What It’s About: 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.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire, and Elisabeth is implicated in the crime. 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.
This book. When I finished it, I wished I could read it again right away because I had so much fun. I also flew through this book and hated putting it down each night for sleep. A book series can be so draining so when you find a standalone fantasy novel and it is good, you breathe a sigh of relief for more than one reason.
The lore of the libraries and the books themselves having their own personalities and souls, was so creepy and lovely. Elisabeth wanting to become a warden and take up a sword to protect the books and keep them in line was so much fun. The magic system in this world is fascinating and dark.
I really enjoyed the characters: Nathanial, Elisabeth, Katrien, and Silas. Silas, especially, he was so interesting and at times quietly horrifying. I would read an entire book dedicated to just him and his history. This is definitely a book where the characters all shine and you want to know more and more about them.
The romance is slow-burn and full of yearning, which I really enjoyed. I also just liked Nathanial and Elisabeth getting to know each other and fighting to save the world together. They were so much fun and I did enjoy Nathanial’s jokes.
While the villain is a bit basic and unremarkable (spoiler: a lot of villains are), their whole plan taking decades and being about legacy was pretty incredible. This story of evil also just highlights the absolute awfulness, arrogance, and ignorance of those people with power.
I believe the only real thing that lacked for me when it came to this book was how the final battle was handled. It felt like the final battle just ended and was resolved, and I wanted it described a bit more. To really see its last moments unfold on the page. That would have made the book longer, but I wouldn’t have minded.
I feel like this is a new favourite book for me, which is exciting. I’m also looking forward to the novella for this book coming out in January 2023.