I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
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. 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 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.
I was really looking forward to this second YA novel from Rogerson, having fallen hard for her first book, An Enchantment of Ravens. Perhaps I was expecting too much, because I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much.
There were obviously romantic aspects to both books and I knew early on in each which couple was destined to wind up together. However, I thought that Rogerson managed the relationship’s development with more skill in the first book. In this one, Elisabeth and Nathaniel get set up much more obviously, detracting from the romantic suspense, at least for me.
However, there were definitely elements that I loved: the Great Libraries, the sentient Grimoires, the secret passages that Elisabeth has rediscovered, her aspirations to become a Warden of the Library. Undoubtedly there were some Harry Potter elements to the story, what with all the evil adults that Elisabeth (and eventually Nathaniel) must defeat so that the Library can remain true to its purpose.
This is listed currently as a stand-alone book. But with this ending, a delightfully ambiguous final page, there is definitely a possibility of a second volume. I will be interested to see what this author produces next!