Read: 15th August 2020 – 16th August 2020
Spoilers in review: Not really
Rep: bi love interest, aro side character
CW: misogyny, memory manipulation/gaslighting, violence
Elisabeth grew up in one of the Great Libraries, surrounded by grimoires (spellbooks) that not only are already alive, but if they’re provoked they have the potential to transform into horrific monsters. When disaster strikes her home, and she’s implicated in the incident, she’s taken to the capital. There, she, a young sorcerer, and that sorcerer’s demon, work together to uncover a centuries-old conspiracy that threatens to end life as they know it.
I loved this book so much!
The magic system in this book’s world is a delight for multiple reasons. One is the concept of the grimoires. They’re alive, and have different personalities, likes, and dislikes. Some can directly communicate through language, while some can only give off a sense of their emotions. They’re really cool and a core part of this book. I wouldn’t mind owning a book that’s literally alive, provided it’s one of the nice ones and not one of the ones that was itching to become a monster.
Another is how the sorcerers themselves get their magic. In the world of this book, sorcerers’ powers come from their deals with demons. The sorcerer gets magic, a powerful servant, and a physical mark somewhere on their body as evidence of the deal. The demon gets to consume their sorcerer’s life force at some point in the future, as the deal invariably involves the sorcerer trading some of their life away. The sorcerer we get to know the most, Nathaniel, made his deal when he was just twelve years old after the deaths of his family. Another sorcerer’s mark changes the colour of his eye. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Because it does to me.
That’s not a criticism! There are only so many ideas to go around, and it’s inevitable that sometimes separate works will be similar in some way. I’ve tried to watch Black Butler twice before, and have never made it past episode 5. Sorcery of Thorns does it better. In the battle of the demon butlers, sorry Sebastian, Silas wins hands down no contest.
(I was also able to make a comparison to Fullmetal Alchemist, however the details for that spoil both that and this, so all I’ll say is that my familiarity with FMA meant that I figured something out before the characters did.)
Silas was my favourite character in the whole book! As a demon, he’s insistent that he didn’t care about either Nathaniel or Elisabeth despite it being extremely obvious that he does, in fact, care a great deal about them both. The relationship that he has with these two gave me found family vibes, which is always a shortcut to my heart. He can also transform into a fluffy white cat, and keeps some cat-like personality traits even when not in this form! Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve cared this much about a single character in something I’ve read that wasn’t fanfic.
The romantic relationship between Elisabeth and Nathaniel was fine. It was very much a subplot, which I appreciated, and while them being romantic wasn’t the most convincing thing in the world, them caring about each other’s wellbeing and being close was very clear throughout. They didn’t have to be a romantic couple for this story to work, but I didn’t mind that they were, and considering the state of some m/f couples in fiction I will absolutely take not minding this couple as a win. More importantly, these two and Silas were a trio and they all loved each other in different ways.
When I finished this book, the only other living thing in the house with me at the time was the dog, so I went and told him all about it and how close it had come to absolutely destroying me. I just had to tell someone, and I had to do it immediately. If that’s not a glowing recommendation then I don’t know what is.
I was provided with a copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.