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 the 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 Nataniel 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, Elizabeth 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. (Excerpt from the book cover).
“Ink and parchment flowed through her veins. The magic of the Great Libraries lived in her very bones. They were part of her, and she a part of them”
An easy to read, light hearted fantasy book, which although it didn’t absolutely bowl me over, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is such a fun read, captivating and spellbinding, the author transports you into the most amazing fantasy world enrapturing you with every gorgeous sentence. The story is well paced, I never at any point found myself losing interest. The world-building is incredible, the thought and detail the author put into it is so inspiring. I love the library setting and the concept that books are alive, with voices, feelings and personalities, and the demons….well, they are both horrifying and wonderful at the same time. What book lover isn’t going to absolutely love this setting?
I adore the strange bond between Nataniel and his demonic man servant, Silas. In fact I found the relationship, interaction and the banter between all three protagonists, Elisabeth, Nathaniel and Silas, absolutely captivating, they made me smile, laugh and tugged at my heart strings.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” he inquired “You used a demonic incantation to pack my stockings!” He raised an eyebrow. “You’re right, that doesn’t sound like something a proper evil sorcerer would do. Next time, I won’t fold them”.
“What is this master – the third time I’ve broken you out of a jail cell?” Nathaniel coughed. “Minor misunderstandings, on both previous occasions”, he assured Elisabeth ….. He spoke mildly, his lashes shading his eyes. “At least you’re wearing clothes this time, master”.
The romance is okay, it is very sweet, but personally I feel it needed a little bit more raunchiness in there (but not too much!). I love Nathaniel’s endearing use of the work Scrivener and the lovely glimmers of humour between the two.
“ Scrivener” he said carefully, “I don’t mean to be forward, but is that a ” “A sword hidden underneath my dress? Yes, it is”. “I see. And how exactly is it ” “I thought you didn’t mean to be forward”. She squeezed his arm. “Come on”.
“ God, Elisabeth, I’ve been doomed since the moment I watched you smack a fiend off my carriage with a crowbar. How could you not tell? Silas has been rolling his eyes at me for weeks”.
Possibly I’ve gone a bit quote-heavy in this review, but there were so many wonderful quotations in this book, particularly the ones that made me chuckle! A perfect novel for lovers of books and of fantasy novels, with adventure, thrills and beautiful world building all perfectly balanced with a lovely romance.