Mysteries of Thorn Manor Book Review
Welcome to our first buddy read and review of 2023! We fell so in love with Sorcery of Thorns that we were morally obligated to tag team the sequel novella.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Category: Cozy Read
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RATING: 5/5 Stars
Plot: 5/5 stars
Characters: 5/5 stars
World: 5/5 stars
Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…
With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas—along with their new maid Mercy—will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right.
Between saving the world and dodging info-hungry reporters, Elisabeth and Nathaniel just want a little peace and quiet—and time alone together. Thorn Manor has other ideas. Throwing a temper tantrum, it traps its occupants with no indication as to what's disturbed the wards.
As the group works to uncover the cause and a means to appease the wards, they discover hidden rooms containing secrets and get into some hilarious situations. But as they delve into the manor's history, new questions arise: is Mercy truly happy working at Thorn Manor? Is Silas the same demon he was before, and is he all right? What does the future hold for Elisabeth and Nathaniel?
The novels she'd read had never mentioned that being in love had symptoms, like food poisoning or influenza.
K: I was afraid this novella may not live up to its predecessor, but it was just as good! The plot was fun, and certain questions raised throughout make me wonder if we'll get a full-length sequel in coming years. I know I wouldn't mind.
It's been over a year since I read Sorcery, and I've yet to find another book that I love as much—at least until this one. Everything about these characters and their story is perfection.
J: I would sell my soul for a full sequel—I know Kori [jokingly] mentioned spamming the author's inbox until Rogerson gives in. I'm definitely planning siege tactics if we don't see an announcement this year. [Half] jokes aside, this novella was everything we wanted it to be. It's told like an extended epilogue mixed into a short story, with enough intrigue to keep the plot-thirsty readers happy, and more than enough romance to satisfy our swoony selves. I'm a huge fan of stories that bring you closer to beloved characters; Mysteries expands so much on the characters' emotions and arcs that you come away adoring them even more. For readers skeptical about in-between novellas, let me put your mind at ease: if you loved Sorcery, you need Mysteries in your life.
We love everything about these characters and were delighted to follow them on a new journey.
She felt, with a passion that tore at her, that she could make a real difference: that given the chance, she could find a way to protect both humans and books equally.
"If anything goes wrong, I have a sword."
J: I got ahead of myself on the character fangirling, so let me now intimidate you with my full-on gushing.
I already love Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas, but I didn't realize how plot-heavy the first book was until Mysteries answered so many character questions that Sorcery didn't leave time for. We know Elisabeth and Nathaniel are in love, but they never said as much. When we left off in Sorcery, the two were off to a happy start—aside from some hesitation on Elisabeth's end, we didn't see them grapple with the usual emotions in a romance. In Mysteries, we do. Elisabeth and Nathaniel are just as sweet and perfect for each other, but they confront insecurities and vulnerabilities that bring them closer. It's beyond adorable to finally see Nathaniel admit to being in love, to see Elisabeth so fiercely protective of everyone in the house, and to truly see how much Silas has accepted Elisabeth into their little family.
She would battle villains, demons, monsters to keep him safe. If she could, she would even battle his memories.
“I don’t want a suitor,” she replied, emotion coursing through her. “I just want you, Nathaniel, not life-endangering acts of heroism, or—or priceless treasures, or even starlight in a jar. I haven’t changed my mind. I still love you. I think it’s possible I might love you even more than I did three months ago.”
K: I know I love these characters more than I did before reading this story!
Elisabeth is one of my favorite heroines. She's just so pure. She's brave, compassionate, considerate, and truly wants what's best for everyone. Plus, her bookish love and the way she geeks out over a suit of armor makes her so relatable.
Nathaniel is the perfect mix of broody, snarky, flirty, and downright romantic. Everything about him is swoon-worthy, and I'll never stop gushing over how much I love him with Elisabeth.
J: Same, girl, same.
K: My only disappointments with Sorcery was how quickly it ended and that we didn't get to see more of Silas after he returned. Mysteries more than makes up for it. His epilogue is one of the main reasons I'm hoping for a full-length sequel.
As for Mercy, we don't know much about her, but I already like her. I'd like to get to know her more and see her have a happy ending.
The entirety of this novella takes place at Thorn Manor, but that doesn't make the story feel small. The manor has its own stubborn and hilarious personality, and it's funny to see it interact with Elisabeth especially.
While following the characters, we learn a lot about the Thorn family line and the sorcery community as a whole.
J: Aside from the romantic scenes, the exploration of all the secret rooms in Thorn Manor was my favorite aspect. If you loved the aesthetics in Sorcery, you'll be delighted by the hidden bedrooms full of memories, the cursed attic, the magical gardens, the abandoned ballroom...aghh this novella is every cozy book-lover's dream!
K: It’s not a Sorcery of Thorns story without magical libraries! I loved seeing Elisabeth despair over the state of the Thorn family’s ancient grimoires and nurse them back to health. There's also a book of fairytales that is just adorable.
I also really enjoyed how Elisabeth's resistance to magic came into play.
Mysteries of Thorn Manor contains everything we loved about the first novel: adorable characters, a sweet romance, tons of humor, a cozy and enchanting atmosphere, and magical books! Needless to say, it lived up to our expectations, and we desperately hope Rogerson continues the story in a full-length sequel.