Hey everyone! I’m very excited to share my review and favorite quotes for Vespertine and participate in the blog tour with Turn the Page Tours! This was such a spooky book and the cover is absolutely gorgeous, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read and review it! Be sure to check out the tour schedule and stick around to the end of my review to find out more information about how to win a copy of Vespertine!
Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and Simon Teen for sending me a copy via NetGalley for review! This is a spoiler free, honest review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
The dead of Loraille do not rest.
Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.
When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.
As she 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 might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.
First off, this cover is so pretty! After having read the book, I love all the little details hidden in there that not only show how creepy and magical this book is, but give a nod to all the moving parts of this story. I love it when covers have hidden clues or scenes from the book hiding in plain sight – it’s so fun to realize what they mean later on.
Jumping in, I love the premise of this book. We have a world where spirits turn into demonic beings (basically) and depending on how you died, your soul will morph into a different being if not passed on to the afterlife. To fight these demons, we have convents and monasteries that train nuns to make sure souls get to the afterlife and fight the ones that remain behind. As our main character, Artemisia, experienced as a child, a person with the Sight can be possessed by these beings and exorcism is the only way to save oneself. One day, an army of possessed soldiers arrived at their convent and forced to fight, Artemisia is given a relic of a dangerous demon to help her and her home, and is now living inside her.
But it was right. Perhaps I hadn’t realized the worst part after all. Back when I’d made the offer, I hadn’t known the revenant would talk so much.
This book was such an excellent mix of intense, gory, and funny. There is a lot of ghoul slaying and fantasy moments that it can feel overwhelming, but the humor, especially from the revenant, breaks through that intensity and helps reset the mood. I loved the premise of this book and Artemisia in general. She’s a very misunderstood person in her world, but though she appears cold, she’s very selfless and brave. Not only agreeing to team up with the revenant to save her world from someone using Old Magic and the beings that obey it, but also being prepared to sacrifice herself if needed to save everyone.
The revenant might not behave the way I had expected, but it had slaughtered thousands of people. Tens of thousands, the populations of entire cities. It would do all of that over again in a heartbeat if it gained control of my body.
Another thing I really like about this book are the different classes of beings and how they come to be. If a soul isn’t cleansed and sent to the afterlife, it can turn into these new beings and wreak havoc among the living. Especially those who possess the Sight and can see them. And their different powers and how they’re expressed are so cool! And also terrifying.
With the revenant’s power, I could save everyone. Bit if I lost control, I might burn the world to ashes.
Honestly, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about the book, but I did find the beginning a little confusing. We jump into the story pretty quickly, which is great with all the action in this book, but can feel like we don’t have a lot of background knowledge starting off. Though, I do love that there’s never a dull moment in this story.
“You do realize there’s nothing mystical about ravens, don’t you? They don’t gather around convents because they’re divine messengers of your goddess. They come because that’s where humans bring the corpses.”
“That’s fine. If he’s leading us to corpses, that’s where I want to go.”
“You must be popular at the nun parties. Do you have any friends? Just out of curiosity.
But seriously, the revenant is my favorite character. I’m not sure how a demonic being can be so sassy and quick witted, but he has so many one liners that I was chuckling every few pages. His dialogue cuts through the action and intensity of this book so well and lightens things up a little bit. Plus, it makes him feel more human (especially since he once was a human at one point) instead of just this demon co-possessing and inhabiting Artemisia (which he also is).
“All you do is call us names and rant about murdering nuns.”
“Yes, that’s all I do, isn’t It?” the revenant hissed. And then it vanished from my mind with a kind of angry flourish, like it had stalked out of a room and slammed the door behind it.
Like oh my gosh – so sassy!
“Do you know the least thing about Old Magic? It’s a notoriously fickle art. If it has one rule, it’s that it always – ”
“Twists back on its users,” I interrupted, surprised to find the answer on the tip of my tongue. “Like it did to the Raven King.”
Honestly. I loved this book and once I got passed the beginning and into the plot, I couldn’t put this book down. I will warn you though, if you’re someone who can’t handle scary or gory stuff late at night, do not read this book past sundown. There is some graphic imagery of the ghouls and the magic of this world that I wish I could unsee. So if you’re squeamish, you’ve been warned! Otherwise, feel free to use this book to scare yourself silly!
“Sometimes, if you want to save other people, you need to remember to save yourself first.”
Overall, I can say this was a favorite and I was hyping the book up to my friends while reading it. Plus I had to share all the sassy quotes! There were more that I saved, but I had so many already, I had to cute a few. So if you’re looking for a great spooky read this spooky season, definitely pick up Vespertine and enjoy my favorite spooky, sassy book this Halloween season!
Margaret Rogerson is the author of the New York Times best sellers An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses. Visit her at MargaretRogerson.com.
Up for grabs on the book blog tour is two (2) copies of VESPERTINE by Margaret Rogerson, one a physical finished copy and one a digital copy. Open USA only.
Giveaway starts: Monday, September 27, 2021
Giveaway ends: Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. CDT
You can enter through Rafflecopter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d53/?