My main interest in this novel lies with the author. I’ve not read many Malaysian author and definitely not within the fantasy genre. I think I read somewhere that compares this book to Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell which was a bit of a struggle for me to read but since Sorcerer to the Crown isn’t as huge, I thought I could probably handle it.
The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers has a new Sorcerer Royal. One who is not of the English blood and whose rise to such position is shrouded in a grim mystery. Zacharias Whyte found his position to be precariously high. The country is experiencing a decline in magic, a war with France, and a request of support against magical opponents from an unexpected quarter. Zacharias must politically manoeuvre to ensure the safety of his country as well as the good of all mankind. Add to this immense pressure is the threat to his life.
Prunella Gentleman will do anything to escape the life she’s destined for –a life of drudgery. She aims to make something of herself and her accidental discovery will help her get there. However, things are never as they seem as she learns of herself and what she can do.
What I enjoyed most out of this novel is the struggle of both Zacharias Whyte and Prunella Gentleman in being different (ie. not Caucasian and in Prunella’s case, neither was she a man). I’d also point out the irony of their last names! However, both are made of strong stuff and determined to save each other. I’ll just note here that there wasn’t much of romance in this novel so don’t expect it but the undercurrent is there (somewhat invisible).
The mystery and the twists were fascinating and quite unexpected. Despite the slow beginning, I found the last half of the novel to be over before I least expect it because of the twist and turn. It was a really fun ride near the end though I must express a slight disappointment that the climax / confrontation weren’t as blown up as I’d like (please excuse my bloodthirstiness).
Overall, Sorcerer to the Crown was a fine read. A tad too political for me but was otherwise excited to read a new magical world with diverse characters. I wonder just how much of the author’s personal experience is being expressed through these two!
Thanks Pan MacMillan for eARC via NetGalley in exchange of honest review