Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Sorcery of Thorns (Margaret Rogerson)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 37 on My Book List 2022

”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.”

This book was brilliant and absolutely amazing! Legit the best book I read in in 2022 so far and definitely one of the biggest bookish surprises I ever read. I mean I knew I’d enjoy “Sorcery of Thorns” because alone the idea of libraries full of grimoires – books that talk and feel and can turn into monsters and therefore need to be guarded – sounded too awesome not to pick it up. What really surprised me actually wasn’t the world building (even though I’ve to admit that it’s marvellous considering the fact that this is a standalone) but the great characters that live in this unique world!

Honestly I totally fell in love with all of them and Elisabeth, Nathaniel and especially Silas own my heart! ❤ I never read a Margaret Rogerson book before but you can bet that I’m going to pick up her other books as well. 😉 I just loved that we had Magisters (sorcerers) and wardens as well as demons and grimoires in this story. It’s a combination I’ve never seen before and this made the world building very intriguing for me. Still, what I loved the most were the characters and I was kind of blown away by them being so multi-layered and complex. This book could have easily been turned into an entire series and I would have gobbled it up like nobody’s business. *lol*

Which brings me right to the only thing I didn’t like about “Sorcery of Thorns”: There just wasn’t enough of it!!! The world building would have had so much potential to be even more lush and elaborate and the characters… they could have easily carried a second, a third, maybe even a fourth book. WHY MARGARET!? Why isn’t there more of this beautiful and amazing story that swept me off my feet!!?? Especially with THIS ending!!!! AKSDFASDJFASDFJASKFD! Okay, I’m good again. Just needed to let it out. *lol* I guess I’ll just head to my characters section – aka the spoilery spoiler section – now and rave over there. 😉

2

Welcome to Austermeer! Our lovely country that’s full of Great Libraries, grimoires, sorcerer’s, wardens and demons. Be our guest and enjoy everything we have to offer. Well, maybe not everything: Don’t accept deals with demons, it won’t only cost you precious years of your life but also will give them the means to relentlessly spoil you with their knowledge! You’ve been warned, this is the point of no return. ;-P

Nathaniel Thorn:

”I’m going to turn you into a salamander.”
“You can do that?” she whispered. “Truly?”
“Of course.” A wicked gleam entered his eyes. “But I only turn girls into salamanders on Tuesdays. Luckily for you, it’s a Wednesday, which is the day I drink a goblet of orphan’s blood for supper.”

Haha! Nathaniel was such a great character and exactly my cup of tea! *lol* I mean a young, powerful, funny and handsome sorcerer with rough edges but a heart of gold who tries to keep everyone away from himself in order to protect them! Yep, totally the kind of character I usually dig. I should have loved Nathaniel and I did, but funnily enough I didn’t love him as much as I loved Silas. XD Because, well, Silas!! ❤ Anyway! Nathaniel was great and I absolutely adored him and could see why Elisabeth as well as Silas liked him so much. Also he definitely had one of the best lines in the book and even turned out to be a bi icon!!! Seriously, I screamed when he delivered that line to Elisabeth!!! *lol* I really wish we could have seen more of him, but even though he’s clearly one of the MCs in the book, he actually didn’t have a lot of scenes in the story?! Which was sort of refreshing because he is a solitary and secluded character and spends a lot of time in his study and therefore didn’t socialize with the others. I think this added to his credibility and made him feel like a real person. So kudos to Rogerson for making him that way!

”I like girls too, Scrivener.” Amusement danced in Nathaniel’s eyes. “I like both. If you’re going to fantasize about my love life, I insist you do so accurately.”

”But you stayed with me. And selfishly, I was glad – I had never wanted anything more in my life. Damn you,” he said. “You unmanageable, contrary creature. You have made me believe in something at last. It feels as wretched as I imagined.”

Elisabeth Scrivener:

”But who would believe her? She now understood that the world wasn’t kind to young women, especially when they behaved in ways men didn’t like, and spoke truths that men weren’t ready to hear.”

