June 12, 2019

Mini-reviews: Sorcery of Thorns + The Rest of the Story

pub 6/4/19 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received ARC from pub for review
Full disclosure – I was one of the people who didn't fall in love with Rogerson's debut novel An Enchantment of Ravens so you can imagine my surprise and utter happiness to be captivated with Sorcery of Thorns from page one. The heroine Elisabeth has grown up in one of the Great Libraries and can speak to magical grimoires (spell books), which if provoked can transform into monsters. Wardens protect the kingdom from their power and Elisabeth longs to become one of them. When the library's most dangerous grimoire is mysteriously released, Elisabeth doesn't hesitate but then gets charged with the crime. This sets her on an unexpected path as she forced from her home and faces people and experiences that make her question everything she's been ever taught. The first one being sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn and his demonic servant. She was raised to believe all sorcerers are evil and he clearly doesn't know what to make of her so when they find themselves teaming up to unravel the mysterious attacks against the Libraries, not only is it action-packed but it's also just flat-out fun. The banter is spot-on and I was genuinely laughing out loud at their interactions (and swooning too, of course). Part of Elisabeth's charm is that she's been so sheltered within the library so she's guileless, curious and passionate about the things she believes in. In contrast, Nathaniel has a past and reputation that's been a heavy burden to bear and her appearance completely shakes up his life. I loved them and the dynamic between them and Nathan's demonic servant (did not expect to adore him as much as I did!). The entire story is just well-executed, well-paced and clever. I didn't know how badly I wanted a magical library book until I read this!

Do I recommend? Absolutely! Definitely for anyone who loves fantasy.

pub 6/4/19 by Balzer + Bray
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub for review
Sarah Dessen must have some sort of magic because 14 contemporary YA books later and she's still got it. I may not always fall in love with every novel but I find each of them compulsively readable. I just want to curl up on the couch and read her books in one sitting because they make me feel so nostalgic for teenage life. And The Rest of the Story continues her legacy of doing so. After Emma Saylor's mom died when she was ten, her family as she knew it consisted of her, her dad and his relatives. But unexpected circumstances sends Emma to spend the summer with her mother's family at North Lake, the very place she grew up hearing stories about from her mom. She's reunited with her grandmother and cousins she hasn't seen as a little girl and realizes there's so much she doesn't know about her parents. She finds out they actually met at North Lake, her father a part of the wealthier resort while her mother and family was a part of the working class. It's a divide that still exists and a feeling Emma can relate to as she begins to feel like two halves of a whole herself.. There's Emma as she's known to her dad but to this extended family she forgot she had, she's goes by Saylor, the name her mother called her. This summer is one of self-discovery for Emma as she tries to reconcile these two sides while getting to know her cousins and a boy named Roo, who was her best friend when she was little and very connected to her, which is something that gets revealed over time. I really enjoyed the summer lake setting and the family part was probably my favorite aspect. I'm a sucker for any story involving grandmothers or cousins and this had both! The romance was sweet too, if not predictable. I think my biggest quibble with the book was probably the dynamic between Emma, her dad and his side of the family and how they were pitted against her mother's side. Something about the way it came off felt too stereotyped or needed more explanation and depth for me to sympathize with how her dad reacted and to connect to what was obviously meant to be intense feelings for both parties.

Do I recommend? I do! If you want a quick summery read, look no further. But I'd recommend borrowing it from the library.

1 comment

  1. Sorcery of Thorns is such a fun standalone YA fantasy - one of my favorites this year! And I still have to read The Rest of the Story, but I'm very excited to do that soon.

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