Goodreads: Sorcerer to the Crown
Series: Sorcerer to the Crown #1
Age Category: Adult
Published: September 1, 2012
Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.
At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.
But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…
I’ve seen a lot of recommendations for Sorcerer to the Crown floating around Book Twitter, and I’m always on the lookout for adult fantasy that isn’t going to be a 25-book series investment, so I picked this one up with some excitement. Unfortunately, while the premise is interesting and Prunella is amusing as a female protagonist who never does what anyone expects her to, I would rank my enjoyment of this novel only as “mild.”
While there IS magic, and sometimes wild things happen to add some spice to the plot, this book is largely political — but not in a political intrigue sort of way where readers can watch rivals go head-to-head with their machinations. Instead, readers get to watch Sorcerer Royal Zacharias Wythe putter about England and the border of Fairyland, trying to figure out why England’s magic is decreasing and having inner debates about which people he should tell which things. The problem is that he actually wants to stay as uninvolved as possible, so while the book is giving convoluted explanations of who can know what and who can do what and why certain things might lead to war (which I admit I didn’t always follow), Zacharias is frequently trying to palm it all off on other people. And a book about a guy trying to get someone else to deal with half the problems that are arising in the book isn’t all that interesting.
I think some people will find the book funny, or at least mildly amusing, as the author is clearly going for humor by adding Prunella Gentlewoman as the second protagonist, a woman with an unexplained past and powerful magic who inserts herself where people don’t expect her to be and accomplishes things no one could have imagined. She goes about making quips and vaguely trying to irritate Zacharias. but the banter isn’t necessarily MY sense of humor, so I was honestly on the fence about whether I enjoyed reading about her or not.
The book is fine. I can see it appealing to some readers. Unfortunately, I’m not really one of them. I won’t be reading the second book (which as far as I can tell is a companion book rather than a direct sequel).