Ahh Elisabeth! The fierce and compassionate heroine of the story! Elisabeth was the MC of the book and it was told through her POV. She was one hell of an amazing character and I loved that she refused to be intimidated by her enemies. She always stood her ground and did what felt right for her even though this often caused her a lot of trouble and made her life extremely dangerous and difficult. She had integrity and stood up for her convictions and she didn’t allow herself to be guided by her prejudices. What a WOMAN! <333 Can we have more female MCs like her?! =)

”You’ve been attacked, violated, tormented, left on the streets to starve. The odds you face are impossible. If you continue down this path, you’ll die. Why won’t you just give up?”
She stared. Was that a thing people did – just gave up? When there was so much in the world to love, to fight for? “I cannot,” she said fiercely. “I never will.”

”She thinks he acted under Nathaniel’s orders. And as simply as that, Elisabeth realized no one would ever appreciate Silas’s final act. It was not a story that anyone would believe. He had vanished from the world like mist, leaving nothing behind except rumors: the dreadful creature that had served House Thorn.
The injustice of it overwhelmed her, stung her eyes like needles. For a long time she sat in silence, her head bowed, blinking back tears.“

Silas:

„I am a demon,“ he said. „You cannot see me as anything more.“

And now we come to the secret star of the book and the person who owns my heart, my body, my soul and my entire being: Enter Silas, Nathaniel’s demonic servant! <333 I AM IN LOVE WITH SILAS!!! Because he’s the most precious soul and I just want him to be happy! He should be with the people he loves but even this comes with a price and because it’s in his nature he can’t do anything against it. It broke my heart to see how deeply he cared for Nathaniel and how much it hurt him to take those years of his life from him. T_T He’s such a complex and intriguing character because despite all odds he started to care for Nathaniel and even loved him. In my eyes Silas is no demon but an angel and I really hope the ending means what I think it means!!! Also it left an opportunity for a second book and I so, so, so, so want a second book!!! I can’t emphasise this enough! Can we have it? Pleaseeeee!!! XD *dies*

”Yes,” he whispered, as if she saw the truth at last. “You see, there is no absolution, no penance, for a creature such as I.” His eyes shone bright with pain. “You could strike me down and the blow would only harm another.”

3

Elisabeth & Nathaniel:

”You used a demonic incantation to pack my stockings!”
He raised an eyebrow. “You’re right, that doesn’t sound like something a proper evil sorcerer would do. Next time, I won’t fold them.”

Those two gave me life and their interactions were hilarious! It started with their first meeting at the library and only continued to be funny from there. I swear they had some of the best conversations in this book and they never ceased to amuse me. The fact Elisabeth thought Nathaniel was an evil sorcerer led to a lot of misunderstandings and hilarious observations and I lived and breathed for them. Of course Nathaniel couldn’t help but add fuel to the fire and this quite often caused me to chuckle while I read the book. Due to Nathaniel’s secluded nature and his efforts to stay away from Elisabeth they didn’t have a lot of scenes together but whenever they did Margaret Rogerson made sure to make them count! They always packed a punch and if you ask me that’s great story writing right there! 😉 Also I loved that the characters stayed true to their nature because even when Nathaniel admits his feelings for Elisabeth he still continues to be his grumpy self and calls her a creature and terror. *lol* Love the dynamic of those two. ❤

„I see you’ve been spending a great deal of time alone with Magister Thorn. Has he declared his intentions?“
„I wish he would,“ Elisabeth said. „He hardly makes sense half the time. Knowing his intentions would be helpful.“
Nathaniel made a choking sound.

”She didn’t want him to stop. She had never been touched like this before. His hands left impressions across her skin like the trails of comets, urgent and tingling, her body yearning for more. A breathless ache filled her chest. The intensity of the sensation overwhelmed her.”

„Beneath her touch, a tremor ran through him. He looked at her as though he were drowning, as though she had been the one to push him, and he did not know what to do. “Elisabeth,” he said, her name wrong from him as a plea.“

Nathaniel’s brow furrowed. He turned his face to the side and blinked several times. “Thank god,” he said finally. “I don’t think unrequited love would have suited me. I might have started writing poetry.”
Elisabeth continued stroking his hair. “That doesn’t sound so bad.”
“I assure you, it would have proven more unpleasant for everyone than necromancy.”

