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Vespertine

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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 b 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.


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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 b 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.

30 review for Vespertine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Rogerson

    Update: I think digital ARCs have begun circulating, and wanted to mention that I'm doing further edits that will appear in the final version but not the ARC. Those of you who have advance copies will notice a lot of word repetition and, in general, prose that reads suspiciously as though it was written by a depressed AI struggling to imitate human behavior, which was my default state during Covid isolation, when I wrote the majority of this book. I'm currently working on that. Thank you for bea Update: I think digital ARCs have begun circulating, and wanted to mention that I'm doing further edits that will appear in the final version but not the ARC. Those of you who have advance copies will notice a lot of word repetition and, in general, prose that reads suspiciously as though it was written by a depressed AI struggling to imitate human behavior, which was my default state during Covid isolation, when I wrote the majority of this book. I'm currently working on that. Thank you for bearing with me! Hi all, this is the book I like to describe as medieval Venom starring a nun and a ghost. It’s about a girl training to be a nun who awakens an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic, and becomes a Joan of Arc type figure as she wields its power to battle the undead. I can’t wait for you to meet Artemisia and the revenant—I hope you love them as much as I do! You can see the cover reveal and read an excerpt here at io9/gizmodo. The cover artwork is by Charlie Bowater! Trigger 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. If you have a question, please reach out to me via the email address on my website’s contact page, since I’m not active here on Goodreads!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC Provided by Simon & Schuster - thank you! ➽ An Enchantment of Ravens ➽ Sorcery of Thorns "If I could read humans’ minds, I wouldn’t have ended up trapped inside a little girl’s finger bone." I have enjoyed everything that Margaret Rogerson has written thus far, but I do think Vespertine may possibly be my favorite of them all. Artemisia is a Grey Sister, working alongside nuns at the convent, preparing dead bodies for their final rest. Before the convent, and when she wa ARC Provided by Simon & Schuster - thank you! ➽ An Enchantment of Ravens ➽ Sorcery of Thorns "If I could read humans’ minds, I wouldn’t have ended up trapped inside a little girl’s finger bone." I have enjoyed everything that Margaret Rogerson has written thus far, but I do think Vespertine may possibly be my favorite of them all. Artemisia is a Grey Sister, working alongside nuns at the convent, preparing dead bodies for their final rest. Before the convent, and when she was only a child, she was forced to use the most extreme measures to purge a revenant who was possessing her, and now has disabled hands. But because of her past, she likes to keep to herself and live a quiet life with very few friends. But when an army of possessed soldiers come to destroy the only place that has ever made her feel like home, she is forced to use a saint's relic that allows a very powerful revenant to share a body with her once again, while also protecting the monastery. But Artemisia quickly realizes these soldiers are not the only ones being possessed by so many different spirits of different powers, and the only hope for this world could be her and the spirit that is currently inhabiting her own body. Word quickly sweeps across all the lands of a Vespertine who has the power to cleanse and save them all, but there are many who will stop at nothing to ensure she does not come into her full power with her revenant who remembers the past these people are trying to hide very well. But Artemisia must learn if she can even trust this spirit, especially because she has his relic which she must protect because if it is destroyed, the revenant will be destroyed with it. "On this day, we honor her by denouncing the Raven King, bringer of the Sorrow, ruin of the Age of Kings. May his face remain forgotten. May history scorn his name." I know the premise of possession can be a little questionable, but Artemisia and her revenant (and their banter) was truly my favorite part of their book. And their friendship, and their trust in one another, while also learning boundaries, was really enjoyable to read. Also, her having that relic and power over the revenant was very important for me, as a reader! And I think the author does a really beautiful job also always remembering and discussing Artemisia’s trauma from her past, while allowing her room to grow but to also decided for herself how she wants to heal and grow, regardless of how linearly the healing is throughout the story and throughout Artemisia’s life. Artemisia is also very inspired from Joan of Arc, who was also believed to be a saint under divine guidance from a higher power to save her people, even though she was “just” a young and poor girl. Since this is the first book of this duology, I do hope Artemisia does not meet the same end, but the parallels were very subtle and loud at the same time, but always very beautiful. "I wondered if I should pray. But the stars were gone, the Lady’s gaze obscured. I had no sign save the hundreds of voices chanting my name outside." I also really loved this whole entire world and magic system. The different castes and hierarchy of spirits and discovering all their different levels and powers was so absolutely fascinating. Even how the cause of death would impact what kind of spirit manifested! I also loved every stop Artemisia and her revenant would make on this journey, and all the new things about these spirits we, as the reader, would learn alongside Artemisia. If you’ve read the author’s previous works, you know that they just really excel at world building and crafting the most beautiful settings, and Vespertine was no different. And I was happily exploring cities and inns, and cathedrals and crypts, with Artemisia. Overall, I just really loved this and it was a true joy to pick up each time. The side characters were also very amazing, and each friendship that Artemisia chose to start really was beautiful. And I loved seeing Artemisia realize that she is deserving of safety and happiness, regardless of what happened to her in the past. And also seeing her realize that the family you choose will always be more important than the family you were born into. I really recommend this one for so many reasons, but I also think most of you know I just have a really big soft spot for magical fighting nuns always, too. Happy reading! Content and Trigger Warnings: abandonment, child neglect + abuse in past, possession (the mc uses self-harm in the past + threats of suicide to get spirits to leave her body - both very brief mentions), brief mention of animal abuse, mention of animal deaths, blood depictions, vomiting, drugging, anxiety depictions, talk of plagues, loss of a loved one in the past, mention of spiders, talk of suicide, death, and please note this is a book about sharing a body with an ancient spirit, so i can see that making some people uncomfortable, please use caution! Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch Buddy read with Maëlys & Evie! ❤

