Rogerson, Margaret. Sorcery of Thorns. Margaret K. Elderberry Books, 2019. 456 pages. $17.99. ISBN 9781481497619. Ages 14-up. P8Q8
Orphaned apprentice library clerk Elisabeth lives and works in one of the eight Great Libraries of Austermere, a world where magic is feared and sorcery is considered a path to evil. Sabotage at the libraries looses the grimoires to become ravaging monsters of leather and ink, and a series of attacks on the libraries throw Elisabeth into the orbit of sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn and his demon/fairy companion Silas. Elisabeth is tall, physically strong and one of the world’s innocents—though she learns quickly. Nathaniel is a sardonic bisexual hero prone to nightmares that leak occasionally dangerous magical phenomena. Their friendship and eventual romance develops realistically over time. Magical battles, flirtations, political intrigue, humor, and sorcerous sabotage create a lovely froth of a high fantasy novel with nods to high society and a steampunk vibe, lacking only steam, nuts, bolts, or rails.
Verdict: Elisabeth is, in many ways, a good match for Garth Nix’s third assistant librarian, Lirael, and I can only hope that the promised series will be a reality. I fell into the glorious language and whirlwind plot and only emerged when I ran out of the printed words. Highly recommended for high school and public library young adult and fantasy collections.
September 2019 review by Jane Cothron.