Elisabeth & Silas:

”What sort of dreadful things?” she whispered.
Without any effort, Silas lifted her into his arms. “It is better if you do not know,” he murmured, almost too softly for her to hear.

I loved how they formed such a strong bond! Silas hid his love for Nathaniel (and Elisabeth) extremely well but Elisabeth was a very perceptive character and easily saw through him. They had so many lovely and touching moments together but I think my favourite scene was when Nathaniel was knocked out cold and they had that talk in the kitchen. Such an ordinary scene yet it was extraordinary because of the impactful message it conveyed. This was such a simple and powerful moment – I adored it so much! Also I loved how gentle and considerate Silas was. At first he extended his love for Nathaniel to Elisabeth and saved her because he knew Nathaniel cared about her but gradually we can see the change in his feelings and how he starts to appreciate Elisabeth as well. How he slowly but steadily begins to love her too. <333 So beautifully written, I can’t even! If you can read between the lines their friendship is everything!

”Silas,” she gasped. “I’m so glad to see you.”
„Curious. That is not what people usually say to me at a time like this.“
„What do they usually say?“
„Generally they cry, or wet themselves.“

”You aren’t well,” he said softly. “How long have you had this fever?”
When she didn’t reply, unsure, he began to unbutton his jacket. She shook her head as he moved to tuck it around her. “I’ll get your clothes dirty,” she protested.
“It matters not, miss. Up you come.”

Nathaniel & Silas:

”Since when do you care about the welfare of a human being?”
“I am not the one who cares,” Silas said softly.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“You care about her, master, more than I have seen you care about anything in years. Don’t attempt to deny it,” he added when Nathaniel opened his mouth.

MY HEART!!! It was attacked by the deep love those two felt for each other and sometimes it even took my breath away! Like ARGH!!! Seriously, you’d think the most interesting relationship in this book would be the ship of Elisabeth and Nathaniel but nope! The most interesting relationship in “Sorcery of Thorns” was actually the bond between Nathaniel and Silas! They aren’t just bound by their pact but also by their mutual love and trust for each other and it was so beautiful to behold. Like so, so beautiful to see!!! They both suffered so much and they both did it in different ways but I absolutely adored that they still stayed together. Silas was tormented by his nature and the fact that he didn’t only have to kill Nathaniel’s father but that he also had to take 20 years of his new master’s life and Nathaniel was tantalized by the memories of his father’s death and his traumatic childhood. They both hurt and they lost so much but what kept them going was their love for each other. <333 The only other relationship I can think of that was equally deep and meaningful and that was between two male book characters is the one between Will Herondale and James Carstairs. So yes, that says A LOT!! GAH! I just adore them! ❤

„Nathaniel drank. When he finished, he squeezed his eyes shut and slumped back against the headboard. His face twisted as if he were trying to stop himself from weeping, and his hand sought Silas’s and clasped it tightly.”

”First, I learned to make tea,” he said finally, speaking more to himself than to her. “When humans wish to help, they are forever offering each other tea.”

”The snow had begun overnight, shortly after Nathaniel had woken screaming and delirious from a nightmare, and then subsided shivering in Silas’s arms.”

4

Every year there comes a book that knocks it out of the park for me and as it seems this year it was “Sorcery of Thorns”. Yes, I heard a great deal about how amazing this book is and many people raved about it, but I never expected to love it as much as I did! I enjoy reading standalones every now and then, but I never seem to enjoy them as much as I enjoy series. Well, I guess this book taught me that I can get addicted to standalones as well. XD I loved this and if Margaret Rogerson ever decides to go for a second book I’ll be faster than “The Flash” and buy it for my private collection! You just watch! ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The School for Good And Evil (Soman Chainani)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten


”Tonight she would be taken into the woods. Tonight she would begin a new life. Tonight she would live out her fairy tale.”