  3. 4 out of 5

    ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    Me to this book: "She was beautiful, graceful, unique, and just different from the rest. Basically, she wasn't like other girlies, and I was here for it." Probably the most ✨unique✨ fantasy I've read this year; Ms. Margaret Rogerson does not disappoint!! While it is a little slower and much more dialogue heavy than her other books, I still found plenty of things to enjoy about it and loved the relationship between ahem, *Artemisia* and the Revenant. They both plucky little shits and one of them kn Me to this book: "She was beautiful, graceful, unique, and just different from the rest. Basically, she wasn't like other girlies, and I was here for it." Probably the most ✨unique✨ fantasy I've read this year; Ms. Margaret Rogerson does not disappoint!! While it is a little slower and much more dialogue heavy than her other books, I still found plenty of things to enjoy about it and loved the relationship between ahem, *Artemisia* and the Revenant. They both plucky little shits and one of them knows it lmao (iykyk). However, Sorcery of Thorns still comes out on top! Probably will have to reread this before the sequel comes out though. 4 STARS Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |

  4. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    i was really looking forward to this one. MRs ‘a sorcery of thorns’ blew me away, so i was excited to see what her next book would bring. unfortunately, this wasnt quite was i was hoping for. the best way to sum up my thoughts is i just wasnt feeling it overall. perhaps because the storytelling doesnt really feel like MR to me. the world-building is a bit too big for itself and the writing is repetitious and almost aimless at times. meaning, theres action but i was often questioning what the poin i was really looking forward to this one. MRs ‘a sorcery of thorns’ blew me away, so i was excited to see what her next book would bring. unfortunately, this wasnt quite was i was hoping for. the best way to sum up my thoughts is i just wasnt feeling it overall. perhaps because the storytelling doesnt really feel like MR to me. the world-building is a bit too big for itself and the writing is repetitious and almost aimless at times. meaning, theres action but i was often questioning what the point of that action was, which lead me to feel disconnected from the story/content. it picks up towards the end, but by then i had realised that the whole religious nun/demon possession/relics thing just isnt my cup of tea. but the story is very joan of arc meets ‘wicked saints,’ so i have no doubt most readers will really enjoy the unique world and magic. i also think its worth mentioning that there is no romance, which is very uncommon for YA fantasy but it totally makes sense regarding the plot. theres a lot going on in the MCs life, so including a love interest would be too much. so readers who prefer their fantasy stories to not include romance will enjoy this rarity. all in all, im sad this didnt work for me personally, but theres a lot of material here that i think will please the vast majority of readers. thanks simon and schuster publishing for the ARC! ↠ 2.5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Simon & Schuster Canada). All thoughts and opinions are my own. ✅ Characters ✅ Magic and spirits ✅ Pace ✅ Plot ✅ World-building ✅🆗 Action 🆗 Ending ❗️❗️ Contrary to Margaret Rogerson's previous books, there is no romance in Vespertine In the realm of Loraille, boys and girls with the sight (that allows them to see spirits) are taken in by the Clerisy and raised in different groups. The boys are sent in monasteries to become soldiers or monks, and I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Simon & Schuster Canada). All thoughts and opinions are my own. ✅ Characters ✅ Magic and spirits ✅ Pace ✅ Plot ✅ World-building ✅🆗 Action 🆗 Ending ❗️❗️ Contrary to Margaret Rogerson's previous books, there is no romance in Vespertine In the realm of Loraille, boys and girls with the sight (that allows them to see spirits) are taken in by the Clerisy and raised in different groups. The boys are sent in monasteries to become soldiers or monks, and the girls are trained to take care of deads or become a priestess. 17 years old Artemisia has been a member of the Grey Sisters' convent of Naimes since she was a child. The Grey Sisters are dedicated to purifying and preparing the bodies of the dead. If a deceased is left unattended, its spirit will rise, and depending on the type of death the person had, the spirit can be dangerous and malevolent. Spirits can also be bound into relics (bone of a saint, jewel, etc.) that allow their owner to use the spirit's power, but the owner also risks possession if he is not strong enough to control the spirit bound into the relic. Here is a recap of the hierarchy of spirits. It can be found at the end of the book. - First Order – Order of the innocents, this is what happens to a soul if the dead body is not properly treated and prepared by the Gray Sisters. - Second Order - Souls lost to the forces of nature such as famine, fire, or drowning - Third Order - Souls lost to illness and disease: fever, blight, flux, pestilence, etc. - Fourth Order - Souls lost to violence: death by battle, murder, execution, or slain cleric - Fifth Order is composed of the Seven Revenants, harbingers of death. Artemisia is a solitary and socially awkward teenager, she was possessed by a malevolent spirit when she was a child, and still bears the physical and mental scars of it. She is happy to stay alone and care for the dead until she is forced to use a powerful relic to protect her convent, and the Fifth Order Revenant contained in the relic enters her body. From that moment, Artemisia is on the run. Fleeing from the confesser Leander who wants to catch her probably to exorcise her, she also has to fight possessed soldiers, while trying to figure out who is using Old Magic to control these spirits, and what their evil plan is. I don't want to reveal too much information about the plot, but there is action and magic. Humans and spirits are fighting together, and against each other, and even though it is a 400 pages book, it was a fast read. The pace is good, and it just sucks you into the story from the start. There are some unexpected turns of events, and I wasn't sure where this story would lead until the last part. One downside of this book though is the weirdly anticlimactic ending. There is a great buildup to a final big confrontation between powerful revenants and spirits, but then it just ends and we are at the epilogue... I was hoping for something grander, but it is still a very enjoyable book. Artemisia is a nice main character, she made me laugh a few times with her awkward tentative at conversations and nice gestures. Her snarky interactions with her spirit were also funny, and I like the evolution that we saw in Artemisia's character, but also in her relationship with her Revenant and her interactions with her allies. She went from being a recluse that couldn't talk to anyone, to having kind-of friends, and realizing that having people around her actually felt nice. Also take note that there is no romance at all in this book, which is not a bad thing because let's be honest, Artemisia is very socially anxious (and awkward), and she has too many things on her plate right now to focus on romantic feelings. She would probably feel nauseous just at the thought of it. The world-building is simple enough, yet intriguing, and I really liked the system of clerics and saints, and the use of relics to control and combat spirits. Some parts of the hierarchy or the Clerisy were not completely clear at first, but it didn't prevent me from understanding and enjoying the story, and everything becomes clearer as the book progresses, giving us a better grasp on what's happening to Artemisia, and what she's up against.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mika Auguste

