Reviews

Vespertine, by Margaret Rogerson

abbydavidson's review

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adventurous dark emotional funny hopeful mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

books_of_gaia's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5
J'ai trouvé que ce tome était un peu en dessous de Sorcery, mais je pense que comme j'étais habituée au style de l'autrice, l'effet "wahou" était un peu diminué.
J'ai beaucoup beaucoup aimé Artemisia, sa relation avec le revenant que je trouve très belle (même si j'aurais préféré que celui-ci soit un peu plus gris et ambigu). Je suis contente que le MC soit neuroatypique, j'ai trouvé cela intéressant, et j'espère vraiment que la représentation est adaptée.

Le méchant m'a moins convaincu, j'ai trouvé ses motivations faiblardes et la fin très précipitée, même si les dernières lignes ont clairement éveillé ma curiosité et me donne envie de continuer.

Je pense que je lirais la suite car c'était un bon moment de lecture, certains dialogues sont très drôles, mais l'histoire m'a pas marquée comme extraordinaire.

shelfofellys's review against another edition

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5.0

Full Body Chills

Quite simply a stellar book. The Joan of Arc meets Venom logline isn't fooling around. An absolutely thrilling adventure with unforgettable leads: the Revenant and Artemisia. The ideas and burdens explored are hefty ones, but Rogerson delivers one heck of a story. This is one I will be rereading. Could easily work as a standalone but I will inhale the sequel. The lack of typical romance/sexy feelings is a huge PRO for the story. The emotional bonds and relationships and lingering somethings are much more powerful as a result

theawkwardbookw's review against another edition

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3.0

Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCferU-BCL2dlFjWdD0rS75Q

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

3.5/5 Stars

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the dead before sending the souls to the afterlife. If this does not occur, the souls can rise as spirits, who feast on the living. After being possessed as a young child, Artemisia prefers living her life quietly and by herself. One evening, her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia must make a deal with a revenant, an ancient spirit chained to a Saint's relic in order to save her people. The only way to purge this revenant is to seek help from a Vespertine, but all knowledge of these people was lost many years ago. Artemisia must turn to the revenant itself if she has an hope of protecting the only place she's felt at home.

I read Sorcery of Thornes, and really enjoyed that one, so I was pretty excited to pick up another of Margaret Rogerson's books. Although I didn't like it as much, I still think Vespertine is a solid read. This was definitely more of a slow-burn fantasy, but it was still a lot of fun to read. I really liked Artemisia as a main character, learning more about her difficult childhood and why she chooses to live in solidarity was interesting. The exploration of her trauma was really well done, and I think Rogerson did a wonderful job with her development as a character. I loved watching her grow into herself as the story progressed and having her realize that she is worthy of friendship and happiness. The banter between Artemisia and the revenant was my favourite part of this book, it was so funny and entertaining, which I didn't expect from a spirit centuries of years old. He was so snarky and sassy, everything I live for in a character. I love how much these two grow to care for one another as they share Artemisia's body. I also really liked how there was no romance in this! I think if there had been it would have taken away from the overall vibe of this book. My biggest complaint would have to be the magic system and all the layers. I became very confused, but that could also just be my little tiny brain not being able to keep everything in line.

Overall, a solid read, and I can't wait to pick up Margaret Rogerson's next book.

samturnspages's review against another edition

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4.0

When I tell you I SQUEALED when I was approved for Vespertine. Thank you Simon and Schuster & NetGalley for this wonderful ARC. How do I express how brilliant this was?! I'm not even sure. This is my first Margaret Rogerson book and I'm so glad I requested it.

Artemisia is in training to become a Gray Sister; a nun who cleanses bodies of the deceased to ensure their souls pass on and their spirits do not linger to corrupt the living. Once possessed as a child, she's more at home with the dead than the living; the dead don't whisper about her behind her back.

Things I liked
-Evil-Spirit fighting NUNS?! Can I get an AMEN?!
-The Medieval France vibes are strong in this.
-The rich history of the world that feels effortlessly built around us. We've got history of saints, spirits, the cities and it all feels so natural. No info dumps - beautiful!
-The spirits and their categories/levels. Also, special shout out to the sassy Revenant who was my favourite character throughout..
-Morally grey main characters give me LIFE
-The pacing throughout was just so on point. I consumed this in 24 hours.

