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Released: October 5, 2021
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Vespertine #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
“This book doesn’t have much romance but it made up for it with extraordinary friendship.”~ Under the Covers
“Maybe 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.”
Artemisia is a young nun who worships the Grey Lady of Naimes and wants to become a Grey Sister. Grey Sisters cleanse the souls of the dead in order for them to pass on. Ever since the gate between the living and dead was obliterated, long ago by Old Magic, if the nuns don’t help the dead crossover they viciously rise and wreak havoc in Loraille. They can consume or possess the living and the creature they turn into is poetically a reflection of how they died.
The Clerisy is the system of nuns who rely on incense, symbols, and consecrated objects to fight the vengeful spirits. The nuns can bind spirits to saint relics to channel their power into it and then use their power. The most powerful spirits that can be bound to a relic are called revenants (and there are seven of them.)
When a priest comes to test all the girls, Artemisia does her best to hide that she can feel the spirits and power in the relics–a rare gift. After her covenant is attacked by a possessed army, she is forced to take on a high relic that contains a powerful revenant. The revenant becomes a part of her and wants to use her as a vessel. Artemisia is able to subdue it, but for how long and at what price?
Together with help from the revenant, she has to figure out how to navigate a world outside of Naimes to help the Grey Lady and to help save her world from dark spirits. This journey, however, has her questioning everything.
This story was such a treat. I loved spending time with Artemisia and coming to know the revenant. This book doesn’t have much romance but it made up for it with extraordinary friendship. Typically nuns are trained how to wield a high relic. This includes training to never listen to or interact with the revenants or spirits attached. The connection Artemisia forms with the revenant wouldn’t have been possible if she had been brainwashed to believe it would only deceive her and that it’s pure evil. Because she has a more open mind she can decide for herself. Artemisia is a well-rounded character. She is sweet in such an odd way– she lacks a sweet presentation but she is, at heart, a good person with good intentions.
Rogerson’s choice of language was sometimes hard to get around. Most of it was probably to help build the setting but, at times, it came across as excessive and interrupted the story. I had to re-read the first chapter a few times before I was able to enter the world. Thank goodness for Kindle’s built-in dictionary!
Overall, I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to fans of Sorcery of Thorns!
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