    I HAD TO RUB MY EYES TO MAKE SURE I WAS SEEING THIS CORRECTLY...everyone say thank you margaret rogerson for the best news of 2021

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Gong

    the revenant<3

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    4.5 Stars Beautiful cover! Great story! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 4.5 Stars Beautiful cover! Great story! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    This is a fun start to a new fantasy series about a young introverted nun who gets pushed out of her comfort zone and must take down an unknown force. Since the age of ten, Artemisia has been a Gray Sister, tending to dead bodies lest they become corrupted and a danger to the living. Artemisia understands the dead, the living, not so much. When it’s time for her class of nuns to be tested to determine their futures, Artemisia plans to fail in order to remain at the convent and continue looking a This is a fun start to a new fantasy series about a young introverted nun who gets pushed out of her comfort zone and must take down an unknown force. Since the age of ten, Artemisia has been a Gray Sister, tending to dead bodies lest they become corrupted and a danger to the living. Artemisia understands the dead, the living, not so much. When it’s time for her class of nuns to be tested to determine their futures, Artemisia plans to fail in order to remain at the convent and continue looking after the dead and avoid human interaction. However, when the convent suddenly comes under attack, Artemisia becomes half-possessed by an ancient revenant and has to contend with sharing her headspace with the snarky spirit. Together, they must unravel a mystery involving saints, nuns, Old Magic, and deception. I’ve read and loved Margaret Rogerson’s past novels, so I thought this would be no different. While I enjoyed this, I didn’t love it as much as the previous two standalone books; it was still a solid read. There’s the right amount of atmospheric writing with a couple of heart-pounding action scenes. I took off 1.5 stars because the narration was a tad slow and aimless at times (I read somewhere that the author started another round of editing after e-galleys became available, so the final copy might be less rambling). Overall, I felt that the author introduced the world in easily digestible amounts. The revenant and Artemisia are the dynamic duo I didn’t know I needed. Their endless banter had me chuckling more than a few times. I am excited for the sequel. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books for the arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    ☀︎El In Oz☀︎

