The month of October is finally upon us, and with it creeping fogs and cozy evenings spent with spooky stories. Most of the time, those stories are filled to the brim with witches and monsters, murder and cases of manslaughter. Or you dig up movies, tv shows and books that are all about magic, ghosts, haunted castles and mysterious Hauntings. Those weeks before Hallowe’en are so very special to me, which is why I’m going to fill these coming weeks with reviews and book recommendations fitting the spookiest season of the year. Conveniently for me, most of those are books I should’ve reviewed some time ago – killing two birds with one stone over here. Let’s dive right into it!
M A R G A R E T R O G E R S O N – S O R C E R Y O F T H O R N S
“Books, too, had hearts, though they were not the same as people’s, and a book’s heart could be broken: she had seen it happen before. Grimoires that refused to open, their voices gone silent, or whose ink faded and bled across the pages like tears.”
Margaret Rogerson | Sorcery of Thorns
Do you smell it? There’s this unique smell of a room full of books, whispering their wisdom from shelf to shelf, rustling their pages and glinting in soft rays of the sun breaking through tall windows. Imagine this to be your home. Imagine growing up in one of the famous Great Libraries in a fantastical realm where the woods are full of magical creatures and books aren’t lifeless stacks of paper. Sounds too good to be true? I thought so… But beware! Books can be dangerous, even deadly. Especially those magical grimoires that turn into beastly creatures when something… anything… goes wrong.
This is what Elizabeth Scriveners life in “Sorcery of Thorns” by Margaret Rogerson looks like. She’s an apprentice at the Great Library of Summershall, taking care of rows upon rows of grimoires. But then, one night, a highly dangerous grimoire manages to escape, turning into a most terrible beast of rotten pages. In the aftermath of those events, Elizabeth is being accused as an accomplice to this sabotage and is whisked away to the capital, where she has to await judgement. Nathaniel Thorn, one of the sorcerers she has learned to fear from early on, accompanies her on this trip, as well as his demonic servant Silas. Together, they try to find out what really happened that night at the Great Library – and how to save the other Libraries, as well.
Allright, real talk! I’ve always dreamt of living in a library, let alone posessing one that is big enough to fling myself from shelf to shelf by the means of a ladder, singing woeful songs about all the books I haven’t read yet in the meantime. Just as I’ve always wished for a visit to the library of Hogwarts. Can you imagine walking down the aisles, touching the spines of magical tomes and sometimes being bitten by a grimoire that has enough of your greasy touch? Adding a whistful sigh here, just for good measure. But I’m not kidding. This is exactly how this book feels. You get to know a magical world where sorcerers are feared amongst librarians and their apprentices, where magic is both light and dark (and super dark sometimes, by the way). And although I probably wasn’t the best of friends with Elizabeth, I really lost my heart to Silas, the demonic servant. Such an interesting character!
Yes, I don’t deny there were things you could see coming from a mile away, but that certainly didn’t ruin my reading experience. I loved every part of it: libraries and secret plans, sorcery and fighting more or less heroically for a better world. And, of course, a protagonist that grew up with books, who feels at home in their presence and still embarks on a journey into the dangers of a magical world, learning what the world on the other side of the bookshelf has in store for her. Also, the cover is unbelievably beautiful and I can’t but applaud the artist!
“Sorcery of Thorns” by Margaret Rogerson is such a magically cozy book with the right amount of adventure, blood and grisly creatures. It’s the perfect read for a cold night, where you feel in need of the warm embrace of a library full of enchanted books and a story that will captivate you until the end.
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Title: Sorcery of Thorns
Press: Simon and Schuster [McElderry Books]
Year of publication: 2019
Other spooky book recommendations this fall: