I don’t usually do full reviews because I never usually have anything more to say than I already do. But with this book, I want to talk about it more. And the reason for this is because I didn’t like it, and the reasons I didn’t like it could have been easily fixed or just didn’t make sense whatsoever. Just remember that these are my opinions and you don’t have to agree with them.
This review/rant will have spoilers, so if you are interested in reading Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, click away now.
Sorcery of Thorns is about a girl, who is very tall, named Elisabeth Scrivener. That’s all we know about her physical appearance. She is tall, taller than most people. She is an apprentice at the Summershall library, one of the Five Great Libraries of Austemeer. These libraries are home to living books called Grimoires. These Grimoires feel, some can talk and others like to summon magical things into existence. But the most dangerous thing they do is become Maleficts, dangerous demon like creatures who wreak havoc and kill. Elisabeth has a strange connection to these books. They listen to her and help her out from time to time, but one day the Summershall Library is attacked and a Malefict is created. Due to her being the only one awake and able to stop it, she is blamed for this attack and must try to stop the real culprit. Along the way, she meets sorcerer Nathaniel and his demon servant Silas who help her catch the real mastermind.
From that premise, this book sounded really cool. I liked the idea of the Grimoires, but I found this to be a very dissatisfying read. And here’s why:
One: This book gives you questions but never answers them. One example is the fact that we never find out why Elisabeth has such a strong connection to the Grimoires. The only mention of a possibility is when she is told by her best friend Katrien that she is a giant booklouse. What does that mean? I can’t tell you because I don’t even now. It never gets explained. It is literally just a throwaway comment that doesn’t explain anything or develop the plot in any way. There could have been a much better explanation as to why and it could have made the story more mysterious and lead to a great plot twist.
Another example is that we find out that librarians are taught to hate sorcerers, but it’s never explained why. It does affect the story a lot though because Elisabeth is thrown in jail twice for interacting with a sorcerer. This doesn’t make sense because the libraries where she works were built by a sorcerer to store sorcerer books.
Two: It overuses the miscommunication trope. I say this because Elisabeth and Nathaniel talked to so many people about what she went through (not only was she blamed for all of the events, she is also kidnapped by the villain and tortured) and all of them disregarded her story as an insane person’s ranting. Even after her story was confirmed by the actual villain, she was still told she was a liar. If someone had believed her in the first place, the book wouldn’t have happened and the villain would be in iron chains.
Three: The villain is revealed less than 100 pages into the book to be Chancellor Ashcroft of the Magisterium, the same man we met just a few pages before this reveal. It would have been better for the story to have developed his character a bit more, had us develop a relationship to him and flesh out his motives for the attacks. His plan was to make the world better by combining the human world with the demon world, but we never get to understand why he wanted to do it or how he thought it would make the world better.
Four: Their plan to expose Ashcroft was to confront him in front of some of Austemeer’s most privileged people and get him to reveal his plan to them. Their plan is to ask a powerful person who could easily lie, what he did to Elisabeth and what he plans to do. He pretends to give in sort of revealing his villainy, but it doesn’t do anything. His reputation is a little ruined, but there are no consequences to his actions. He still continues on to do what he planned to do.
Five: This book also has a lot of inconsistencies. One such inconsistency is when Silas (the demon servant of Nathaniel) says he is unable to get into the Royal Library because he is a demon. The same library that he was able to go inside to assist Elisabeth in stealing a grimoire earlier in the story because he can turn into a cat and cats are always welcome in the library.
Six: the ending was anticlimactic. The villain easily gives up after his plan turns out to be flawed as the demon he summoned is way too powerful to be controlled. And Silas sacrifices himself for Nathaniel. THE END.
Well. That’s it for my review/rant on Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. Thanks for reading. Byes 👋.