    THE COVER IS SO PRETTY GUYS GUYS NEW MARGARET ROGERSON AND THE SYNOPSIS OMG I NEED Read the 80 or so page snippet from Simon teen and not liking it at all….🧍‍♀️

  11. 5 out of 5

    Layla

    dnf at 26% This book is great, and the cover is phenomenal, but I can't fantasy right now. I don't have any braincells left to spare to keep up with the worldbuilding and plot. But I do want to get back to it as soon as I am back in a fantasy mood. dnf at 26% This book is great, and the cover is phenomenal, but I can't fantasy right now. I don't have any braincells left to spare to keep up with the worldbuilding and plot. But I do want to get back to it as soon as I am back in a fantasy mood.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    Me: I don't judge a book by its cover. Also me: ASKJFKLDSJF TAKE MY MONEY. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THIS IS ABOUT BUT I NEED IT Me: I don't judge a book by its cover. Also me: ASKJFKLDSJF TAKE MY MONEY. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THIS IS ABOUT BUT I NEED IT

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    YYYYESSSSSSSS! This sounds SOGOOD! I loved Sorcery of Thorns, so I am so extremely ECSTATIC to see another book of hers ( and it's coming out this yearrrrr!!! Yeeeeee!) YYYYESSSSSSSS! This sounds SOGOOD! I loved Sorcery of Thorns, so I am so extremely ECSTATIC to see another book of hers ( and it's coming out this yearrrrr!!! Yeeeeee!)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    the blurb makes it sound like the revenant itself is the love interest and I'm very okay with that the blurb makes it sound like the revenant itself is the love interest and I'm very okay with that

  15. 4 out of 5

    Luffy

    Vespertine is a new series, from a new-to-me author. There has been a huge stream of authors who are women and are young, hip, and smart. I think that this model will not be sustainable as few people read books, compared to moviegoers, or sports fans. This writer has alas not been that inspired in her writing here. She struggles to do the basic stuff. This means e.g. tracking the passing of time. It may also mean - it does also mean - the changing of setting of the story. The concept is stellar, Vespertine is a new series, from a new-to-me author. There has been a huge stream of authors who are women and are young, hip, and smart. I think that this model will not be sustainable as few people read books, compared to moviegoers, or sports fans. This writer has alas not been that inspired in her writing here. She struggles to do the basic stuff. This means e.g. tracking the passing of time. It may also mean - it does also mean - the changing of setting of the story. The concept is stellar, but the delivery leaves to be desired. Margaret Rogerson is an intelligent author. She will learn from her shortcomings. I forgot the true name of the main character, but it is she who gets to be the Vespertine, a fifth order relic holder. This means she is a saint, and people pray to her. Despite all this the writing is as wooden as The Tree of Life. Two stars is a bad rating, there is no getting past it. One of the annoying things about the book is that the author felt the need to include a love interest. Add that to the mix, and an enemies to friends to lovers (eventually) trope and the die is cast. Reading this book was a discovery, so I don't regret doing so. But it was not enjoyable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    ARC received in exchange for an honest review 💀 Artemisia is training to be a grey sister, a nun with the ability to make sure the deceased don't return from the grave. Because in Loraille, the dead dont rest. Ever since the Raven King warped the gates of death, every soul that isn't cleansed will return hungry for the living. When returned soldiers breach Artemisia's convent, she must make a deal with a powerful revenant to save her sisters and conquer a growing malevolent presence. I liked the ARC received in exchange for an honest review 💀 Artemisia is training to be a grey sister, a nun with the ability to make sure the deceased don't return from the grave. Because in Loraille, the dead dont rest. Ever since the Raven King warped the gates of death, every soul that isn't cleansed will return hungry for the living. When returned soldiers breach Artemisia's convent, she must make a deal with a powerful revenant to save her sisters and conquer a growing malevolent presence. I liked the character that Rogerson develops in Artemisia. She's had a difficult childhood, with the physical scars to prove it, and struggles to interact with her fellow nuns in training, and hates any kind of attention. She just wants to live a secluded life, one where she can hide away from everyone. However, destiny clearly has other plans as she is often thrust into the spotlight and forced into uncomfortable conversations in front of people. I really liked this aspect of her personality, and thought it was thought out and developed well. I also really enjoyed Artemisia's relationship with her revenant. It's quite often a sassy little miscreant, with a quick quip or a well placed comment to counter Artemisia's self doubts. Their friendship is developed well too, with an undercurrent of danger to it as the revenant sometimes slips in a threat or two. By extension I also liked Artemisia's small circle of (eventual) friends. They all feel well fleshed out, and near the end we see glimmers of true friendship - however I do think they are woefully underused. I also wasn't keen on the magical system, which at times feels a bit clunky and overwrought. I don't think it needed the addition of old magic on top of the concept of holy relics, possession and various types of revenants. There's a lot going on, and adding another layer on top of a concept that I didn't think was developed fully enough to start with just left the world feeling a bit messy. I could have done with more backstory on the original high order revenants and what they are, as well as the decision behind the Raven King's actions to really understand the plot better. I do enjoy Margaret Rogerson's writing, and the pacing is great. There are plenty of well thought out action scenes and there's constant new developments and movement of characters to keep the reader engaged. I do get the feeling that this isn't a standalone, given how this ended, which I find a little disappointing. I wanted just that little bit more of a definitive ending. However I'm certainly intrigued enough to continue on.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hilly ♡

