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Friday, August 14, 2015

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown

A debut novel set in Regency England that includes magic, colonialism, a misogynistic view of women and magic, and two unlikely protagonists.

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers faces a number of challenges:  the loss of magic, the new Sorcerer Royal is a man of color, and insurrection in the ranks.

Zacharias, adopted by the previous Sorcerer Royal, has both supporters and detractors.  His detractors are unhappy with the color of his skin and his lack of a familiar.  Zacharias is a very restrained character, admirable in his sense of integrity, but formal and sober-minded...and a little dull.  

When he meets Prunella Gentlewoman at a school for Gentlewitches (a school designed to curb and/or eliminate the magic of women), he recognizes her remarkable latent talent.  They are opposites in temperament, and Prunella will present Zacharias with both problems and solutions.

Prunella is the more vibrant character, but the character development overall is lacking.  I wanted to like both Prunella and Zacharias more, and I know I was intended to, but they both seemed fitted with "appropriate" personalities and not enough depth.

Sorcerer to the Crown was, in many ways, an intriguing read, but didn't fulfill its promise.

 send link to Penguin
Read in July; blog review scheduled for Aug. 14, 2015.


Fantasy.  Sept. 1, 2015.  Print length:  384 pages.


  1. I am really curious about this one because I just recently read her short story collection. That's too bad you didn't like it more, but I still want to read it.

    1. It isn't that I think the book is bad, just that I'd looked forward to it, and it wasn't all I'd hoped for. You might love it! I'd like to hear another opinion.

  2. Well, I still do love the premise. I'll try to temper my expectations as regards the characters, and focus on the setting, which sounds quite marvelous.

    1. This is one of those books that just missed for me. So much promise, but that in the final analysis, didn't meet my expectations. Not unusual that others will love it more than I did, though!

  3. I know what you mean, Jenclair. How many times we went into a book expecting something but it turned out into something else. I'll have to think about this one.

    1. Although Sorcerer to the Crown wasn't quite what I anticipated, I would like to know how others felt about it. It felt didactic about situations that would have had more impact without the preachy feeling. I wish Zacharias had been more energetic, more intense--then maybe the pace of the book would have picked up, too.