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(3.5 / 5) I liked it but I didn’t love it. I can see how most people would love it though. It had a small Harry Potter vibe and lots of that type of magic. I think I went into it expecting it to wow me and when it didn’t, I had a harder time liking it.
The main character started out young and immature and I had a hard time imagining her older and mature after that. When hints of a romance started I really struggled to believe it. I liked the characters but I wasn’t invested in them and I didn’t feel there was enough between them to be devoted to each other.
For the content, I think most readers could read this. Potentially even younger kids (noting the small amount of intimacy ahead of time). The violence was about the same as Harry Potter and as long as magic and creatures and the things that can happen when those two things are combined is something they can handle, I believe most anyone could read it.
Sorcery of Thorns
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 Library’s, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery–magical grimoires that whisper on the shelves and rattle beneath the 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 so loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
-Excerpt from book flap.
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Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms, curses unique to the book-
By the Otherworld
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
Champagne is served at a party. A young woman drinks two glasses.
Champagne is served at a party.
A man is given laudanum for pain.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
To distract wardens, a young man runs through the library with his trousers off.
A male demon servant bathes a young woman while she is unconscious two separate times.
A man admits to “fancying” both men and women.
A man and young woman kiss, very softly, very short.
A man kisses a young woman, twining his fingers in her hair. They kiss again, with urgency. He asks her with his eyes, and she agrees as he unties her robe. She is in her nightgown. He kisses her again, cupping her face and holding her waist. He kisses her neck, her relishing in the moment and holding him close.
Two people kiss on a public street.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A man has one hand larger than another, rumored to be from whipping people.
Human eyes (alive) cover the cover of a book. They were taken from sacrifices but not all the people were willing.
A young woman finds the body of a woman. She turns her over and her eyes stare sightlessly. A creature has killed her and is headed toward a village. A young woman slashes a sword at it, and it chases her. She stabs an eye with the sword, ink (the creature’s blood) running down her arms. It tosses her into a tree trunk. It grabs her and squeezes, she feels her ribs bending, but it drops her and she stabs it in an eye again.
A young woman is in prison for murder.
A young woman bites a man’s hand.
A man grabs a young woman, covering her mouth and holding a knife to her neck. Demons were promised her as a meal. A man uses a magic whip to have buildings collapse on them. The young woman hits one with a metal bar multiple times. A man uses magic and strikes them. The creature threatens a boy, the young woman attacks it.
Lesser demons eat flesh.
A demon killed a boy’s family.
A young woman kicks a man in the groin. She throws a lantern on a demon and it is on fire. It’s hand is smashed in a gate and a rock crushes it’s fingers.
A demon attacks a building. Many from a nearby town die in the attack and a fire.
Two men chase a young woman. She finds a piece of wood with nails and hits one, the nails squelching out of his skin and blood spraying. A man says some men are indisposed (killed?) and attacks a man, cutting off his scream.
A man holds a young woman prisoner in his home. He uses magic to make her seem like she’s in a vegetable state. He tortures her but it is only referred to after, no details given.
Awoken by screaming, a young woman sees blood seeping through the walls. She blinks and it’s gone.
Images of people appear before a young woman and she slashes her sword at them.
A magical book has pages of human faces stitched on.
A malefict reaches out of a book and grabs a young woman’s ankle. It chases her down a hallway, it pushes her aside trying to escape.
Another building is attacked. 7 people were killed, and one person received a head injury.
At a hospital, the overseer takes money from people to abuse the patients for pleasure. Rape? It’s very vague.
A man ties a servant/demon up in iron chain and holds an iron sword to his neck making his skin sizzle.
Two sorcerers duel. One slashes another with claws, blood seeping through his shirt, then twisting down his arm in rivulets as he holds the wound. He passes out in a pool of blood. A man stabs another man in the heart. Blood drips out of his mouth.
A young woman slashes a cut on a woman’s cheek. Blood dribbles down. Then she holds the sword to her neck. The woman unleashes fiends on the young woman, her fighting them off with a sword. One attacks her, then a man holds her down. She grabs a sword and stabs the woman.
A man slices his wrist with a knife to use the blood for magic. He has a scar where he did it before.
A man summons a demon.
Two people are shackled. A man grabs the front of young woman’s cloak and lifts her off the floor. A man knees another man in the stomach to silence him. The young woman is dropped and her shackles hit her spine.
A large malefict is chained and has many wounds on it from people using it to practice weapons. A man/demon slaps it and knocks it out.
A malefict touches a man causing him to crumble to dust when he takes his life energy. It escapes and people are shooting cannons at it. Another man turns to dust. It is gaining size by taking people’s lives. Multiple people sword fight. One breaks another’s arm, hearing the crack. He does this many more times. A man uses magic to send lightening down. A group of people are trying to fight the creature. It is wreaking havoc on the building and will to nearby towns. It kills anyone it can. A young woman shoots a cannon at it.
A large head of a creature is grotesque. A demon is unleashed in a crowd, a young woman fights one with a sword, a demon/man claws many in the throat, killing them. A small group fight many demon/fiends. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of fiends, goblins and imps, all fighting against the people. Magic fights against magic. There are many intense moments. A large creature is summoned. A man had cut himself to use blood magic to bring it here. A young woman uses a chain to tie a man up, holding a sword to his throat. She kicks him.
A young woman cuts herself to use blood magic.
Potentially Intense Themes
A baby was left on the steps of a library.
A Malefict looks like a malformed bear with dozens of eyes and antlers . It is made from sorcery, and of ink and leather from books.
Statues and gargoyles come alive.
Sorcerers affect how a young woman thinks and therefore acts.
Moss people are creatures in a forest with antlers, white, cracked skin and twig-like arms.
Demons are large hound-like creatures with scales.
A story of a man trying to raise his wife and son from the dead is told.
A magical manuscript is stitched together with human skin.
A man uses sorcery in his dreams causing blood to drip from walls, corpses crawling on the floor, his father’s body with its throat cut.
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