    Yaaas! I was waiting for another book by Margaret Rogerson! ❤️ Well, that cover is cute and all, but it looks exactly like every other YA fantasy cover of the last years and I’m sad they didn’t stick with the same style as the other two.

  18. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    Don't mind me just screaming forever and ever over one of my favorite authors releasing another gorgeous new fantasy novel ♥ Thank you so much to the author for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review! Don't mind me just screaming forever and ever over one of my favorite authors releasing another gorgeous new fantasy novel ♥ Thank you so much to the author for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!

  19. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    RTC when I rally my braincells from that AMAZING journey that, as the author says herself, is definitely an epic "medieval Venom with nuns and ghosts" that has me desperate for the sequel(s). RTC when I rally my braincells from that AMAZING journey that, as the author says herself, is definitely an epic "medieval Venom with nuns and ghosts" that has me desperate for the sequel(s).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Smith

    Thank you to Edelweiss and Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was extremely excited for Vespertine as I enjoyed Margaret Rogerson’s two previous standalones quite a bit, and I’m pleased to report Vespertine was no different. I’ve heard it’s still undergoing edits so I gave it some slack in regards to the writing as well (because I think that’s what’s being edited, according to the author’s Tweets) Vespertine follows Artemisia, a nun in training at a conven Thank you to Edelweiss and Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was extremely excited for Vespertine as I enjoyed Margaret Rogerson’s two previous standalones quite a bit, and I’m pleased to report Vespertine was no different. I’ve heard it’s still undergoing edits so I gave it some slack in regards to the writing as well (because I think that’s what’s being edited, according to the author’s Tweets) Vespertine follows Artemisia, a nun in training at a convent, that functions as a sort of religious funeral home. Gray Sisters (the nuns) are required to purify bodies so they don’t rise as evil spirits, and Artemisia is happy to fulfill that purpose. But when the convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia is forced to use a saint’s relic and bind herself to the powerful spirit that lives inside it, using its power to defend the convent. So Artemisia becomes a figure of legend, a Vespertine, a priestess trained (or not, in her case) to wield the relic and revenant inside it. But dark magic is afoot in her land, and as the only Vespertine in ages, Artemisia must defeat it, while making sure the revenant doesn’t overpower and possess her in the process. I absolutely loved the entire vibe of this book. While I read this over the summer in sweltering South Carolina heat, an October release is such a good choice for this dark, gothic, spooky book. It will be an amazing autumn read. Think: cathedrals and tombs, choirs singing, Will-o-wisps in fields, funerary urns, incense smoke, flickering candles, spirits in the night, doomed saints, and the unbearable weight of divine purpose. Another thing of note was I absolutely loved the relationship between Artemisia and the revenant. Their banter had me chuckling with delight. However I felt it very weird that while the revenant was functionally a crucial character, and a sentient person in its own right, the revenant was ONLY referred to as “it” the whole book. Personally I would’ve preferred they/them (especially a shift from it to they, as their rapport grew) and it just felt unnatural to me. I want to make it clear, in case other fans hadn’t seen online, that Vespertine is not a romance book like Rogerson’s previous works. There’s no romance in this book. I repeat: there is no romance in this book. While I’m neutral about romance being included or not, it was surprising to me since her previous works were pretty romance-oriented. I didn’t feel as though the book lacked anything, and loved it, but I would absolutely hate for this book to come out and people rate it poorly since there’s no romance. Romance requirers, move along. Not the book for you. (But there might be romance in the sequel, I think?) And I can’t say this book had very much representation towards LGBT+ or people of color, either. I think the biggest (only?) rep might be that the main character has a sort of disability, in the form of scarred/disfigured hands (from an injury in her childhood). Would definitely like to see more representation of all forms in Rogerson’s writing in the future. EDIT IN REGARDS TO REP: Right after posting this review I saw on social media that our protagonist Artemisia is aroace spec. While I very much appreciate this, I’m aro-spec ace and even *I* didn’t pick up on anything overtly saying or even implying this aside from the fact there wasn’t a romance or that it just never came up, but there should also be more prevalent LGBT rep in the sequel with other central characters. Margaret knows that it is very subtle so that’s why it hadn’t really been pitched as OwnVoices or an LGBT book, which I suppose, fine, I guess? Apparently lines were cut that explicitly stated some of these things (in regards to side characters) Not exactly a good look as since they were cut, it seemed like there was NO lgbt rep in this entire book when it was supposed to be the opposite. Apparently none of the major characters are straight? This is more so on the editor/publisher side of things so I apologize for assuming otherwise. But I would HIGHLY HIGHLY implore the editors to PUT IT BACK. Reviews are going to come out asking where rep is (like mine, before I saw the Twitter post) and it’s going to be entirely the editor’s fault. This really doesn’t sit right with me at all. Margaret Rogerson AND LGBT+ readers deserve better. Overall it was a quick read for me and entirely enjoyable. As a standalone lover, I was disheartened to hear that this wouldn’t be a standalone, but it was still really good. I think the story was fairly self-contained and it could be read as a standalone, but I’m also interested to see where Artemisia might go next.

