Thursday, September 3, 2015

ARC REVIEW Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

A wonderfully unique book from Zen Cho, Sorcerer to the Crown is the first book from the Sorcerer Royal series. I loved this alternative world where magic leaks from the adjacent Fae world and is fully accessible to certain people to use. Of course it's taboo for a woman to use magic because the whole Dark Ages period was blamed on women. Now women are forced to suppress their powers. The magic energy flow in the atmosphere above England has been dwindling down to the point where it's almost all gone. The premise of this book is fascinating at times it seems like just a fantasy story but then it switches gears and starts to play out like a classic romance and then switches back to fantasy. The romance is there hiding in the background you see it, it is subtly worded the attraction between them but it's not the main focus of the story.

Zacharias Wythe was born a slave, but as a baby was noticed by an important British man and bought. Sir Stephen saw something in the little baby, he knew with the right training he could have a very powerful sorcerer and prove the stogie society that a "man of color" can be just as powerful as any other man. Zacharias as much as he loved his adoptive parents still resented them slightly for making him a charity case. After the death of Sir Stephen, Zacharias still step up to the position of Sorcerer Royal just like Sir Stephen had been training him and expected him to do. Zacharias despite the insults, and the insinuations that he himself murdered Sir Stephen, makes a good level headed Sorcerer Royal. He is able to look at the bigger picture and knows even the littlest involvement can change everything. He has been concentrating on the lack of magic in the air and has been trying to find a way to fix it, he just has to survive all the assassination attempts.

Prunella Gentleman is an orphan her father left her under the care of a local widow, Mrs. Daubeney, who in turned used her knowledge of raising Prunella to open a school for gentlewitches. Prunella has no idea who her mother is she just knows she is treated as a second class citizen because it is obvious her mother was an "exotic" and the maternal nature of the widow decreases the older and darker Prunella's skin became. Prunella has a great degree of magical ability and that another reason for discord, Mrs Daubeney firmly believes a woman doesn't have the fortitude for handling magic. Cleaning out the attics Prunella finds some items that belonged to her father and now knows she has something great in her possession. Prunella appeals to Zacharias, after a visit to the school, about wanting to learn how to be a sorcerer. Her real reason is just to get to London her dream is to have a season and find a husband. After seeing her in action Zacharias knows there is greatness in her and plans on using her an example for the new reform for Society.

The plot thickens when it becomes known that a group of men plans to overthrow Zacharias and do so the old fashion way, the outlawed way. Things get even more complicated when a small island seeks help from the Sorcerer Royal against a groups of witches who are threatening the island. The head witch herself travels to England. The heredity of Prunella is revealed and her powers are unprecedented.  Amazingly it all fits together, there is a line that comes to mind when reading this and trying to find a way to describe it without really giving anything away; "What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive". I find that very accurate.

Overall this book was fascinating, and I look forward to the next.


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