In this sequel novella to Sorcery of Thorns, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas must unravel the magical trap keeping them inside Thorn Manor in time for their Midwinter Ball!
Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…
With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right.
Title : Mysteries of Thorn Manor Author: Margaret Rogerson Series : Sorcery of Thorns (book 1.5) Format : ARC Page Count : 192 Genre : YA fantasy Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books Release Date : January 17, 2023
Reviewer : Hollis Rating:★ ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 4 star review
So, surprising no one because my brain is a sieve, I didn’t remember much about Sorcery of Thorns except that a) I really liked it, b) it’s the only Rogerson I’ve rated a four (which I suppose is related to the first point), and c) Silas. I mean, part of what I liked was the banter and vibes, the leads were very good, but I mean I don’t think anyone left that first book without thinking very fondly of a certain demon.
Naturally when I had the chance to possibly snatch up an early copy of this surprise reveal novella, I was pretty stoked. Even moreso to receive. And I waited, oh, an entire day before diving in. And what a treat. What a delight! Why did I rush into this but also I’m glad I didn’t have this gem waiting nearby unread because it was great. Perhaps has even inspired a reread..
Regardless, there isn’t a whole lot I can spoil if you haven’t yet read Sorcery of Thorns (so go do that now) but suffice it to say : fans? You will be pleased. Satisfied. Delighted! There were juicy little bits, lovely little bits, funny little bits, and the combination resulted in a very delicious whole. Saying that out loud sounds wrong but I think you get what I mean.
** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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.
Title : A Sorcery of Thorns Author: Margaret Rogerson Format : eARC Page Count : 464 Genre : YA fantasy Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books Release Date : June 4, 2019
Reviewer : Hollis Rating:★ ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 4 star review
Just the other day I was pouting about YA fantasy just not hitting the mark for me in 2019. And in struts SORCERY OF THORNS just to prove me wrong. I didn’t really know what to expect for this one other than it had something to do with library with a hate to love (possibly) and magic and, not having read Rogerson’s first novel, didn’t know how that would all translate in the writing.
Well, it translated super well.
“You used a demonic incantation to pack my stockings!” “You’re right, that doesn’t sound like something a proper evil sorcerer would do. Next time, I won’t fold them.”
This not-quite-medieval but not-quite-steampunk world is populated by living, magical, books and sorcery from demonic bargains. Librarians are the keepers of the books and look down upon the Magisters, the sorcerers, for their alliances with demons. So naturally this is a great set-up for an orphan, raised in the library and on her way to become a Warden, to get tripped up with a Magister.. who then trips up all her pre-conceived notions, too.
“I don’t mean to be forward, but is that a–“ “A sword hidden under my dress? Yes, it is.” “I see. And how exactly is it–“ “I thought you didn’t mean to be forward.”
The banter and dynamic between the two leads was great. Even during a weird lull, where I worried my experience with this one was also going to crash and burn, I was comforted by the four and five star worthy dialogue of bickering and nicknames. It was just fabulous. What I could never have suspected, though, was how much I would love a certain demon and that my love for him would have me shedding a tear or two.
“Can you go on?”
“Of course I can. I may be useless, but my good looks might prove critical for morale.”
Honestly, the mayhem and calamity that is crashing down around their ears didn’t interest me half as much as the Help Save The World Adventure Squad Trio.. but, to be fair, I did like them a lot so even half of that.. isn’t bad. But I’ll admit I lost a wee bit of love somewhere around the middle bit. Things went in a strange direction I didn’t see coming and there was an odd interaction or two I didn’t quite understand, but overwhelmingly this book was just.. unexpected. Interesting, creative, funny, clever, and fun. There’s one specific thing I liked so much, and liked how it wasn’t really made into A Thing, but I’m not even going to remotely hint at it so that you, too, can be pleasantly surprised about it. Instead, I’ll say how much I appreciated the constant reinforcement, and reminder, of shades of grey as it applies to so many things, including people. It made for a richer story that was already pretty lush.
These weren’t ordinary books the Great Library kept. They whispered on the shelves and shuddered beneath iron chains. Some spat ink and threw tantrums; others sang to themselves in high, clear notes on windless nights, when starlight streamed through the library’s barred windows like shafts of mercury. Others still were so dangerous they had to be stored in the underground vault, packed in salt. Not all of them were her friends.
I feel a little nitpicky for harkening back to this after all the nice things I’ve said but for all the good, there were those moments I wasn’t too sold on, and definitely a few typical fantasy roadblocks as we see when the hero/heroes are trying to convince People In Charge that they are Here To Help. It isn’t without some clichés or slower moments so, yeah, it’s not a perfect ten. Hence the four (#math).
“Tempting as the prospect is, we are not attempting world domination. It sounds fun in theory, but in reality it’s a logistical nightmare.“
But the moments that were good, were great. The parts that made me laugh, really tickled. And those unexpected glimpses of brilliance and emotion.. they are definitely there. I didn’t always like how the perspective could be fluid but at the same time I also really loved how the narrative flowed and didn’t always need us to live through the events but would still catch us up. And I love love loved the end.
“I dragged you into this. You wouldn’t be here it it weren’t for me.” “You’re right. I would be alone in my study, utterly miserable, spending my final hours unaware that demons were about to overrun the world. I like this version better. The one with you in it.“
SORCERY OF THORNS is definitely worth picking up. I have no idea if there’s more to come and, because of the ending, I almost hope not. But I wouldn’t say no to more, either.
** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **