Thursday, September 23, 2021

Review: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson


Vespertine #1
by Margaret Rogerson
Maragaret K. McElderry Books
Young Adult Fantasy
400 pages

OCTOBER 5th!!!

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.



I have not read Margaret Rogerson's books before, and after reading this one, I realize I'll have to catch-up on that.

Artemisia is a teen girl, who lives in a convent trained to subdue spirits. She carries the scars of her own dealing with spirits before the convent took her in, physical as well as psychological ones which run deep. Despite living in the convent, she doesn't really interact with anyone more than is necessary. When she's faced with a growing and evil danger, she'll need to overcome her past and more.

This is a wonderfully written book, which brings the world to life with all of it's shadows, spirits and magic. The first pages already grab as Artemisia dives into a extremely dangerous situation in an attempt to save a younger member of the convent. And the tale doesn't let up from there, although the pacing does slow down every now and then. It's an intriguing world, which has been nicely fleshed out, and it lays a great foundation for the novels to come.

Artemisia is a character with more than a few scars, inward and out. This makes her easy to sympathize with and root for as she's forced to press her borders more and more. Her reclusive nature is understandable, which makes her willingness to help others without a second's thought even more heroic. She develops well through the story, learns as she goes thanks to mistakes as well as successes. The others around her weren't always quite as well developed as I'd like, but this is only the beginning of the series, and they more than fulfilled their purpose. 

One thing I especially appreciated about this tale is that there is no romance. None. Not a hint. Nada. Artemisia has so much to deal with in so many ways that adding this would have been unrealistic and hurt her character and the plot. So, kudos to the author for realizing that. 

While the ending of this one wasn't as strong as I would have liked, it definitely did its job, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the author takes Artemisia next.

And here she is...

Margaret Rogerson is the author of the New York Times bestsellers An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery 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

1 comment:

Heather N. Quinn said...

I love a good romance, but it's not always needed to tell a story, especially when it's a story for kids. Not all kids are interested in getting involved romantically. They'd rather just have friends.