And what a fairy tale it would turn out to be! *lol* I wasn’t all too sure what to expect when I went into this, because all I knew was that one of my favourite bloggers loves this series to bits and pieces and has been raving about it for months. XD I dunno how you usually choose your next book, but for me this was the main reason to finally pick up “The School for Good and Evil”. If one of my fave bloggers loves it, it’s pretty likely I’ll enjoy it too. (Yes, I’m a simple soul when it comes to things like that. ;-P)

Turns out my gut feeling was right! *lol* I loved and enjoyed this so freaking much! I mean this is middle grade yet it still had that typical fairy tale vibe going on. Truth be told, Sophie’s and Agatha’s story is actually pretty cruel sometimes and the punishments they get for failing are quite harsh. Just like you’d expect it from a brothers Grimm fairy tale. It will never cease to amaze me how children hear those horrible stories and take everything for granted. I mean as a kid we were all okay with the witch from Hansel and Gretel burning in the stove, right?

”No matter how cruel children are to each other, nothing can prepare them for how cruel their stories can be.”

Anyway, I probably could write an essay about fairy tales and their meaning for children (actually did that at school *lol*) but I think I’ll leave it at that. 😉 Suffice it to say that the typical stereotypes of fairy tales are more than just strong in here. We have plenty of princesses who act like a damsel in distress, we get to know princes who are born to rule and to save those aforementioned damsels and we have evil witches and their henchmen. So just your ordinary fairy tale, or not? Not really, Agatha and Sophie are doing quite a thorough job at turning their world upside down and I just loved them for it! XD This was such a fun ride and I enjoyed every crazy minute of it.

This said, let’s get to my characters section so I can finally get all those thoughts out of my mind! 😉

2

As you all know by now this is my spoilery spoiler section so if you don’t want to be spoiled you better return to Gavaldon. If you’re naughty enough to actually want to be spoiled, well, welcome to the School for Evil! I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun! ;-P

Sophie:

”You’re lucky that someone would come see you when no one else will. You’re lucky that someone like me would be your friend. You’re lucky that someone like me is such a good person.”

I think statements like the one above were the reason why Sophie ended up in Evil. I mean if she would have truly been a good soul, she wouldn’t have befriended Agatha as part of her good deeds. It doesn’t matter that they became actual friends in the end, the reason why she started to hang out with her was a selfish one and I knew exactly why Sophie would have never made it into The School for Good. Sophie might have looked as pretty as a princess but her soul? Well, let’s just say it was as dark as the night. *lol* And tell you what?! I loved it! I mean there’s this girl that wants so desperately to be good that she’s actually turning out to be more than just a little evil. All the things she did, all her seemingly good intentions were no good intentions at all. And I’ve to agree with Lady Lesso here: What we do matters! Not what we are! Still, I felt really sorry for Sophie because some of the punishments were pretty harsh and her desperation to get in the right school was so palpable. Also to watch her metamorphosis into a witch was quite something. It started out with little things, like trying to get into the School for Good, talking Tedros into a bargain and trying to seduce him, cheating with Agatha’s help, etc. Well, and then it turned into bigger things, like killing the Beast when it cut her hair in the dungeons and I suppose from that moment on her way to Evil was paved into the ground. In the end Sophie became a witch and boy, she was a sight to behold! I loved her so much!! *LOL* She’s definitely one hell of a character and I can’t wait to read more about her in the next book! =)

”Sophie smoothed her hair and walked toward the light, swallowing the sickness in her throat.
The good forgive, said the rules.
But the rules were wrong. They had to be.
Because she hadn’t forgiven.
She hadn’t forgiven at all.”

”You see, it doesn’t matter what we are, Sophie.”
Lady Lesso leaned so close she just had to whisper.
“It’s what we do.”

”Sophie threw down the glass, threw back her head, and unleashed a horrible crackle that promised Evil, beautiful Evil too pure to fight.”

Agatha:

”At first Agatha found it dumb, but now it was scary. This was what Good souls craved? Boys they didn’t even know? Based on what!”

