Book Review: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Reviewed: November 6th, 2022
Released: October 5th, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, tasked with cleansing the bodies of the dead so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a hunger for the living.

When her convent is attacked, Artemisia defends it by awakening a revenant. Wielding this ancient spirit’s extraordinary power almost consumes her – but only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a revenant, has any chance of saving Loraille.

As Artemisia 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 may require her to betray everything she’s been taught to believe – if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

Helen’s thoughts: 5/5

Vespertine was one of my Christmas presents last year from my daughter, when I went to visit her in Vancouver. I finally sat down and read it!

I have the hardcover, and I must admit I prefer this cover to the ebook cover.

A very easy to read novel, meant for a YA audience, but readers of all ages will enjoy it. The world and the magic system is very well developed and easily understood. There’s even a glossary at the end to help you keep all the sprit types in order!

Artemisia is a nun, a Gray Sister. one who is more comfortable caring for the dead than the living. Since she was possesed by an evil spirit as a child, she has been treated as an outsider, someone to be wary of. But her affinity with spirits is not over and when she awakens a slumbering revenant to help protect her sister nuns, she is possessed once again.

After deliberately trying to fail a test for affinity to spirits, the priest confessor has Artemisia in his sights, determined to bring her under his and the Arch Divine’s control. Being possessed yet again by a spirit gives the priest the perfect opportunity to drag Artemisia out of her convent. And so begins a journey of discovery about herself and the spirit world. Not all is as it seems, and Artemisia bargains with the revenant to help her.

You get sucked in to this wonderful world, where everyone has their place, and the blessed have the sight which enables them to control a relic. Relics contain spirits, of which there are many types. But Artemisia is a strong willed young woman honed by a life of depravation and pain. She is not some weak willed nun any old revenant can control, not even one of the seven.

Vespertine is a delightful book full of wonderful characters, shadowy undercurrents, snarky repartee and witty obsevations. This one made me laugh; it was so apt!

“I wished I could consult the revenant, but at the moment it was queasily sloshing around my head like a stunned fish in a bucket, occasionally rolling belly upward. I didn’t think it would have anything useful to say for a while.”

A thoroughly enjoyable read with the door left open wide enough for a sequel.

Purchase Vespertine via Amazon

Link to book on Amazon UK: Paperback

Link to book on Amazon US: Paperback

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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my Romantic Fantasy SoulMist series or the epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.

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