An apprentice librarian faces a magical threat against a Great Library.
Orphaned Elisabeth Scrivener was raised in Summershall, a Great Library of the kingdom of Austermeer. She hopes to train as a warden—a battle-ready librarian, guarding against sorcery. The grimoires within Summershall are dangerous and imbued with life by the spells within them; if damaged, they become uncontrollable Maleficts. A chance encounter introduces Elisabeth to the infamous sorcerer Magister Nathaniel Thorn, who is charmingly roguish—but she doesn’t trust sorcerers. One night, Elisabeth awakens to find the library’s Director slain and a Malefict on the loose. Wielding the Director’s sword to destroy the monster, by morning she’s painted as a traitor and questioned by the Magisterium. Over time, Thorn and his demon companion, Silas, prove to be less evil than clever and confounding. As more attacks befall the Great Libraries, Elisabeth decides to seek the evil that threatens them, but it requires challenging everything she believes in a world of complicated magic where things are never as they seem. Elisabeth’s journey is fraught with hard-won self-discovery, and Thorn and his demon make for delightful counterparts. The world lives and breathes as enchantingly as the grimoires, and readers will flip pages feverishly, led by the tip of Elisabeth’s sword. All major characters are white; two minor characters are brown-skinned, and Nathaniel is bisexual.
An enthralling adventure replete with spellbinding characters, a slow-burning love story, and a world worth staying lost in. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)