Haha! I agreed so much with Agatha’s POV! She was probably the only feminist in the entire School for Good and I could relate to her thoughts so much. I wouldn’t have wanted to go into lessons like that either. Funnily enough, all the “real princesses” that ever made it into storybooks were no damsels in distress at all. I mean just look at Arielle , Belle, Cinderella, Mulan… yes they were all very coy at the beginning of their tales, but in the end they all fought for what they believed in. And they fought for their freedom! So if you think about it like that Agatha was kind of a typical princess! *lol* The real princesses don’t wait for their princes to do something, they take things in their own hands and do it themselves! XD Which Agatha did! I really liked Agatha and I think she was one hell of a friend! I mean she studied both: The Good & the Evil lessons just to help Sophie out and she would have died for Sophie and her friends. Also by the end of the book she began to love Tedros but she still did everything possible to help Sophie to win him over. She put her friend before herself and that’s so altruistic that she could only end up in Good. XD I’m really looking forward to see more of her and how things are going to turn out. Especially after THAT ending!!!

”I wish I could help you,” she said. “I wish I could help us all go home.”
The gargoyle lay its head in her lap. As the burning menagerie closed in, a monster and a child wept in each other’s arms.

”I’d set them all free if I could, but his magic is too strong,” Agatha said, voice cracking. “I just wish my talent had a better ending.”

Tedros:

”Hair a halo of celestial gold, eyes blue as a cloudless sky, skin the color of hot desert sand, he glistened with a noble sheen, as if his blood ran purer than the rest.”

I’ve to admit I wasn’t a huge Tedros fan at the beginning of the book. He kind of gave me “Gaston vibes” and I hated Gaston! *lol* But the more I read about him, the more I could understand why he was that way. Tedros’s character is really complex and there is more to him than meets the eye. It was good to get an occasional glimpse at his thoughts and they were completely different to what he showed on the outside. Well, most of the time. When it came to Agatha and Sophie he disliked them both; at least at the beginning of the book. XD And yes I even felt sorry for him because to be between Agatha and Sophie couldn’t have been easy. Poor guy got really confused by them. >_< I’m sure we’ll get to see more of him in the other books and I’m pretty sure sooner or later he’ll show us his true self instead of what everyone expects him to be. =)

”The best villains make you doubt.”

”That’s what makes us Good, Hester. We trust. We protect. We love. What do you have?”

Hort:

”So I definitely can’t love,” Hort said.
“Colder than you thought possible… Then say these words…”
“But if I could love, I’d love you.”

Okay, Hort might be at the School for Evil, but that boy is so damn precious!! *lol* I mean he’s a side-character but he’s still sweet and amazing! He helped Sophie even though she was really mean to him and his black pajamas with green frogs?! Cute as hell! Haha! Also I think there’s way more to him as well. He’s obviously a very sad soul and I think he deserves someone super nice! He seems to love Sophie but I’m afraid she’ll only use him and won’t reciprocate so I’m kind of worried about him. #PreciousHortDeservesLove !!! <333

The Three Witches:

Hester looked up at Agatha. “She flooded our floor.”
“To do her makeup,” said Anadil.
“Whoever heard of anything so evil?” Dot grimaced. “Song included.”

I absolutely adored those three witches! Anadil, Dot and Hester were awesome! I loved how they were obviously evil but still so compassionate! At first glance Dot seemed to be the only compassionate one but the more I read the more Anadil’s and Hester’s soft sides showed as well. They were great and I loved that they thought Sophie’s morning routine was evil! XD I really want to know more about all of them and I hope they’ll have bigger roles in the next few books.

Dot’s eyes misted. “You were so pretty.”
“It’ll grow back,” Sophie said, trying not to cry.

3

Sophie & Agatha:

”Agatha wanted her only friend back. But a friend wasn’t enough for Sophie. Sophie had always wanted more.
Sophie wanted a prince.”

