My Very First Fantasy Standalone in Years: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

A weekend well-spent is obviously a full reading-mode weekend like the one I had yesterday. By devoting my time solely to Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, I managed to finish my third September's read in only about two days. Since I couldn't recall the last time I read a fantasy standalone in years, it's a nice thing to be able to taste a compacted form of fantasy that didn't get extended to another installment later on. 

Sorcery of Thorns follows the story of a foundling in one of Austermeer's Great Libraries named Elisabeth Scrivener. Having been taught that sorcerers are evil for her entire life, Elisabeth longs to be a warden one day as she wants to protect the kingdom from dark magic like the grimoires that are guarded in the restricted areas of the libraries.

One day, an act of sabotage happensa grimoire is released in the middle of the night. Being the one and only witness, Elisabeth is suspected and thereby brought to the capital to face justice. However, she soon finds out that everything is more complicated than it seems to be. Elisabeth has no one to turn to but someone she has always loathed, a sorcerer. With his mysterious demonic servant called Silas by his side, Elisabeth's alliance with Nathaniel Thorn eventually grows stronger that she starts questioning everything she has been taught about magic.

Following the footstep of Strange the Dreamer, Sorcery of Thorns is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. I was very much in love with everything about the setting: magical libraries with books that were classified based on their power and in the restricted area the whispering grimoires. With a descriptive narration and Rogerson's beautiful writing style combined, the setting felt very vivid and alive to the point that I felt like I was really there. I found it difficult not to wish to revisit this world one day.

Sadly, the pace was honestly a little too slow to my liking that some parts actually bored me a little. I was hoping for more actions which wasn't exactly fulfilled, though thankfully, the interesting main characters made up for it. Elisabeth was badass, Silas was the one who piqued my interest the most for being mysterious and unique, while Nathaniel was my most favorite thanks to his wits and uncanny way of saying "you menace" or "you unmanageable creature". It had been a while since I last stumbled upon someone adorably sarcastic like him so don't blame me for grinning from ear to ear.

Though no matter how much I wanted to say how slow-burnt the romance between Elisabeth and Nathaniel was, I couldn't. In my opinion, it was more seldomly discussed that we didn't really get to see their development rather than actually slow in terms of progression. But this situation came with a different advantage so worry no more: the fact that we only got to see so little of the two of them together had left me wanting more.

It's hard resisting the pull of Sorcery of Thorns and its magic. I spent six hours straight devouring this book last Sunday and by this fact alone I think you could already estimate how much I enjoyed it. If you're a fan of Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer, this book might be for you too. After all, Sorcery of Thorns felt like Serpent & Dove and Strange the Dreamer combined for me.

Actual rating: 4.3★