Books · Review

Finally, a 5 Star Read! | Book Review: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Sorcery of Thorns: Rogerson, Margaret: Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My thoughts:

I had low-ish expectations going into this book. I had tried to pick up it a few times but uni got too busy and I put it down.

I read An Enchantment of Ravens last year and found it seriously disappointing. I loved the writing but everything else just didn’t work for me. I’d heard great things about it and ended up not liking it. So, I was pretty nervous going into this one…

However, plot twist – I loved it. Everything.
I devoured most of this book in one evening, stay up late reading, which I haven’t done in a very long time. I even got up the next day and immediately kept reading and finished the book. I put off my uni work to finish it.

I loved the world, the characters, the writing – I personally cannot fault it. Everything that was lacking in Enchantment, was here.

The writing style – I really love her writing style. It’s the main reason I picked it up. It was one of the very few aspects I enjoyed in An Enchantment of Ravens. Rogerson writes such lovely prose, it’s beautifully written and wonderful to read.

The world – this world felt so much more developed and interesting.
I was so much more immersed in this world than I expected to be. It was perfectly described, I found it easy to imagine.
The library setting was just incredible! I mean, what book lover doesn’t love a good library?! I loved that the books talked and had personalities. It was such an interesting take on a magical library.

The characters were all amazing.
Each character was very distinctive, none were alike.
Elisabeth and Nathaniel were well written and well developed.
I loved Nathaniel’s sarcastic personality in contrast to Elisabeth’s slightly more serious personality. They had some wicked banter. I found it really funny, not even just amusing, full on laugh out loud funny. As for Silas – the best side character. I LOVED him!! Never thought I’d love a demon so much but here I am.
I was so invested in all the characters and their relationships.

Emotions – I was ridiculously emotionally invested in this. I won’t go into details because spoilers, but I almost cried at certain moments.

The only downside is that it ends. I wish there was more! It’s a standalone, which is nice but damn do I wish it was a series!! The world is amazing, the characters, I didn’t want it to end.
ALSO, that ending?? Bit odd for a standalone, it almost sets up for a sequel…

All in all, thoroughly enjoyed myself. A new fave. Will definitely be rereading in the future!
I will also be picking up Margaret Rogerson’s new book when that comes out later this year!

Rating: 5 Stars
First 5 star rating of the year (that wasn’t a reread)

Books · Review

Book Discussion/Review: *Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal

Goodreads Synopsis:

Teen Wolf meets Emergency Contact in this sharply observed, hilarious, and heartwarming debut young adult novel about friendship and the hairy side of chronic illness.

Priya worked hard to pursue her premed dreams at Stanford, but a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease during her sophomore year sends her back to her loving but overbearing family in New Jersey—and leaves her wondering if she’ll ever be able to return to the way things were. Thankfully she has her online pen pal, Brigid, and the rest of the members of “oof ouch my bones,” a virtual support group that meets on Discord to crack jokes and vent about their own chronic illnesses.

When Brigid suddenly goes offline, Priya does something out of character: she steals the family car and drives to Pennsylvania to check on Brigid. Priya isn’t sure what to expect, but it isn’t the horrifying creature that’s shut in the basement. With Brigid nowhere to be found, Priya begins to puzzle together an impossible but obvious truth: the creature might be a werewolf—and the werewolf might be Brigid. As Brigid’s unique condition worsens, their friendship will be deepened and challenged in unexpected ways, forcing them to reckon with their own ideas of what it means to be normal. 

My thoughts:

Okay, so I really enjoyed the plot and the characters.
I love Teen Wolf, so when this was pitched as TW x Emergency Contact (a book I’d like to read) I was like perfect, I’ll accept it for review.

However, upon researching I realised this book has problematic features. So I’ll discuss those first:

The main character is a disabled Tamil/Indian American.
– The author is neither of those. So this is not an own voices novel, despite the cover and blurb kind of hinting towards that.

I cannot speak for the Tamil/Indian American community, as that is not my place. But it is clearly culture appropriation. It really wasn’t necessary to the story. The author is white and it would’ve totally been fine to have a white character? I’m not sure of the author’s though process on this. I don’t know why they felt the need to take a culture they are not familiar with and write about it. Those elements of the book were scarce, so why not leave it out although?

The side character is a werewolf, which is on the cover, above the main character. This has been noted as racist by some own voices reviewers. They said having a werewolf above an Indian is racist as it perpetuates the idea of the ‘hairy brown person’.
I wanted to clarify – the werewolf is not the main character who is also on the cover. It’s side character. The cover does kind of hint that the main character might be a werewolf but she’s not, it’s her friend and that’s her friend on the cover. Obviously, again it’s not my place to say whether or not it’s racist, but I feel like there’s some context missing from some of the comments I’ve seen. A lot of the own voices reviewers have not read the full book and are going off the cover and synopsis alone. (I believe, correct me if I’m wrong)

Chronic illness side – I can actually speak from personal experience on this one.
Although the author isn’t chronically ill (I think) – the rep isn’t too bad. I think the novel does a decent job as representing what life can be like with chronic illness, particularly the loneliness. The group chat that is made in the story for people with chronic illnesses to connect was actually lovely to read.

As for the story itself,
I really enjoyed it. I thought it was fun and engaging. I liked the characters and the character interactions. I love werewolves and I thought it was a really interesting take to make it like a chronic illness, having negative effects on the body etc. It was a cool idea.

I liked the main character, Priya. I found her character to be relatable in some ways and I enjoyed reading from her perspective.
I loved her friend Brigid – what a cool character. She was just great, funny, one of the best parts of the novel.

Spencer – Amazing side character. I really liked his introduction and sort of being forced into the werewolf stuff. It was nice to see the friendship bloom between him, Priya and Brigid.

Overall, the book is good – it’s a shame it’s tainted by problematic elements.

I recommend you check out the reviews over on Goodreads where more own voices reviewers have left their thoughts.

*This book was gifted to me by Quirk Books. All opinions are my own.


April Wrap Up | 2021

Hello everyone!
April was a pretty good reading month. Somehow I managed to read 7 books, despite having tons of uni work!

April’s wrap up is going to be a quick one, I don’t have time to go into book details, like I usually do. (I cannot wait to be done with uni in a few weeks!!)

Emergency Skin by N.K Jemisin – Rating: 4 Stars

Summer Frost by Blake Crouch – Rating: 4 Stars

Randomize by Andy Weir – Rating: 2 Stars

The Dog Share by Fiona Gibson – Rating: 3 Stars // Review

*Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli – Rating: 3.5 Stars // Review

Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender – Rating: 2 Stars

*Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal – Rating: 4 Stars

Reviews for the rest are coming soon!

What did you read in April? Any new favourites?