Genre: YA, YA Fantasy
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5 stars)
Officium adusque mortem. Duty unto death.
I buddy read this one with my pal Jonny from @jaunts & haunts. You can see how our chat went below.
This story started off very strong and was sitting at a 4 star rating, until I got to ch.17 & 18. That’s when things started to dwindle and drag.
What didn’t work for me..
⁃ too much filler at the 40% mark with missed opportunities. Everything just seemed to fall into place too easily and neatly! Like when Elisabeth arrives at Leadgate Hospital. Ugh.. this had the potential to be a great scene/event, but instead it lasted all of ten seconds with me rolling my eyes and saying, “Of course! How fucking convenient!”
⁃ Because of the fillers, the ending seemed rushed and didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It was kind of predictable.
What I enjoyed..
⁃ The library and grimoires! I absolutely loved that the main setting was in a library with books that came to life.
⁃ The characters. Silas stole my heart!!
Overall, it wasn’t perfect, but it was an entertaining read with a happy ending!
Buddy Read Book Rant:
Jonny: Oh my gosh, how much fun was this book Gigi! I think hands down this was the funnest buddy read to talk about while reading to date. Overall I had a really good time with the book, even though it had its cons here and there. How about you?
Gigi: I had a lot of fun reading this one with you too! I want my own Silas!! How do we get one?! 😜
Jonny: Hmm, bribery? Theft? Seduction? Shoot, I’d pay a hefty price for one.
Speaking of the demon, Silas really stole the show. This book definitely would’ve suffered without him. I love how he would serve tea one moment, then be ready to kill his enemies the next. Plus, he was very emotionally unavailable so he had this air of mystery to him that I really enjoyed.
How did you like the other main characters?
I thought Elisabeth was pretty strong as well. I liked how scrappy she was and also bold. I mean, she fought a Malefict in a nightgown. How crazy is that? She definitely gets some mad props there.
Nathaniel was something of an enigma with his magic and dark past, but he kind of paled in comparison to the other two in my opinion.
Gigi: I agree! Silas really made the story for me, eventhough he was a side character. I loved the banter between him & Nathaniel.
I liked Elisabeth as a strong female lead, and not afraid of anything! She was badass with Demonslayer! Made me wanna learn how to use a sword!
Any complaints I had about the book, were really in the storytelling. There were some missed opportunities in my opinion. There seemed to be quite a bit of filler after the 40% mark. I also felt like everything kinda fell into place a little too easily (i.e the events that took place at Leadgate Hospital) with the action scenes being short-lived.
Jonny: Totally! It’s funny how side characters can make or break the book. Kind of like M-bot in the Skyward series.
I loved their witty comebacks at each other too. It really showed how strong their odd relationship was, and there were several funny moments that really lightened things up where they were needed.
Yeah, I totally bought into her as a character, and I definitely want a replica of Demonslayer one day. It’s a gorgeous sword but also deadly, the best of both worlds.
I agree. Most of my complaints are with the execution of the writing, not the characters. I think some events or small resolutions in the plot came way too easy, especially with Leadgate Hospital like you mentioned. It was far too simple in my opinion and some of the details surrounding the girl Mercy were bizarrely convenient if you ask me.
As far as the action, I did enjoy it, but some of the scenes either gave too much detail or felt clunky. I don’t think there was a single fight/action scene that I felt 100% hit the mark, but it came very close in a few instances.
Ooo, can we talk about grimoires?
Gigi: Omg..yes!! The grimoires!! How cool would it be to be surrounded by them and be able to talk to them?
Creepy that some can unleash demons..no thanks! But I’m so down for a talking book!! Haha.
Jonny: Right! I lived for the grimoires and loved how the author gave them each so much personality. There’d be a snooty one here, a friendly one there, ones that sang, and then others would openly talk in spots.
Can I please be verbally destroyed by a book? I would cry, but they would be tears of joy lol!
There were definitely some creepy ones I would keep away from, like the one with needle and thread. Not messing with that one!
Wait, we should capitalize on the opportunity and make a talking book that comes in a variety of personalities. We’d be millionaires! They’d have phrases like “Hey, wash your hands!” or “Don’t manhandle my spine, creep!”
The grimoires aside, did you like the magic system in this book?
Gigi: We’d be billionaires if we came up with a book that could talk back!
Ooh, yes! I can do without the needle & thread one! Or the one that could scream. 😬
I actually thought it was interesting that the high demons were the source of the sorcerer’s power! I also liked the scrying mirrors, even though I don’t like mirrors in real life!
Jonny: Alright, we’re definitely going to have a pow wow about our business idea once this is all over!
Right? It’s those little touches to the grimoires that helped make the experience so much more. There were even ones with teeth! Better hope your book isn’t hungry when you wanna read it!
Me too. It’s an unusual source, but that made it refreshing. I’m just glad Nathaniel didn’t get stuck with a lame demon. Can you imagine? Like I summoned this demon and all I got was the power to make marshmallows fall from the sky.
I loved the scrying mirrors! They reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. That being said, they did have a creep factor to them because they’re not exactly the safest of magical artifacts.
Gigi: I was totally thinking Beauty & the beast too! “Show me the Beast!”
What did you think of the ending?
No spoilers. It felt a little rushed for me, but I did enjoy the happy ending.
Jonny: Yeah, and fun fact, the original Beauty and the Beast had even more magical artifacts than that. There was this awesome teleportation glove thing that was really nifty!
I liked the ending. It didn’t shake me to the core, but it was a positive end and it left me feeling happy as a result.
This author has another book that I’ve heard is similar to this one, so I might give it a shot sometime.
Overall this is one of my favorite books that I’ve read with you friend! I’m looking forward to more bookish adventures!
Gigi: Me too! While it wasn’t perfect, it was the most fun one we’ve read together where we gushed over the same parts, characters, etc.
We should definitely try horror next!! I’ve been neglecting my horror pile. 😜But I’m totally down for another Fantasy as well.
Can’t wait for our next read! Whatever that may be!! 🙌
Jonny: Yeah, I had a ton of fun gabbing, and that’s the whole point of having a book buddy. Thanks for keeping things so fun!
I’m totally game for Horror. It’s been too long!
Until next time..
Have you read this one? What did you think?
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.