Book Review

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen ChoSorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Series: Sorcerer Royal #1

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Published on September 10, 2015
Published by Ace, Penguin Random House
Format: eBook, 381 pages
Source: Purchased

My rating:

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First sentence: The meeting of the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers was well under way, and the entrance hall was almost empty.

Sorcerer to the Crown caught my interest with a dragon-like creature on the cover. When I saw that it was an alternate history fantasy novel set in England during the Regency era (one of my favorite settings), I knew I had to give it a chance.

What Did I Like?

  • Alternate history is always fun to read. What can make the Regency era more elegant than a bit of (real) magic? Zen Cho’s opinion how the supernatural powers would influence the ordinary life is somewhat similar to Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories series.
  • Mythical creatures are present in an abundance. Some are familiars to wizards while some critters are making havoc. Zen Cho dug out some rarely encountered species like kirin, lamia, etc.
  • Strong confident main female character. Prunella is awesome. I loved her to pieces even if she had no scruples and lied often. Or maybe I loved her even more for that. 😀

Prunella took to the ballrooms of London in the spirit of ruthless calculation of a general entering a battlefield.

  • Female Rights Movement was very active in the Regency era. And in Sorcerer to the Crown, there is another battle to be won for women – a right to use magic. It’s always inspiring reading about these topics.
  • Colorful and funny side characters. My favorite was Rolo’s aunt Georgiana. I always find that meddling aunts who will not take no for an answer add the special spice to the story. Although perhaps Rolo would not agree with me. 🙂
  • Awesome feats of magic that made me wish I was a sorceress too!
  • Dragons are not main characters in Sorcerer to the Crown, but they are part of some very significant scenes. Any book featuring dragons as sentient and (mostly) friendly beings can’t be bad, right?

What I Didn’t Like?

  • Slow start. So be patient, it takes time for the story to grab you.
  • Regency Lingo or however you want to name it. The writing style in Sorcerer to the Crown reminded me of Jane Austen’s novels. Zen Cho tried to imitate the language constructs of the Regency era, but it didn’t quite feel natural. The narrator’s voice seemed to stutter at times somehow (for me at last).
  • Uncommon big words are used. (For example ”lugubriously’‘.) I had to pause my reading and look them up and that added to that feeling that the narration was not fluid.
  • The male main character was boring. Zacharias was the opposite of Prunella. Until the end, he was one dimensional and too bland.

My Rating:

Sorcerer to the Crown was a magical romp through the Regency era. I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the sequel, The True Queen, to read more about Prunella’s adventures.

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