Can’t Wait Wednesday : Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson.  I absolutely loved Sorcery of Thorns and can’t wait to read what this author has come up with next. Here’s the description: 

VespertineFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a thrilling new YA fantasy about a teen girl with mythic abilities who must defend her world against restless spirits of the dead.

The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

Expected publication : September 2021

Friday Face Off : Double Whammy

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Cartoonish or graphic and a cover that gave you ‘grabby hands’

So, I had a terrible week, my little dog passed away and so I missed last week’s Friday Face Off – plus a full week of other things including visiting blogs, etc.  You may be wondering why I’m posting today – basically, I’m trying to keep my mind distracted, if I stop and sit around for more than two minutes at a time – well, things go to hell in a New York Minute.  People are avoiding me – because if they look my way I pretty much have a conniption.  *awkward*

Okay, Having missed last week’s theme I’ll post a double this week.  First, Cartoonish or graphic: I’ve gone for a book that I loved and can’t deny that I would be happy to find out more books were planned in this particular world.  Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson.  Now, this isn’t a cartoon cover as such but for me it has a graphic novel feel:

Not a lot of covers for this one.  One is more or less a mirror version and the other just a slight underplaying of the colours.  I have to say that for me there’s no competition – this cover is just beautiful and dramatic:

Sor1

Do you have a favourite?

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – Your current read (if it has covers to compare) or any recent read

2021

April

23rd – Your current read (if it has covers to compare) or any recent read

30th– A series that you love – highlight all the books in the series

May

Month of Wyrd and Wonder

7th – A Series where the cover changed midway through – which style do you prefer most

14th – The earliest fantasy you recall reading – or the first fantasy book you really loved, maybe the book that kickstarted your love of fantasy

21st – The Top Hat

28th – The Hood

June

4th – The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot.

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy

July

2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

December Countdown, Day 15 : Mince Pies

December book meme (details here). Mince pies – a little sweet something:

Sorceryof

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

SorceryofThornsSorcery of Thorns is one of those books that felt like it was written just for me.  I had such a good time with this book and couldn’t put it down.  It’s this wonderful combination of spirited MC, plenty of action, witty dialogue with laugh out loud moments and well – just everything.  I loved it and it put me on a book reading high.  Plus I wanted to speed to the end but also didn’t want to ever reach that point.  I could literally read this again, right now.

The thing is, this doesn’t include a magical library so much as magical books.  They have feelings, some of them are grumpy, some of them are evil and they all communicate with our main character.  We book lovers have a way of talking about our books as though they really are characters don’t we?  We discuss our TBRs and how the books on there  ‘wait patiently for us to pick them up and crack open the pages’.  Well, here is a story where the character not only talks to the books but feels their emotions.  It’s like a dream come true to be honest – although I think some of my books would have long since given up talking to me, they’d be sulking too furiously or probably trying to throw themselves at my head in a desperate attempt to garner some love and affection.

Listen to the hype about this book people.  It’s real.

We start off by making the acquaintance of Elisabeth as she’s about to undergo something of a scary task – the delivery of a grimoire to the Great Library where she lives and is apprenticed to become a warden.  Elisabeth has lived in the library for as long as she can remember.  Left on the doorstep as a youngster she was accepted into its folds by the Director who took a shine to her because of the way her face lit up when she saw the books.  She now endeavours to become a Warden at the library although her mischievous nature doesn’t always win hearts.

A bit of background.  Austermeer is a place where sorcery exists but is regulated.  Grimoires are kept locked away in the five great libraries and are only broken out of their chains upon special request.  Grimoires are precious but also dangerous, they can, with the slightest damage, easily transform into havoc wreaking monsters known as Malefics and this is, in fact, exactly what happens one evening when Elisabeth is awoken in the dark of night and finds a Malefic on the loose.  Acting quickly to prevent bloodshed Elizabeth stops the terror in its tracks but then finds herself accused of instigating the crime and taken to the City to be investigated.  Nathaniel, a sorcerer himself, and his butler, are set the task of bringing Elizabeth back for questioning.  Now, Elizabeth has been brought up in a very small, self contained environment, led to believe that sorcery is the root of all evil and so she thinks that Nathaniel will take this opportunity to kill her in some sort of ‘accident’ but Nathaniel is the least of her worries.  The politics, treachery and polished society of Austermeer are far more of a threat and it soon becomes evident that a much bigger plot is afoot.

I couldn’t even begin to count the ways in which this worked for me but here’s a snapshot.

Firstly the characters.   Elisabeth is like a breath of fresh air, a bit gangling and clumsy even, not refined in particular but she’s just good fun, a bit plucky and not always worrying about her appearance or thinking about how she fits in.  She’s clever too and quite capable of getting herself out of a spot plus she’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind.  Then there’s Nathaniel.  The sorcerer who, yes, does become the romantic interest but, let me be clear, the romance isn’t the main focus of the story, although the chemistry on the page was so compelling that I probably wouldn’t have complained even if it had, and Nathaniel is not only great mind candy but his way of speech is downright entertaining, I found myself laughing at his dialogue all the time.  But, the absolute show stealer is Silas.  A demon no less.  OMG – I loved Silas.  He’s a demon with impeccable manners and fashion sense.  I just couldn’t get enough of this character.  He is wicked and and makes no bones about telling people not to trust him but I just loved him and want more.

Then there’s the dynamics of the relationships.  Firstly there’s the pop and sizzle between Elisabeth and Nathaniel which really was just lovely to read.  Elisabeth starts out with lots of prejudices, she comes across as the country mouse to Nathaniel’s sophisticated city mouse and although it takes a little while she eventually starts to see that she’s been living in something of a bubble.  Many things have been misrepresented to her and so what starts out with a pride and prejudice feel on her part finally comes down with a bump when Elisabeth begins to understand that she’s not been told the complete truth.  Then there’s the Batman/Alfred the Butler feel, or more appropriate maybe Howl and Calcifer feel, to Nathaniel and Silas’s relationship  So, so good.  Did I already mention that – well, one more time couldn’t hurt.  These two have known each other forever and they have that easy feel of being there for each other, second guessing what’s needed, and ignoring each other quite willfully.

The writing is really persuasive.  It’s easy to visualise.  The libraries are beautifully described.  The characters all stand on their own two feet and the dialogue is great to read.  The pacing was also really good, I maybe had one slight lull after the dramatic start but I think that might have been driven more by my own impatience to get to the meat of the story.

And, the action is highly entertaining.  There are coach chases (this being set in what feels akin to the Regency period), all sorts of drama involving breaking into libraries, necromancy, sorcery and a jaw dropping finale in the Grand Library that I’m not going to tell you more about – because of spoilers obviously – but that I loved – it was brilliant.  And that ending.  What?  No.  Give me more.  NOW.  Ahem, I’m shouting now so it’s probably time to leave this alone.

Basically, in case I came across as a little shy with my feelings – this book was just brilliant.  I adored it and in fact, even with that tiny little lull this book gets the full 5 star treatment.

So, the burning question I suppose is do I now need to rush out and grab a copy of An Enchantment of Ravens??

My thanks to the publisher for granting me a copy through Netgalley.  The above is my own opinion.

Rating : 5 stars

Waiting on Wednesday : An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

AEofR“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson.  This book sounds awesome and I really want it in my life.  Due out September 2017.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.