  21. 4 out of 5

    ~ a foray in fantasy ~

    It was a good book for the most part; I just really didn’t enjoy the religious aspect— it felt too pushy and sanctimonious.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]

    In 2019, I discovered the two existence of two different Margarets who wrote excellent romantic fantasy. One is Owen. The other, of course, is Rogerson, and though she tragically only appears to release a book every two years, they're well worth the wait. 17-year-old Artemisia has grown up in a convent worshipping the Grey Lady at Naimes, which is dedicated to purifying the bodies of the dead. Otherwise they become malevolent spirits, intent on consuming living souls, their powers tied t In 2019, I discovered the two existence of two different Margarets who wrote excellent romantic fantasy. One is Owen. The other, of course, is Rogerson, and though she tragically only appears to release a book every two years, they're well worth the wait. 17-year-old Artemisia has grown up in a convent worshipping the Grey Lady at Naimes, which is dedicated to purifying the bodies of the dead. Otherwise they become malevolent spirits, intent on consuming living souls, their powers tied to the manner of their death. A terrible Old Magic accident in the realm of Loraille centuries ago shattered the gate between Life and Death, and that's why now all unblessed dead souls will become spirits. This is where the nuns come in. They're part of the Clerisy, a system of nuns and clerics who rely on holy symbols to vanquish the spirits. You can also bind spirits to certain saints' relics - bones, teeth, jewels - to keep using their powers, though that makes you vulnerable to possession. The worst types of spirits are revenants, of which there have only ever been seven, now bound to powerful relics by the deaths of high saints. One such high relic - the bone of Saint Eugenia, which controls a deadly revenant - exists at the convent at Naimes. This isn't the most complex worldbuilding I've ever read, but Rogerson does drop you into it feet-first. I think it's great - I absolutely love the system of clerics and saints and relics and ghosts that's been set up here. There is the odd moment of info-dumping, but it improves as the book progresses and you get a better grasp on what's up. The whole concept of controlling the Dead actually reminds me a lot of Garth Nix's Sabriel, which is one of my favourite fantasy books. Now, back to Artemisia. An abusive childhood has left her scarred and friendless, yet when she's offered the chance to leave the tiny village of Naimes to get training in a big city, she refuses to take it. But the choice is snatched out of her hands. Leander, a representative of the Clerisy, arrives at the convent to test all the nuns, and his realisation that Artemisia is extremely powerful leads him to try and force her to come with him. She's only saved when he receives a message telling him that soldiers possessed by Dead spirits have been spotted nearby, and he needs to go and deal with them. Those same possessed soldiers, however, don't wait long before they break into the convent itself. Faced with no other choice, Artemisia allows the revenant into her body, wielding its immense power to cut down the soldiers. In the process, though, she's forced to interact with the revenant, and all it wants is to kill people. Or does it? This question haunts her throughout the book as Artemisia flees from Leander, whom she soon realises is working for the enemy, and tries to make her way around Loraille, working out a way to defeat whoever is forcing Dead spirits to attack people. The revenant turns out to be incredibly funny, with a dark and dry sense of humour, as well as claustrophobic and talkative. But it's also an evil construct which seeks to consume souls. To go back to Garth Nix, it's like the character of Mogget - which is something I also said about Silas, a character in A Sorcery of Thorns, so I really feel like Rogerson is a Mogget fan. Artemisia is a wonderful heroine - wounded but tough, socially anxious, loyal, intelligent. The side characters of the revenant and Artemisia's frenemy Marguerite are also great. My biggest issue with this book would be the total lack of romance. There's nothing. Nada. Zilch. Which I do get, because she's so closed off that any major kissing or anything would feel out of character, but I felt like we readers could have been thrown a couple more crumbs than we were. I also thought the ending was weirdly anticlimactic. There's a great buildup to the final confrontation with the villain, and then... nothing? It just sort of peters out, and suddenly we've skipped to the epilogue and the book is over. There is a second book in the series, so it isn't unredeemable, but stil. Right, I have a race in a couple of hours and the nervousness is eating me alive, so I shall leave it there. I just hope it doesn't take another two years for book 2 to come out...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    Ever since I saw this on NG, I was really excited to dive into Vespertine. Then I got rejected to read the ARC by both NG and Edelweiss. Sad, but true. Luckily, for me, this didn't impact my decision to jump into this beautiful book. The waiting period sucked donkey butt but I'm happy that it arrived and I could fall in love with each and every beautiful page that came my way. In this, you will meet Artemisia. Yes, that's a mouth full and if I didn't listen to the audiobook I would have completel Ever since I saw this on NG, I was really excited to dive into Vespertine. Then I got rejected to read the ARC by both NG and Edelweiss. Sad, but true. Luckily, for me, this didn't impact my decision to jump into this beautiful book. The waiting period sucked donkey butt but I'm happy that it arrived and I could fall in love with each and every beautiful page that came my way. In this, you will meet Artemisia. Yes, that's a mouth full and if I didn't listen to the audiobook I would have completely butchered her name. Eh, I honestly still did in my mind when it was being said but details. Now she is a nun and loves her solitude. She definitely screams an avid book lover to me in all the ways but she prefers the dead to the living. Sort of. Which honestly.. the peace and quiet sounds pretty nice. Can I bring my dogs? Things seem to be pretty content within her world until the day it isn't. Once the convent is under attack, she ends up getting posses and has to face many new challenges and obstacles along the way. Oh and on top of all that nonsense? She has to keep moving so she doesn't get caught. The journey of her being possessed and learning how to cope with it was pretty freaking interesting. I loved how useful the revenant could be at times but I could see how her life was in constant danger too. Then there's all the other characters that you meet and honestly I kept my suspicions up the entire time. Especially when it came to the priest! In the end, I devoured the heck out of this book. It was so much fun and gave me all the spooks, creeps, and chills that I was looking for. I'm not sure what the next book will give me but I'm excited to find out whenever it gets published. Bring it on!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Madison Mary