Things that could have been better:
-Side character development was a little lacking in parts.
-The ending left me wanting. It wasn't bad, but I didn't feel quite as satisfied as I thought I would. However, it's open ended enough for me to need more and I cannot wait for the 2nd instalment

Read if you like:
-Found family
-Spooky vibes - makes for a great October read in my opinion!
-Morally grey MC
- TV shows like Warrior Nun, Fate: Winx Saga, & Cursed.
-Magic/Sorcery
-LGBTQIA+ - Subtle ace representation; Rogerson has confirmed this is explored further in the sequel.

Would I reread? Yes! 4/5 for me; interested to see where this takes us in the 2nd instalment.

bookishbowen's review against another edition

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adventurous dark funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.25

julotengel's review

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5.0

Whooo first book of 2022.

I really liked this book. I loved sorcery of thorns so I was excited to start this one. The beginning was a bit weird and I was confused because I didn’t understand all the nun concepts. But I really loved the banter between artemisia and the revenant. I liked how Marguerite turned out to be not a stupid girl but just with different manners. I loved the magic system, I never read something like that before. although I’m not a really big fan of religious magic systems, this was kinda cool. Also never read a book before where the main character was a nun.

Overall I really loved this book and I’m excited to read the next one when it comes out.

allisonsmith120's review

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0

inkandplasma's review

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5.0

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.

Content Warnings: Self-harm, anxiety, disordered eating (minor), child neglect/abuse (past), trauma/PTSD (traumatic experiences in past). None of the abuse or trauma is sexual in nature. Very brief suicide mention in the epilogue, concerning a character from the past who never appears in the book.

This review has taken me way longer to write than I would have liked, mostly because when I think about this book for too long I go completely feral and forget how to write coherent sentences. I’m going to start by saying that I am a Venom simp. I’ve read pretty much all the Venom comics I can get my hands on, and the 2018 movie is my favourite movie ever (I also loved Let there be Carnage, but maybe that’s a review for another day). So I was already predisposed to love this book when I saw Margaret Rogerson describe it as medieval Venom. Add to that a powerful demon and an undercurrent of religious trauma and I was in heaven.

Artemisia is going on the list of characters that I’m delighted to share a name with. She’s a Grey Sister doing her best to keep her head down as she works alongside nuns at a convent, trying not to draw attention to herself after being possessed as a child and living with the trauma of the things she had to do while under that revenant’s control. But when her convent is invaded by an army of possessed soldiers, she has no choice but to use a powerful saint’s relic and open her body and mind to a reverent far stronger than she has ever met before. Her journey turns her into a Joan of Arc figure, a Vespertine, and while some are trying to stop her from ever coming into her full power, others are shouting and screaming her name as she becomes their hero (I’m on the Saint Artemisia team).

The way that the possession was written was excellently done. There’s always a risk of this kind of thing coming off… icky with the consent dynamics inherent in possession, but I think Margaret Rogerson handled this fantastically. The way that Artemisia’s trauma around possession is handled is delicate and sensitive, and as Artemisia and the revenant grow closer and build rapport, it definitely doesn’t feel like there’s a power imbalance – which is helped by the fact that Artemisia is in control of the revenant’s relic and has the power to destroy him if she so chooses. Speaking of rapport… the relationship between Artemisia and the revenant is perfect. It gives perfect banter and I was absolutely melting as I watched them slowly learn to trust and protect each other. Artemisia is a compassionate and caring character and when I watched that start to rub off on the revenant, it made my heart warm.

I also really enjoyed the way that Margaret Rogerson explored the ideas of legends and saints and the way that she became a Vespertine and passed into legend in the blink of an eye.

Perhaps this was how history treated saints. It didn’t matter what was real, what had truly happened. Even as they lived, their lives passed into legend.

The weight of those kinds of expectations is heavy on Artemisia’s shoulders and watching her struggle to balance the needs of the people, the revenant and herself is incredibly powerful. I think I was just blown away by how much Artemisia felt like a real, whole person and leapt off the page.

The world-building had all of Margaret Rogerson’s usual talent and twists, and I loved the way that the spirits were portrayed. The way that a person dies impacts the type of spirit they become and the power that they will then display and it’s a clever way to create a spirit power hierarchy. I also felt like the myths and legends Artemisia knew were somehow familiar, the way they were fleshed out and threaded through the story made them feel like my own childhood stories and the world felt very full and real as a result. This, combined with Margaret Rogerson’s usual easy to read and beautiful prose, made for a book that I just know I’ll be coming back to again and again.

redcerise's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0