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.
If y’all remember anything from the past year or so, you will remember that one of my absolute FAVORITE releases in the past decade was An Enchantment of Ravens. To say that the author’s second novel (although unrelated to her debut plot-wise) was anticipated would be an understatement.
Overall, I adored everything the novel was out to do; the plot focused greatly on the importance of books, and we had a super tall librarian kick-butt heroine who it’d be hard for me to love any more. However, I felt that this book lost a lot of what I loved about Rogerson’s writing, which was her prose.
Now, I think that this is easily explained by the fact her first novel was a fantasy romance, and this one was very much a fantasy novel that had romance. There was less time spent on emotions and imagery, and more on the action and fighting scenes. I don’t dislike these qualities, but I felt that it weighed down the flowy, immersive parts of her writing style I had been drawn to in the first novel. I didn’t dislike it by any means, but it was a surprising change and was not at all what I expected. Not bad, just different, and I liked the change overall!
Overall, I loved the story. It reminded me quite a bit of Howl’s Moving Castle plot-wise, but not at all story-telling wise. Rogerson went for a more serious tone with this novel, and it works for her story She changed her storytelling and her writing quite a bit, and although it didn’t hit me the way An Enchantment of Ravens did, I still quite enjoyed it, and I adored the world and the characters she created.
Overall, a win big for me.
4 out of 5 stars.