Review: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
THE FATE OF ENGLISH MAGIC LIES IN THEIR HANDS…
In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England’s first African Sorcerer Royal. He leads the eminent Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, but a malicious faction seeks to remove him by fair means or foul. Meanwhile, the Society is failing its vital duty – to keep stable the levels of magic within His Majesty’s lands. The Fairy Court is blocking its supply, straining England’s dangerously declining magical stores. And now the government is demanding to use this scarce resource in its war with France.
Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she’s drudged all her life, and a visit by the beleaguered Sorcerer Royal seems the perfect opportunity. For Prunella has just stumbled upon English magic’s greatest discovery in centuries – and she intends to make the most of it.
At his wits’ end, the last thing Zachariah needs is a female magical prodigy! But together, they might just change the nature of sorcery, in Britain and beyond.
Sorcerer to the Crown is one of the most engaging books I have ever read.
Set in regency England, Sorcerer to the Crown introduces us to a world where magicians are the norm. As expected in this day in age magic is practiced by only the true Gentleman with the poorer classes excluded and of course women whose delicate frames couldn’t handle the magic.
Introducing Zacharias, newly appointed Sorcerer Royal, he is the lead Sorcerer for England, essentially their Prime Minister. Of course, the placement of a black Sorcerer Royal is bad enough in whiter than white England, include rumours he is a murderer, and a country trying to start a magical war and life for Zacharias is about to get far more interesting.
What Zacharias didn’t need was a feisty, mixed-race, orphaned girl inviting herself in as his apprentice. Prunella is on the surface the opposite of everything Zacharias is. Morally however they are quite entwined.
The interplay between the two characters throughout the novel is exquisite, sometimes cringeworthy, other times utterly hilarious. Prunella’s ability to verbally run rings around Zacharias is wonderful and whilst she is sneaky and inquisitive she is also caring and vulnerable.
This novel respectfully, and delicately tackles questions of race and gender. It has complex political questions, and tackles morality on a number of levels. All of these issues are cleverly woven into the fabric of a complex yet utterly enjoyable fantasy novel which is littered with magic, fairies, and wonderfully imaginative creatures.
The writing is exquisite, so detailed, with the formality of the time pitch perfect. At times there was humour, at other times tension, or passion, but each emotion was conveyed by Zen Cho with complete perfection.
Thank you so much to Pan MacMillan for the ARC via NetGalley for me to review.
Title: Sorcerer to the Crown
Series: Sorcerer Royal
Author: Zen Cho
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Publication Date: 10 September 2015
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Audio, Hardcover, Paperback
Buy: Amazon Nook iBook