They sang when starlight streamed through the library’s windows. They felt pain and suffered heartbreak. Sometimes they were sinister, grotesque—but so was the world outside. And that made the world no less worth fighting for, because wherever there was darkness, there was also so much light.
Elisabeth is an orphan, raised in the library by one of the wardens (main guardians of the stronger books). She's a young woman who is NOT afraid to test the boundaries or to break the rules. She is raised to believe in the sanctity and necessity of keeping the books locked up; she is taught that sorcery and magic are harmful; she is taught that demons are evil. Well, she's about to have all her beliefs tested!
As the story unfolds, a powerful book (grimoire) is stolen and in trying to save it, she's actually painted as the perpetrator, so loses her position in the library. From there the adventures unspool one after another, leading her to the head of the library system (not a good guy) and to Nathaniel, a sorcerer, and his demon, Silas. The three of them eventually wind up working together to save their world.
“It was always wise to be polite to books, whether or not they could hear you.”
Rogerson delivers a fast paced, well written story and though there's a bit of teenage romance, and plenty of fighting, there is nothing graphic or explicit. The main characters of Elisabeth, Nathaniel and Silas are SO well made that I loved inhabiting their world with them.
Set in a medieval world with carriages and bonnets and the appropriate social mores, Elisabeth stands out as a person committed to doing what she thinks is right regardless of the consequences. Nathaniel is a little less substantive as he is sort of a stereotypical brooding, restrained gentleman. Silas - ahhh, Silas. He's a powerful demon from whom Nathaniel draws his magical powers - he's nominally Nathaniel's servant though so much more. He's cold and severe and harsh, BUT, he's got a spark of unexpected humanity that makes him maybe the most interesting character.
“Knowledge always has the potential to be dangerous. It is a more powerful weapon than any sword or spell.”
A slight quibble is that the ending is a bit tidy, maybe a little too Hollywood, but it definitely does not detract from the overall story. This captivating story is worth your time if you want to be removed from the real world for a while and reside among magical books and a determined young lady.