Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)

By Zen Cho

Rating: 3 stars

Zacharias Wythe is the first black Sorcerer Royal, being the ward and heir of Sir Stephen Wythe. This doesn’t go down well with many of his peers in the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, who are plotting to remove him. It isn’t helping that there is international politics brewing and that England’s magic appears to be diminishing. Meanwhile, orphan Prunella has stumbled upon the greatest magic discovery in centuries. Despite himself, Zacharias must work with Prunella to change the face of sorcery in England forever.

The main problem I had with this book was nothing to do with the book itself, but how it was sold to me. It was sold as a cross between [author: Susanna Clarke] and [author: P. G. Wodehouse]. And while there are definite shades of Clarke in the period fantasy setting, the argument for Wodehouse’s influence is much more lacking. There’s one character who could perhaps be described as Wodehousian, but it wasn’t the laugh out loud book that I was expecting.

Beyond this, however, it’s a well-constructed novel with good characters, some neat twists and misdirection. I wasn’t wild about the character of Prunella, although I can understand why she made the choices she did. I did find Zacharias extremely sympathetic however, and liked the way that Cho tackled the racism that he (and, indeed, Prunella) encountered face-on. I’m not sure if I’ll be rushing to read the sequels though.

Book details

ISBN: 9781447299462
Publisher: Pan
Year of publication: 2015

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