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.
I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley and can confirm all opinions are my own.
I’ll admit to being slightly hesitant picking this up as I wasn’t a massive fan of An Enchantment of Ravens, the authors previous book, however, this one blew me away. This book has everything! Amazing characters, epic adventures, magic, endless wit, a demon you cant help but fall for and books… its full of books.
The story follows Elisabeth, an orphan who was dropped off at one of the Austermeer Libraries as a baby. She was raised in the library, leading a relatively solitary life with mainly the books for friends until one night, when the rest of the Library are asleep, Elisabeth wakes for a unknown reason. She feels drawn to the main library and there finds a Grimoire ( a book with magical properties) has transformed into a Malefict, a large grotesque style monster. True to her character, Elisabeth charges after the creature intent on saving the library and the nearby towns. Once she defeats the Malefict, in true badass form, she is arrested for treason and accused of releasing the monster in the first place.
Sent to meet with the chancellor of Sorcerers who is intent on finding out the truth behind the attack, she is terrified when she learns a sorcerer is being sent to escort her, and even more wary when she learns that it is no one other than Nathaniel Thorn, someone she instantly distrusts. Little does she know their journey will be much longer than the 3 day drive to the capitol, and that by the end of it she will trust both Nathaniel and his demonic servant with her life.
I flew through this book in a matter of hours, Elisabeth is an amazing heroine and I couldn’t get enough of her. Having a sheltered life growing up in the Library, with only her fellow trainees, wardens and the Grimoire’s for company, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the capital and all the events that spiral from the initial attack through her eyes. Set in a Victorian style era, a time when women were more likely to swoon than pick up swords and fight, Elisabeth is a breath of fresh air and I instantly found myself bonding with her. She has some fantastic dialogue and I loved how she never backed down from a fight, even if the odds were against her.
Nathaniel is simply put *swoon worthy.* I found myself drawn to him from their first encounter, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing his character come out of his shell a little but more with every encounter. His wit is unparalleled, his loyalty is unwavering, and when you realise the inner demons he has been living with you’re quick to understand why his best friend is a Demon. He has been through and awful amount of loss for an 18 year old boy, and I loved seeing Elisabeth gradually breaking down the walls he has built for so many years.
Katrien is Elisabeths first friend. Both apprentices at the Library and both known to terrorise the other librarians, it is Katrien who Elisabeth turns too in her time of need, knowing her mischievous friend is not one to back down from a fight, even if working with a Sorcerer and a demon go against everything they’ve been taught. Another fantastic female character, willing to fight for those she loves and not one to back down from a fight.
Silas. Now Silas was a character I couldn’t quite get a hold of throughout most of the book. This, however, did not stop me from completely adoring him. The demon that has been sworn to the Thorn family for centuries, he is the only family Nathaniel has had for the past 6 years and their relationship in unlike any other demon/master duo. I couldn’t decide for so long if he was good or bad, he resolutely tells Elisabeth that it is his sworn duty to Nathaniel and that alone that explains his behaviour towards him. However Elisabeth, and the reader both realise there must be some sort of feeling there for him to act with such unwavering loyalty.
This is a book about books, which should be enough to make you pick it up alone. The Grimoire’s are set in classes from 1-10 ,1 being relatively harmless and 10 being so dangerous that only trained Wardens and Sorcerers are allowed anywhere near them. Some books could talk, and others are able to influence people, and I enjoyed that each Grimoire had its own personality. I found this a really fresh read and truly enjoyed getting introduced to all the different Grimoire’s Elisabeth encounters and working out what dark magic lingers inside them.
Rogerson’s writing style is effortless and it made the book such an easy read without loosing any of its depth. Her descriptions drew me into the world of the Libraries, and I could almost smell the leather and picture the towering shelves whilst reading. A truly eventful plot that was so suspenseful it had me on the edge of my seat ( I was even reading it while at work).
This is an easy 5/5 read. With a fresh magic system, beautiful descriptions, characters that pull on your heartstrings and a slow burn romance I couldn’t get enough of, I defy any book lover to not enjoy this book.