Can we all take a moment and gaze in awe at this stunning cover? It is GORGEOUS 🤩 And if you don’t have a copy yet, let me tell you. The way the colors swirl and pop is frankly magical. I don’t know what alchemy is at play here, but I could stare at this cover all day long.
But we’re not here to drool over covers. Though, that does sounds like a good future post… FOCUS! Anyway, we’re here to talk about what’s inside this gorgeous cover. And oh holy dead things, the inside is just as incredible as the outside.
“Most of the ruins from the Age of Kings had been abandoned because they attracted too many spirits, their lingering taint of Old Magic irresistible to the Dead.”
Okay. Good. That quote captures so much of what I loved about this book. Old Magic. Dead Kings. Dead spirits wandering the land. And a religious order that’s dedicated to fighting these spirits and making sure the dead don’t rise.
The story picks up almost immediately, which I love. Less than fifty pages we have possessed soldiers, vengeful spirits, and shit hitting the proverbial fan.
I love Artemisia as a character but her social awkwardness paired with the snarky countenance of the revenent is 1000% my jam. I love it. It’s like the grumpy-sunshine OTP but not romantic and not exactly sunshine. Maybe more like murderous grump meets anti-social grump but they both somehow have a heart of gold-ish.
Hopefully that makes sense, and if not, well, read the book 😂
“If there’s one thing I can rely upon, it’s the reassuring dependability of human idiocy. Give your kind a century or so, and they’ll happily repeat the exact same mistakes that nearly wiped them all out a few generations before.”
Alright, so many they’re both grumpy and anti-social, but only one is murderous. Whatever their pairing is, their dynamic is absolutely perfect. I love the way they snark at each other, but find a way to work together. Sure, it’s a needs-must situation, but it simply makes all of the softer moments even more endearing.
I also loved Marguerite. The dynamic between her and Artemisia are definitely grumpy-sunshine with an added touch of sass. I’m sure you can detect a theme here, but it appears that Rogerson loves sarcasm as much as I do and it shines through in spectacular detail throughout the book.
The theme of friendship and relationships was so lovely. I’m not opposed to romance subplots, but I also appreciate when they aren’t forced into a story. We have so many relationships in our daily lives and very few of them are romantic. Again, this isn’t slamming romance, but I really enjoyed the platonic threads woven on multiple levels throughout this novel.
Artemisia is in a position in her life where there is a ton of self-discovery. She is recovering from trauma and to throw a romantic relationship in there would have felt…strange? Dishonest, maybe. I loved that Rogerson allowed Artemisia the chance to know herself first. It’s such an important distinction that I’m not sure is explored frequently in YA.
“Perhaps deep down inside everyone was just a scared animal afraid of getting hurt, and that explained every confusing and mean and terrible thing we did.”
The world building is incredible. I loved the different levels of spirits that can be reborn depending on how the person died. The entire religion was fascinating, but what I really loved is how Artemisia and her merry band uncover some of the long-buried secrets.
I don’t know why, but books exploring religious beliefs have been finding their way to me a lot lately. And while this is a fantasy world with a made-up religion, the elements are very similar. Stripping away the myth and finding the history was a fascinating journey and I loved the parallels that can be applied to real-world experiences.
“Perhaps this was how history treated saints. It didn’t matter what was real, what had truly happened. Even as they lived, their lives passed into legend.”
Overall, this was such an amazing read. I had such a good time going through this world and watching the characters develop on the page. Rogerson does an outstanding job unfolding the mysteries in a way that keeps the reader guessing all the way to the end. It’s rare that I’m surprised by a twist, but whoa boy, they blew my mind.
Vespertine reads as a stand-alone with future story potential. I’m not sure if there will be more in this world, especially with Artemisia and the revenant, but I will absolutely dive face first if there is. I adore these characters, I love this world, and I want to know so much more than I know now.
I mentioned Artemisia’s trauma earlier and want to be clear that this is a central theme in her story. There can be somewhat graphic scenes of what happened when the trauma occurred, and readers should be aware of that. There are references to neglect and abuse.
There are also a decent amount of graphic war scenes. This is a story with possessed soldiers and other spirit like creatures who possess people when they are able. While there isn’t a ton of graphic death, it is there.
Five Dead Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I loved, loved, loved this book so much! I’m very grateful to Simon Teen, MBC Books, and Turn the Page Tours for including me on this tour and sending me this gorgeous copy!
Be sure to check out the rest of the tour and enter for a chance to win a finished copy!
And check out these awesome book release tour events!
From the New York Times bestselling author of Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a thrilling new YA fantasy about a teen girl with mythic abilities who must defend her world against restless spirits of the dead.
The dead of Loraille do not rest.
Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.
When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.
As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.
Margaret Rogerson is the author of theNew York TimesbestsellersAn Enchantment of RavensandSorcery of Thorns. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses. Visit her at MargaretRogerson.com.
Up for grabs on the book blog tour is two (2) copies of VESPERTINE by Margaret Rogerson, one a physical finished copy and one a digital copy. Open USA only.
Giveaway starts: Monday, September 27, 2021
Giveaway ends: Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. CDT