The friendship of those two was quite something! It had a lot of ups and downs, but in the end they always found back to each other. Even when they ended up in different schools, even when everyone told them that a princess and a witch can’t be friends they still defied the rules and held on to their connection! I loved their friendship so much, even though I’ve to admit that Sophie really took advantage of dear Agatha! Their friendship had that one-sided dynamic and I think that was their problem all along. Sophie did quite a few awful things yet Agatha still stood by her, but the moment Agatha did something Sophie didn’t like she went all nemesis on her. Still, this was the goal of the book. Both, Sophie and Agatha had to learn what it means to be a true friend. They needed to find a balance and in the end they did. It’s kind of sad it had to end with Sophie turning into a witch but I suppose that was the price they had to pay in order to get their fairy tale ending. XD I really dig the fact that their fairy tale shows that a friendship is a lot of work and that you shouldn’t take it for granted! It’s a really realistic approach and I love it!

”You are Good,” Sophie panted, head on Agatha’s shoulder.
“I won’t let them hurt you,” Agatha whispered, holding Sophie tight.
Sophie touched her cheek. “I wish I could say the same.”

Sophie & Tedros:

”When I’m #1, you’ll ask me to forgive you.”
“You get to #1 and I’ll ask you anything you want,” he snorted.
Sophie turned to him. “I’ll hold you to that.”
“If you’re still awake.”

I always knew those two wouldn’t work out because Sophie only loved Tedros for what he represented. She didn’t really love him as a person, only his good looks and his status as the prince of princes. She was so set on the idea of him being her prince that she didn’t even bother to get to know him. All that mattered was that he fell in love with her and saved her from the School of Evil and this was such a selfish notion, that it’s really no surprise she didn’t succeed. Sophie didn’t want to put any real effort into winning him over so it was Agatha he actually fell in love with and of course his love for Sophie turned bitter as soon as he found out the truth. So by the end of the book there was no love lost between them and things took their course.

”Even if it means waiting for a lifetime for a kiss.” Tedros answered, taking her hand. Then he cocked his head. “I’m assuming this is a hypothetical question.”
Sophie laughed and buried her head in his shoulder in time to hide the tears. She’d explain one day. When their love was strong enough.

”Heart throbbing, Sophie smelled the bitter black thorns laced with a scent she knew so well.
So this was her reward for Love.
She crushed the rose, spitting Tedros’ words with blood.

”Tedros glared down at her form inside the glass castle. In the weak sun, his milky face had a glint of red.
Sophie met his eyes, steeling her heart.
He’d love her back. He’d have to.
Because she’d destroy him if he dared love anyone else.”

Agatha & Tedros:

”You think he’s your prince? He’s just a puffed-up windbag who can’t find anything better to do than prance around half naked and thrust his sword where it doesn’t belong!”

So I guess Agatha and Tedros were a really, really, really slow burn that kind of bordered on love at hundredth sight. *LOL* Still, you could feel that they were meant to be together by the animosity they felt. XD The enemies-to-lovers trope was strong with those two!!! Funnily enough it was exactly the other way around with Sophie. Tedros and she were a typical lovers-to-enemies trope. ;-P Anyway, I loved some of the conversations between Agatha and Tedros. *lol* When Agatha scared him with a made up curse I had to laugh so hard! I mean seriously the “Hopsocotl Spell”??! XD Plus they were really cute when they finally admitted their feelings. It breaks my heart that Agatha and Sophie vanished in the end and that Tedros never got to say goodbye to her and I really hope they’ll see each other again. I also hope that Tedros will share some of his testosterone in the next book though. The way he decided things over Agatha’s head was not okay and if he truly loves her he should have accepted her opinion. If they become a couple in the next few books he’ll have to change his attitude. XD

”Put me down!”
Tedros obeyed and Agatha pulled away.
“I’m not a princess!” she snapped, fixing her collar.
“If you say so,” the prince said, eyes drifting downward. Agatha followed them ot her grashed legs, waterfalls of brilliant blood. She saw blood bluring –
Tedros smiled. “One … two … three…”
She fainted in his arms.
“Definitely a princess,” he said.

4

This was one hell of a bookish surprise and I certainly didn’t expect to love it so much! Agatha’s and Sophie’s world totally won me over and I just couldn’t get enough of it. The mere fact that I read this book in the span of a week shows how much I enjoyed it! This modern fairy tale was such a wild ride! Cool, cruel and crazy with all the necessary ingredients to make it a truly remarkable read! XD