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.
From the start of this book I was sucked into the world. I loved the idea that there were librarians who had to protect dangerous spell books from getting out into the world and turning into monsters. It took a library and made it more magical and special.
In the beginning of the book I thought Elisabeth and Thorn had this magical chemistry together on the page. I loved how Elisabeth was willing to fight for what she wanted and she was often not scared of the world around her. I liked how Thorn was mysterious and full of great magical powers we knew nothing about. Their dynamic in the beginning half of the novel was just magical to read and watch unfold.
As the story went on and more elements started to come to light I had a few issues with this book. I think the world is left unexplained to the reader. While the magical books in the library were really great why exactly did the librarians try to lock them away from sorcerers but would let them look at the book with the right privilege. I didn’t really understand why the librarians, who so clearly hated sorcery, were even there at all. Also while I love Silas, the demon in the story, I also didn’t really understand their world or how it fit into the storyline.
Along with all of my questions about the world I felt that Elisabeth sometimes had it a little to easy. They needed to be somewhere or she would need a way to communicate and within the next few pages these things would just sort of happen.
Overall, I really liked Elisabeth, Thorn and Silas. I really loved the idea behind this book as well, who wouldn’t want magical books. However, I think that Rogerson was trying to pack a trilogy into a single novel. While I appreciate that the story is finished in one book I felt like this was the start to something bigger and we only got to see a small portion of the world. I want to keep my eye on Rogerson though because I feel she can make a special story, it just needed work in a few places.