A magical regency tale where magic has stopped being brought into England, war ravages miles and countries away and the Society of Unnatural Philosophers has just gained a new Sorcerer to the Crown… an African whose mentor (the previous Sorcerer to the Crown) has disappeared and Zacharias has taken up the staff which may only be held by the true Sorcerer to the Crown. We follow Zacharias as he follows through with his role and attempts to find the reason for this lack of magic in England. Throw in a batch of Society members who are planning to upend him from his position and a young mixed race woman who has powers that extend beyond the normal Sorcerer or magician, and you have yourself a story!
This novel actually took me ages to read, it’s style reminded me very much of the kind you see in Classics, especially older classics, so I had to take it slower than I would other books. This is not to say that I didn’t like the writing style, I think it really fit the story and was actually a glorious reminder that Regency England was a very specific society… Women weren’t allowed to practice magic, discrimination against “foreigners” was very much the norm and the stiff upper class of England, essentially rule the land. I think it was fanscinating to read and contemplate the addition of magic to this world, especially when it has such prominence in society and has already been established.
I really like the two main characters, they make a great time and poor Zacharias! What a sweet sweet gentleman! He remains true to himself to the end yet even though the story is told from his perspective, he is very much in control of himself and his thoughts. I have to say though that the jewel in the crown is Prunella, the young mixed race magicianna who just has an incredible attitude and does not give two hoots about what people think. Completely born in the wrong time but boy, does she show them all who’s boss. She is by far my favourite character and I really wish we could have a novel about her and her past or future (I don’t care which one!).
The world building is really good, I love the different references to Fairy World and different kinds of mythical creatures, it really adds depth. I wish we had more time to explore these further and I do think that the opportunity was there to explain a bit of the history of it all. It was a little passed over but maybe next time…
I also liked the focus of the story, it is very much a focus of getting magic back and finding the assassin rather than about feelings or romance. I really appreciate that. I also just have to say something about the diversity in this book, especially the two main characters. I really love that the author has included diversity in this book. It makes a really nice change! Which makes me so sad that that is a true statement. It shouldn’t be something different or a change…
So a really good read… Not one of my favourite fantasy reads but it brings something new and even subtle to the genre. The ending made it for me. Just those last few pages ensured that my hunger for the story, and especially Prunella, grew. Give me a story about her please!!
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho