Sunday, November 7, 2021

Review: VESPERTINE by Margaret Rogerson


Rating: 3.25/5 stars

For some reason, I find the idea of fantasy books featuring nuns to be really appealing. Yet, somehow, I haven’t read one yet that really jives with me. 

Vespertine follows Artemisia at the convent in Loraille where she is training to become a grey sister, which is a nun that handles the souls of dead bodies. If not properly cared for, their spirits will come back and wreak havoc on the living. One day a group of possessed soldiers attacks the convent, and Artemisia must venture into the crypts to find an ancient artifact, and she accidentally awakens the spirit bound to it. The spirit is a revenant, and it tries to possess her, but Artemisia makes a deal with it instead. And thus we have an adventure story with a nun and an ancient dead spirit who may be eviler than he lets on. 

I thought the concept of this book was really interesting, and the plot was executed well, in my opinion. I liked Artemisia as our protagonist, and I liked the revenant as her weird sort of sidekick. However, something about it just wasn’t working for me. I felt weirdly detached from all the characters, but I still enjoyed the overall story. 

I had an issue with Margaret Rogerson’s other book, Sorcery of Thorns, too. I thought that one would be a five-star read, like I thought with Vespertine, but it let me down, and I cannot pinpoint why. 

I listened to the audiobook of Vespertine, and I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the story as much if I had read it with my eyes. There was just something about it that suited better to the audio experience for me. 

I plan to read the sequel to Vespertine when it releases because the way this book ended makes it clear there will be a sequel. The problem is I likely won’t remember anything about this book. I’m writing this review four days after I finished the novel and already it’s a blur to me and I’m struggling to remember the plot. It’s not a good sign when a book is forgettable so soon after finishing it. 

Overall I feel very conflicted about Vespertine. I think it was well done, and the story of a nun bonding with an evil spirit is a cool concept, but something about it, maybe her writing style, prevented me from enjoying it as much as I wanted to. 

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