“Shameless, impudent, meddling females, who presumed to set at naught the Society’s prohibition on women’s magic, and duped the common people with their potions and cantrips!”

26033583What is this book about?

The story is set in England during the war with Napoleonic France. Magicians roam the world, but instead of focusing on the war, they’re trying to deal with the depletion of magic. We follow Zachariah Wythe who got to be sorcerer to the crown, the highest of all the magicians in England, because his adopted father died under mysterious circumstances. No one really likes Zachariah, because they think he killed the previous sorcerer and because his skin is darker than that of any regular Englishman. So while Zachariah fights ignorance, he’s also expected to find a solution to the vanishing of magic. This brings him to an all-girls school for witches where he meets Prunella Gentleman. She’s an outcast as well, but doesn’t let anyone get her down. She devises a way to follow Zachariah to London and decides to become the best witch she can be, even though everyone will frown upon it.

Why is it boring?

I started reading this book, but I noticed I had a hard time paying attention to it. Then I decided to try the audiobook and the same thing happened. I blame the use of language. It’s written very flowery, a bit old-timy and the start of this book is very, very slow.

Who would you recommend it to?

If you like your fantasy fancy, then Sorcerer to the Crown is your thing. It’s a Victorian style novel about sorcerers and social injustice, so do with that what you will.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

I wanted to like this book so much. It delves into all kinds of important issues like feminism and racism, but then covers it with a layer of fantasy and wit. There are a lot of funny moments in Sorcerer to the Crown and the book doesn’t shy away from being silly now and again. The characters are also great. Zachariah is such a kind and gentle soul and you feel bad that everyone is treating him so poorly, while all he wants is to be left alone. Prunella is feisty and loves being the center of attention and is a witchy role model the likes of Hermione in sense of determination and intelligence. This book had to me all the makings of a great read, if it wasn’t for that damned prose. I just couldn’t focus on the story with all those unnecessary words added to every line. I felt like it was trying too hard, like I had to be forced into the mindset and vocabulary of 18th century England. I appreciate the effort that went into the writing and some of Cho’s lines are absolutely genius, but it was too much for me to handle. I’m disappointed, not in the book but mostly in myself. I wanted to like this so badly, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Rating: 2,5/5

Review Copy attained through Netgalley with special thanks to the publisher Pan Macmillan.

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Esmée de Heer is head honcho over at the Bored to Death book club website, writing the daily content and making sure the site stays up and running. She's one of the founding sisters of the book club and enjoys reading and giving unsolicited love advice.

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