A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weyworth

Information

Goodreads: A Treason of Thorns
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: September 10, 2019

Official Summary

Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept Violet happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.

Everything shattered, though, when her father committed high treason trying to free Burleigh from the king’s oppressive control. He was killed, and Vi was forced into hiding.

When she’s given a chance to go back, she discovers Burleigh has run wild with grief. Vines and briars are crumbling the walls. Magic that once enriched the surrounding countryside has turned dark and deadly, twisting lush blooms into thorns, poisoning livestock and destroying crops. Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain.

Vi would do anything to help, and soon she finds herself walking the same deadly path as her father all those years before. Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.

Star Divider

Review

A Treason of Thorns is a beautifully written book that explores the relationship between a young woman and the magical Great House she grew up in.  However, the premise of the novel often overshadows the plot and character development, as if the author never fully moved past the “idea” for the book to truly turn it into a story.

The first half of the novel felt incredibly slow to me, as the protagonist fixates on a few simple ideas that get repeated over and over: she grew up in a Great House she expected to be Caretaker of when she was an adult, she loves her Great House, she wants her Great House to be happy and well, etc. and so forth.  I think this portion of the novel could have been cut down considerably to help get to the heart of the story.

Strangely, however, what exactly a Great House is is never fully explained.  There is a scholar in the novel whose area of expertise is Great Houses, both the ones in England and ones in other countries, so readers do get glimpses of their history, but the whole matter remains incredibly vague.  They’re just…magical houses (and grounds) that seem to have always been around and that somehow work their magic on the surrounding land.  If the House is doing well, the land and people flourish.  If not, crops fail, animals die, people get sick.  That’s basically all readers know.  Why the Houses exist, what powers or motivates them, what their investment is in the surrounding land, and a number of other questions are left unanswered.  And while I can normally appreciate some ambiguity in fantasy to create a sense of mystique, the vagueness feels off in A Treason of Thorns because the author seems to have settled on “I am writing about a magical house!” as the crux of the book.  If the answer to the question of, “What is the book about?” is “a magical house,” then I expect to have a fuller understanding of said house.

Weyworth does attempt to give readers an interesting protagonist to live in and deal with the house.  Her loyalty to it is ferocious, as is her loyalty to the boy she grew up with—now an attractive young man she has not seen for the past several years.  Readers will likely admire her dedication and generous spirit.  They, like the people in the character’s life, simply have to come to terms with the idea that she has an obsession with the House that will always come first.

The plot, then, is straightforward enough.  She loves the House.  The House is in danger.  The only way to save the House is to locate its deed.  Thus, she goes on a quest to do exactly that.  The pleasure of the book is not in being surprised by plot twists or unexpected happenings, just in watching the characters go about their tasks in various states of determination and reluctance.

I liked that the idea of A Treason of Thorns is fairly original; I can’t think of a book I’ve read that was quite like this.  However, I do think that the idea itself could have been developed and then…moved past, so to speak, so that the characters and plot could equally shine.

Briana
3 Stars

12 thoughts on “A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weyworth

  1. bookwormmuse says:

    It was something I was incredibly interested in reading and I actually forgot about it till I saw this review. Oops. But thanks for the review, now I don’t have super inflated ideas about what the book could be.

    Like

  2. Aislynn d'Merricksson says:

    I loved this book! Burleigh itself was my favourite character. It reminded me so much of the Warehouse from Warehouse 13. Sentient buildings that aren’t just AI are really neat. I would have liked to see other Great Houses, esp in places where they aren’t chained by Deeds.

    Like

  3. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    Great review, Briana! Darn, I’m sorry that this one wasn’t quite as alluring as it could’ve been! I really enjoyed Laura’s The Light Between Worlds, so I had high expectations for this one. The concept of this one sounds interesting enough, but it’s a shame that the origin of and details pertaining to the magical house aren’t expressed very well.

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I haven’t read The Light Between Worlds because it sounds like too much of a Narnia rip-off, but I think Krysta enjoyed it in spite of that, so I’m torn! I would have liked this one more if it had felt more developed. I get that part of the world-building is that the Houses are kind of just there and even the characters don’t actually understand them, but I just strongly got the impression the author didn’t fully move past the “Cool! A magic house!” premise to flesh it out.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply! We'd love to read your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.