    *4.5 stars "Sometimes, if you want to save other people, you need to remember to save yourself first." I am actually super shocked at how much I enjoyed this book. I had been seeing SO many mixed reviews, and I understand some of them... this isn't a "typical" Margaret Rogerson novel. It has a much more somber tone. There is no swoon-worthy romance at the centre of it. This is the story of a girl who is extremely alone in the world finding solace in a creature she was taught to fear. This book, to *4.5 stars "Sometimes, if you want to save other people, you need to remember to save yourself first." I am actually super shocked at how much I enjoyed this book. I had been seeing SO many mixed reviews, and I understand some of them... this isn't a "typical" Margaret Rogerson novel. It has a much more somber tone. There is no swoon-worthy romance at the centre of it. This is the story of a girl who is extremely alone in the world finding solace in a creature she was taught to fear. This book, to me, is about mental health and finding your own self worth. It is about a girl who has been living her life half dead finally learning what it means to live, what it means to trust people, what it means to have friends. Artemesia slowly evolves as a character over the course of this novel and it is a wonderful progression to follow as she learns to find a purpose in her life. It is a really beautiful story and I loved Artemisia's reluctant friendship with the revenant. side note: I adore the revenant. I would have him as my possession companion every day. He may be snarky as hell, but he cares deeply for Artemsia and becomes a huge softie for her (although he still wants to merk everyone else). Sure, there could have been romance. There were two potential characters. But that would've ruined the book. It would've taken away for Artemisia's journey and, in all honestly, she isn't ready for love-she didn't even love herself. Plus, not having a romance left more time for the world building and the plot development. Everything felt a lot more fleshed out in this novel that her previous ones and I really enjoyed the progression--the villain arc was executed WAY better in this novel than Sorcery. controversial opinion: I 100% preferred this to Sorcery of Thorns... I cannot wait for the next book in this series and too see Artemesia grow even more as a character. She has so much potential and I just know I am going to have so much fun diving back into the banter she has with the revenant. I read a finished copy provided by Simon Teen

