5 « she did it again » stars
First I want to say a huge thank you to Simon and Shuster for my eGalley or Vespertine! Margaret Rogerson is one of my favorite authors and I wanted to read Vespertine so bad! So yes, thank you!
In her author’s note Margaret Rogerson explained that she struggled to write this book as the world pandemic has affected her mood very hard yet she has delivered a superb story.
It’s true the mood is somber than in Sorcery of Thorns and the banter is darker. But it suits her characters and story perfectly!
I fell into that story from the very first sentence and stayed glued to my Kindle until the very end!
The opening scene happens in a convent’s cemetery where Artemisia finds a censer abandoned at the base of a tombstone. Soon enough, a white raven named Trouble warns her that the young novice who carried the censer is in grave danger.
Artemisia won’t hesitate for one second to rush to her aid and battle a highly ranked spirit.
That’s Artemisia for you: always dedicated to help others, disregarding her own health and safety as unimportant compared to others.
From that first gripping scene we dive head first in a brand-new universe akin to some medieval times. A world where spirits target the sighted to possess their soul and make them their puppets.
A world where the Grey Sisters, Artemisia’s order prepare the dead’s bodies to avoid the birth of dangerous spirits. These sisters are also trained to fight spirits with relics and misericords, these thin blades they wield.
Cathedrals, relics, horses, knights, revenants, nuns, monks…this painted a rich tapestry transporting me in a fantasy medieval universe.
Artemisia has been saved as a child by the Grey Sisters while she was possessed by a spirit. The first year of Artemisia’s life were …horrid. I won’t give details but I cried on her childhood more than once.
Artemisia was a seventeen years old awkward teenager who feels better amidst goats and horses than humans! And yet she’ll always fight for them, bewildered as the story unfold when some people helped her and treated her with kindness. Her appearance had others fear her and she is used to loneliness. And yet, a secret part of her will yearn for some warmth and companionship.
When a great danger and unexpected twist of events will force her to use a relic to defend her convent, a very powerful spirit will enter her body and she will be forced to flee confessor Leander. But if she is running away from him, she will also embark on a journey to save her world.
The battle scenes when Artemisia was ruled by the revenant were elating! Like these painting of saints surrounded by bright light fighting evil.
The revenant will be a reluctant ally and the banter between the grumpy, sarcastic spirit and candid, socially clueless Artemisia was a delight!
The revenant, for all his power and threat he posed reminded me of a gruff man, outwardly harsh and cruel but a softie inside.
This was one of the big lessons in this story. How people’s cruelty is often born of loneliness and fear of being rejected. But once you show them you won’t leave them and that you want to be their friends, it’s like the sun peeking behind the clouds.
This gave us unexpected and heartwarming friendships. Artemisia no longer alone, weird as it might be, and the revenant being accepted and cared for in some strange bonding.
Battles, revenants, possession, secrets, unexpected friendships and devouring ambition, you have everything in Vespertine to make it one of my top five books of 2021 once again.
Margaret Rogerson has proven once more that she does know how to write an enthralling and riveting story!
Thanks for reading!