Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 4, 2019
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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.
Sorcery of Thorns has a pretty good premise. Elisabeth lives in a library and wants to become a warden so she can protect the grimoires there. The books are, for intents and purposes, alive. If they’re damaged, then they turn into fearsome beasts, Maleficts. Destroying a Malefict means destroying the book forever, and grimoires can no longer be created so this is considered to be a great loss (and dangerous).
I was pulled right into the book from the very first page, but as the story went on I became really frustrated with Elisabeth in the first half. She made some really stupid decisions.
I felt like the revelations in the first half of the book were supposed to be more intriguing and mysterious than they actually were, which was honestly interesting. The way they were written, it was like I was supposed to be utterly engaged with them, but the execution just fell flat for me.
This all really got on my nerves, but I decided to keep going and I’m REALLY glad I did. Elisabeth stops doing stupid things and the story really picks up. I enjoyed the dynamic between her, Nathaniel, and Silas. Nathaniel and Silas were easily the best part of the book.
I did get some Infernal Devices vibes from the story, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The libraries reminded me of the Shadowhunter schools. (I can’t remember what they’re actually called, sorry.)
The ending of the book was different than I had expected, and I loved how the lore of the world was explored and expanded in the second half of the book.