  25. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    This sounds freaking amazing! This cover is epic as well. This sounds freaking amazing! This cover is epic as well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    I was pretty close to rounding up on this one but I'll admit that, just around the time of the big climax and showdown, I sorta lost the plot. But so much of this was so good. I'll admit I definitely expected to like this considering how much I enjoyed SORCERY OF THORNS. I definitely saw some shades of that same brilliance in this book, too, and particularly enjoyed this offering's snarky otherworldly companion -- having not read the author's debut I can't say for sure this is a trend in all her I was pretty close to rounding up on this one but I'll admit that, just around the time of the big climax and showdown, I sorta lost the plot. But so much of this was so good. I'll admit I definitely expected to like this considering how much I enjoyed SORCERY OF THORNS. I definitely saw some shades of that same brilliance in this book, too, and particularly enjoyed this offering's snarky otherworldly companion -- having not read the author's debut I can't say for sure this is a trend in all her books but two out of three is definitely worth noting! I enjoyed so much of this world with its restless dead, this character with her rather horrible backstory and subsequent current-day struggles, and one minor-ish secondary character, too, who had not a single line of dialogue but totally stole my heart. I'll admit I did see one twist (if you could call it that) coming along the way, so that wasn't a surprise, but one or two things post-reveal definitely were. Again, I don't quite know where things went wrong for me but.. something didn't quite work near the end which explains why I can't round up. That said, I was super pleased that not only does this seem to be yet another fantasy standalone but this one has no romance.. and does not suffer at all for it. While this won't end up a favourite, I still had a really good time with it. And having seen a post on GR indicating she's made a lot of revisions since the ARC, I may even give this a reread in a few months and see if that can push this up a few points. Either way, though, Rogerson is definitely an author I will continue to pick up and, very likely, enjoy. 3.5 stars ** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Margaret Rogerson is batting 1000. She really can do know wrong, and her YA books are so enjoyable with great characters, fun settings and well-paced plots. I don't know what it is, but her books are always everything I want. Vespertine tells the story of Artemisia, a novice nun who lives in a world where the dead come back as phantoms and can possess humans for nefarious purposes. Artemisia is a loner who's had a pretty depressing life, so she sees the monotony of life as a nun as a godsend (pun Margaret Rogerson is batting 1000. She really can do know wrong, and her YA books are so enjoyable with great characters, fun settings and well-paced plots. I don't know what it is, but her books are always everything I want. Vespertine tells the story of Artemisia, a novice nun who lives in a world where the dead come back as phantoms and can possess humans for nefarious purposes. Artemisia is a loner who's had a pretty depressing life, so she sees the monotony of life as a nun as a godsend (pun intended.) However when spirits start possessing people in droves and creating their own army of the possessed, Artemisia may be the only one who can stop them. She has the power to bind herself to a revenant, the most powerful type of spirit. Her goal: to use the revenant to stop the other spirits causing destruction. The issue: revenants are spirits and realllly don't like being controlled. Like all of Rogerson's books, the setting is so much fun. I loved the medieval European-inspired setting with the clergy, nuns, priests, etc. (though definitely Christian inspired, the clergy in Vespertine is not Christian, but a fictional religion.) I just love the idea of spirits, wraiths and phantoms possessing people, and I love how people are trained to control spirits' power for the good of humanity. It's such a fun premise. Artemisia and the revenant are so entertaining to read about- they're forced to work together because of their circumstances but you don't really know true motivations until the end. If you love snark and banter, you'll love this. Artemisia is such a great character. Her backstory isn't just used for surface level "oh how sad" but it affects her deeply and actually contributes to her character. I also love how she's definitely affected by her past and has to work on some things, but she's not a total mess at all and still fairly competent. Generally I don't seek out FMCs with tragic pasts, but this was done well. All the side characters were fantastic as well. If you're looking for a refreshing, fun and fast-paced YA fantasy without the same old tired tropes and TSTL characters, give Margaret Rogerson a shot.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura ☾

    4.5 stars Vespertine follows the story of Artemisia, raised by the Gray sisters who tend to the dead to prevent them turning into harmful spirits, which are waging war on the population. This reminded me a little of Garth Nix's Lirael, which was one of the books that really got me into fantasy, so I liked that this had a similar vibe! “Sometimes, if you want to save other people, you need to remember to save yourself first.” I really enjoyed the characters and their development, particularly of 4.5 stars Vespertine follows the story of Artemisia, raised by the Gray sisters who tend to the dead to prevent them turning into harmful spirits, which are waging war on the population. This reminded me a little of Garth Nix's Lirael, which was one of the books that really got me into fantasy, so I liked that this had a similar vibe! “Sometimes, if you want to save other people, you need to remember to save yourself first.” I really enjoyed the characters and their development, particularly of Artimisia and the Revenant. The levels of sass from the Revenant were just amazing! Regarding the magic system, relics as a way to utilise magic through bound spirits is not a new concept, but the way the orders of spirits are categorised was quite interesting, as well as the concept of Old Magic vs allowed magic. Overall, I would have liked to see a little more world-building, but I'm hoping that will come in the next book in the series! This had no romance in it, unlike Rogerson's other books, and I'm not mad at it! I feel like not all fantasy has to include romance so this was definitely a nice change.

  29. 4 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    DNF at around 40% Will definitely try this again later but I’m just really not vibing with it right now 😢

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Correct me if I'm wrong but is this about demons and NUNS? I AM READY TO STAN Correct me if I'm wrong but is this about demons and NUNS? I AM READY TO STAN

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