3 Things About This Book
| Joan of Arc Meets Magic and the Supernatural | Nonstop Action from the Start to the End | BAMF Heroine |
It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy YA novel that doesn’t star some conventionally pretty main character who’s more morally white than grey, so, hello breath of fresh air that is Vespertine!
The story centres around Artemisia, a young woman with a troubled past who’s training to be a Gray Sister (a nun who cleanses the bodies of the dead so that their souls can pass on and not rise as spirits that hunger for the living). She’s socially awkward, very introverted and 100% not looking forward to a life other than the predictable one of a Gray Sister. Unfortunately for her, she’s our main character so the Lady has other plans in store. Artemisia’s convent gets attacked and she awakens the revenant bound to a high relic. Thus, beginning her journey where she and the revenant must work together to save the kingdom of Loraille—all while unravelling the mystery and truths between the saints, magic and the spirits.
We move from one event to another rather quickly as the action never stops in Vespertine and that makes the book un-put-down-able. To complement this, there is no romance and instead, we’re given this delightful focus on Artemisia’s growth. I wholeheartedly adore this focus as we get to witness her coming out of her shell and leaving her comfort zone, navigating people and relationships, realizing things and just…growing in general.
Other than that, I enjoyed the dynamics between Artemisia and the revenant. The way they conversed and worked with each other was at times, entertaining and at others, heart-wrenching as one of them is a recluse who didn’t know how to connect and communicate, and the other, a snarky tsundere. However, I must admit that I was initially thrown off by how the revenant speaks. For a pretty ancient being that’s been locked up for quite a while and hasn’t actually conversed with others, he talks rather ‘modern’ (in Artemisia’s time).
I also greatly enjoyed how there’s actual communication between the characters. It’s not just talking, but proper attempts to really understand the other, especially after misunderstandings happen. This particular aspect shines in Vespertine and I love it.
The worldbuilding for this book provides a nice foundation for us to understand the simple yet well-thought-out magic system. Of course, there’s room for improvement and expansion, but since this is only the first book of the series, I’m excited to see how the world and the magic system expand in the sequel. I’m also excited to see where the story goes and how the relationship between Leander and Artemisia further develops since we’ve got this oddly anticlimactic but hopeful ending that foreshadows their potential reunion.
All in all, Vespertine is the kind of YA novel that I’m always looking forward to reading. A BAMF heroine who isn’t immediately powerful in her own right but becomes a bigger BAMF as the story progresses, no romance, and the multilayered theme of humans VS monsters all in one book? 10/10 my heart is sold.
Thank you so much Pansing for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review! Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson is available at all good bookstores.