Sunday, 12 January 2020

Sorcery of Thorns // a fantasy standalone that is at once nostalgic and refreshing

Margaret Rogerson's words are magic. She manages to pack sorcery, whimsy, humour, feminism, and a love of books all into Sorcery of Thorns, making it one of the best fantasy standalones I've read in some time.

The story is in parts splendid and sinister - where books are living breathing creatures that can kill if you aren't too careful. It brought me a kind of nostalgia for the fantasy novels I would read at fifteen - where book-loving girls fight evil men and devouring demons alongside tragic but witty boys - but with an added freshness to the dynamic. There is no love triangle, for one, and queerness is normalised, which is always so refreshing with fantasy. Furthermore, the male lead, whilst being both charming and self-pitying, is never cruel or overly self-absorbed. The sharp-minded Nathaniel plays brilliantly alongside the bright and bookish Elisabeth, and the affection they show for the demon Silas is so tender that it's difficult not to fall in love with all three of them.

There is also a subtle but powerful narrative about the power dynamics of wealth and gender, where Elisabeth realises that "the world wasn't kind to young women, especially when they behaved in ways men didn't like, and spoke truths men weren't ready to hear." This, again, makes the typical fantasy formula of Sorcery of Thorns stand apart from those that have come before it.

Rogerson can break my heart and heal it all in a single page, and I look forward to experiencing the same with her future books.


YA Fantasy


Nathaniel is bisexual, Silas is asexual, and Katerine is aromantic

Blood, violence, gaslighting and deception, death



  1. Great review, Helia! I've heard mixed reviews about the author's books, but you laid out some good points that made me looking forward to read this one! :)

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. Thank you Tasya! I haven't read any of the author's other books but I'm definitely going to hunt them down after how much I loved Sorcery of Thorns. I hope you enjoy it too!

  2. This is such a lovely review! This book is sort of stalking me at the moment - I keep seeing it everywhere and on almost every blog I visit. I think it may be finally time to pick it up after I finish reading my current book. I really do like the sound of everything you mentioned in this review! Especially the normalisation of queerness - that never fails to make me happy when I'm reading a fantasy book :D