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VESPERTINE by Margaret Rogerson

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a thrilling new YA fantasy about a teen girl with mythic abilities who must defend her world against restless spirits of the dead.

The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

Title : Vespertine
Author : Margaret Rogerson
Series : Vespertine (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date : October 5, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5

Hollis’ 3.5 star review

I was pretty close to rounding up on this one but I’ll admit that, just around the time of the big climax and showdown, I sorta lost the plot. But so much of this was so good.

I’ll admit I definitely expected to like this considering how much I enjoyed Sorcery of Thorns. I definitely saw some shades of that same brilliance in this book, too, and particularly enjoyed this offering’s snarky otherworldly companion — having not read the author’s debut I can’t say for sure this is a trend in all her books but two out of three is definitely worth noting!

I enjoyed so much of this world with its restless dead, this character with her rather horrible backstory and subsequent current-day struggles, and one minor-ish secondary character, too, who had not a single line of dialogue but totally stole my heart.

I’ll admit I did see one twist (if you could call it that) coming along the way, so that wasn’t a surprise, but one or two things post-reveal definitely were. Again, I don’t quite know where things went wrong for me but.. something didn’t quite work near the end which explains why I can’t round up. That said, I was super pleased that not only does this seem to be yet another fantasy standalone but this one has no romance.. and does not suffer at all for it.

While this won’t end up a favourite, I still had a really good time with it. And having seen a post on GR indicating she’s made a lot of revisions since the ARC, I may even give this a reread in a few months and see if that can push this up a few points. Either way, though, Rogerson is definitely an author I will continue to pick up and, very likely, enjoy.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

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