Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
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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* Non-Spoiler Review*
Margaret Rogerson is slowly becoming one of my favourite YA fantasy authors. Vespertine is a dark fantasy, you are introduced to Artemisia a young Gray Sister in training. She is content with living in her convent and not having to deal too much with living people – her preference cleaning the bodies of the deceased (her role as a sister). Then her world is turned upside when the convent is attacked by possessed soldiers. She helps defeats these soldiers by using a relic that is possessed by an ancient spirit – a revenant, not knowing that by doing so she has now become a possible saint.
Now Artemisia is expected to wield this ancient spirit against the uprising evil that is slowly invading Loraille, she is reluctant to be in this position as the scars of her past a visible on her hands. Throughout her adventure, Artemisia has to face her aversion to socialising and fight alongside newly formed allies -figuring out who is releasing this evil upon Lorallie.
I believe this is the first book by Rogerson that is not a standalone, which I am super happy about. I loved a Sorcery of Thorns (which was a standalone but I think Rogerson is relenting and writing a sequel). Her worlds are refreshing and storyline engaging, plus I do enjoy her characters and how they develop over time.
Overall, an excellent start to a new series and I cannot wait for the next book. If you like medieval young adult fantasy, then I would definitely recommend Vespertine.
Spice Rating: 1/6 – See my rating system here
Book Rating: 4/5