Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a thrilling new YA fantasy about a teen girl with mythic abilities who must defend her world against restless spirits of the dead.

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.

Review:

Thank you so much to Simon and Schuster UK and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book. 

I had to sadly mark this book as DNF at 40%. 

I am afraid this was not for me and it was absolutely nothing I had expected. I devoured An Enchantment of Ravens (I actually called in sick from work to finish that book), and loved Sorcery of Thorns, so I was quite confident I would love Rogerson’s new novel. It didn’t happen and it breaks my heart. This story is absolutely different from Rogerson’s previous works. It was too much about saints, religions, demon possessions and relics for my taste. 

I am not sure how close this e-arc will be to the final version and perhaps will give it another go when the paperback is available. However, I couldn’t really get into the story. I found the world-building difficult to remember. Every now and then, you get the description of a different spirit or revenant and when it appears again later in the story I couldn’t remember its origins. With an e-arc it’s difficult to go back and review the story on a specific point, so I felt lost most of the time. 

The main character Artemisia is supposed to be aro/ace, a socially awkward character but didn’t really feel like one, she lacks strong personality traits. I think the best part of the book was the banter between Artemisia and the Revenant.

The rest of the plot was quite slow, I thought nothing was actually happening and I didn’t feel invested with the character, or the story or the magic system. However, I can’t help but appreciate how Rogerson was able to reinvent herself with this story. As I said, it’s very different from her previous work, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It was simply not my kind of story.