Review: Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the CrownZen Cho, Sorcerer to the Crown

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large… (Summary from Amazon.com.)

This book ticks so many of my boxes — Regency England! Magic! Georgette Heyer comparisons! — that I knew it would be right up my alley. And my high expectations were completely justified: this is definitely one of my favorite books of the year! Zacharias is an immediately sympathetic character, his African descent automatically making him an outsider despite his theoretical position of authority. The other protagonist, Prunella, is equally appealing. She is headstrong and warmhearted, while Zacharias can be cold and reserved, so they make an excellent team. My gold standard for historical fantasy novels is Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, and Sorcerer to the Crown is very much in that tradition. I must say that the marketing for this book is terrible; the cover design implies a very different sort of novel, and the quote comparing it to “a cross between Georgette Heyer and Susanna Clarke” is completely inaccurate. It’s much more Heyer than Clarke, so if you’re expecting something similar to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, you’ll be disappointed. But I loved the book and am thrilled that there will be at least one sequel!

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6 thoughts on “Review: Sorcerer to the Crown

  1. aartichapati says:

    I agree completely about the cover not being at all indicative of the story inside. This book deserves a much lighter and more fun image than it has been given (which looks more like Game of Thrones). It’s such a fun book! I am glad you enjoyed it, too 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Yes, you definitely need to read Heyer! 🙂 All her Regency romances are great, but let me know if you want recs! And Sorcerer to the Crown is just a ton of fun as well.

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