I was fortunate to receive an audiobook copy from the publisher and author through Netgalley in exchange for feedback and my honest review. These are my opinions, uninfluenced.
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson is a standalone YA Fantasy, releasing on October 2nd 2021. Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who ferries the dead and prevents that from turning into vicious souls that kill the living. When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia awakens an ancient spirit. Now, bound to the spirit, Artemisia begins to uncover a sinister mystery that could destroy everything and everyone. Without any options, Artemisia has to betray everything she knows by putting her faith in the spirit with the hopes that it doesn’t betray her first.
I loved Sorcery of Thorns so my excitement for this off the charts. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
Margaret Rogerson’s writing style shines in this. It’s captivating, honest and so brilliant.
Anxiety, trauma and PTSD play a really important role in Artemisia’s story. Because of the way these hard topics were handled, the story really resonated with me. I could feel Artemisia’s pain in everything she did. More than that, despite not living through what she had, I completely understood it. Through all of her actions, the little things and the big decisions, to the things she said (or even didn’t say), it was really easy to understand her. And what made her the way she was.
Artemisia was such a complex character, with layers and layers. I wish this was a series so I could see more of her. The development arc we did get in this story was a delight. I loved reading about her growth and would’ve enjoyed it even more if I could stay with her in more books.
I was really happy with the pacing for this. It’s fast paced and full of action. We’re constantly on the move and constantly fighting to survive. It was simply exhilarating. So much was packed into this without it overwhelming.
One thing that catch me by surprise, was the absence of romance. I completely adored the romance sub plot in Sorcery of Thorns so I simply expected it in this. But it wasn’t, which is probably a good thing. There is so much to this story that I don’t think there was room for more.
I can see how everyone wouldn’t be able to appreciate this, but I highly recommend giving it a go. Especially if you’re looking for a fast paced fantasy that is unlike what you’ve read before.