Spoiler Free Review: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Title: Vespertine

Author:ย Margaret Rogerson

Pub. Date:ย October 5th 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format:ย eARC

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages:ย 400pages

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We follow Artemesia, a gray sister at a convent who prepares the bodies of the dead to enter the spirit world. She prefers to fly under the radar and have minimal contact with others since doing so often leads to anxiety. Artmesia is walking the path to one day becoming a nun when her convent comes under attack by possessed soldiers forever changing her life course. Within the convent there are Nuns who can wield relics which harness spirits, all know of one powerful Relic that is kept under guard. During the invasion, Artemesia discovers the spirit that is attached to this relic better known as a Revenant. The Revenant is a very powerful being who threatens to possess Artemesia the minute she awakens it. From the minute the Revenant makes it appearance we get the sense it truly hates all Nuns and then the sarcasm begins and it’s made abundantly clear. The dialogue alone provided some of the best on page entertainment I’ve come across. The author best describes this book as a Medieval Venom starring a Nun and a ghost and I think thatโ€™s on point for accuracy๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ being in Artemesiaโ€™s head & hearing the exchanges with the Revenant had me in fits laughing out loud. The Revenant doesn’t let up on the fact that it LOATHES Nuns and makes sure Artemesia knows this while also threatening to take over (possess) if it pleases. Our main character is someone who struggles with mental health tied to a tragic event in her childhood. She doesnโ€™t do well around people in general but gets used to interacting with the Revenant and knows she needs its help to get answers.

This may come across as an unpopular opinion but having read Sorcery of Thorns (my review) and now Vespertine, I’m of the mind that this book is the stronger of the two with regards to character development. That being said, the plot towards the end of this book threw me off a bit and thatโ€™s why I docked it. Not sure if it was a me thing but I felt I lost sight of it and had to backtrack.
Otherwise, it was so damn good! Funny, witty, epic battle scenes and tragic at times. The world building was also very intriguing with Rogerson breaking down how certain spirits are manifested. Whether it was a violent death on a battlefield or the death of a child, the way a person loses their life determines the spirit left behind. There are religious themes explored along with possession that may or may not be to your liking. Personally, I don’t gravitate towards books with religious themes however the dialogue and witty banter between Artemisia and the Revenant all throughout had me giggling more times than I could count. I’m looking forward to the next book in this world seeing as the author introduces others spirits that are on the same level of power as the Revenant and would spell trouble if they were to gain their freedom. I’m curious to know whether the audiobook narrator nailed the performance of the Revenant and will most likely re-read in this format before the next book is released.ย 


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Spoiler Free Review: Sorcery Of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Title: Sorcery Of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Pub. Date:ย June 4th 2019

Genre:ย YA Fantasy

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 456

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When I first heard mention of this book my bookworm heart couldn’t contain the excitement. Who among us wouldn’t love a story set in a library where books come to life? magical grimoires bound by chains for the safety of the people and the wardens entrusted to keep watch over them was simply a story I couldn’t resist. We get introduced to Elisabeth who has been living in one of the Great Libraries in Austermeer since the very young age of 8. Abandoned by her parents, Elisabeth finds comfort being among magical grimoires. Eagerly & passionately training to one day be a Warden is her main focus. Steadfast in the beliefs passed down to her, Elisabeth views sorcery and its wielders as a great evil. Her life as she knew is turned upside down when one of the MOST dangerous Grimoires is released into the world & she tries to intervene in order to protect the people. Elisabeth finds herself implicated in a crime she didn’t commit and trying to prove her innocence sets the tone for the book. Everything Elisabeth once believed to be true & the right way of doing things comes into question. She begins to see that it’s not as simple as good or bad/right or wrong, that there are gray areas. In a world conditioned to view Sorcerers, Demons, and Grimoires as dark & unredeemable, Elisabeth has to decide whether to stick to her values or challenge the foundation of it all.

Elisabethย I cannot stress how much I LOVE this MC! she isn’t your typical female heroine in many ways. Described as taller than your average and wielding unusual strength, Elisabeth is sword ready. She isn’t beyond falling in love but she wouldn’t prioritze a romantic partner over saving someone in need. It isn’t easy at first when she finds herself needing to team up with the Sorcerer Nathaniel and his demon but it allowed for some character growth. I loved her clumsy ways & the contrast of it all when taking her physical strength into consideration. Most of all I loved that she tries to see the good in humans/inhumans despite what she’s be brought up to believe.

Nathanielย MOST sarcastic love interest award goes to *drum roll* Nathaniel Thorn! he is fully aware of his GQ status amongst the ladies & will mention his MOST eligible bachelor status to Elisabeth in jest. Loved how he didn’t take himself too seriously. The slow burn romance Nathaniel is in denial of taking place is my new fave! seeing him try & fail in giving Elisabeth the cold shoulder had me shaking my head and smiling all to myself. This character also happens to have a very tragic family history & you can’t help but want to see him get his happiness.

Silasย The Demon who is bound to the Thorn family, specifically Nathaniel. Silas is hands down my fave character in this book, he has lived many lifetimes & worked with many kings. Fashionable, blunt, and never allows Elisabeth to forget that at the end of day he is a demon and it would be a terrible misstep for her to forget that. Silas feeds Nathaniel the magic he needs to be a sorcerer in exchange for 20 years of his life. He serves Nathaniel hand & foot but more than that he is all that Nathaniel has in his life, he considers Silas his only family.

*Honorable mention: Katrien aka Elisabeth’s BFF doesn’t get a ton of page time but just enough to get to know her personality & quickly wish you had a ride or die like her. Katrien is fearless & a quick thinker, she is who Elisabeth turns to for assistance in clearing her name.ย 

Sorcery of Thorns has some amazing characters that will have you shipping and rooting for their success, it’s very easy to get invested in their relationships. We get some queer rep with a main character who states they’re interested in more than just girls and a supporting character who is on the ace spectrum.

Content Warning: panic attacks, loss of a loved one, torture, violence

“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.”

Beautifully written, Sorcery of Thorns will transport you into every bookworms dream setting. Filled with magical libraries and Grimoires that come to life with a variety of personalities, it’s very easy to get sucked into this world. I did struggle a bit at first with the pacing of the story and I’m a lover of descriptive lush writing which left me trying to pinpoint the reason why it was taking me so long to finish. I don’t think I ever came up with the answer but still feel my time spent in this story was well spent.ย One of the things I loved most however, is how we were kept in the loop of current affairs taking place in this world via news snippets. This made me think of the Quibbler in the Harry Potter world & how much it really breathes life into the story. Set in the 1800’s with demons, sorcerers, and a Otherworld, Sorcery of Thorns is perfect for fans of Cassie Clare’s The Infernal Devices. This is a stand-alone & although I would’ve loved to get more books featuring these characters, I am very pleased with how it all ended.


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