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Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)
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Sorcerer to the Crown > Finished reading the book? Let's talk about it!

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message 1: by Naz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Naz (Read Diverse Books) (xsorenx) | 33 comments Mod
There are officially two weeks left until the deadline (July 15th) to finish reading Sorcerer to the Crown.

If you have a blog, please try to review the book or share your thoughts and indicate that you read it for the Diverse SFF Book Club. If you want your review to be featured in my blog, let me know on Twitter (@_diversebooks) so I can take note of it.

So, have you finished reading the book yet? There's no rush if you haven't! But if you have, let's discuss.

Spoilers Below

This thread is dedicated to any and all discussions regarding the story, the author, fan theories, news, etc. Please share your feelings and reactions -- and be honest! If you didn't enjoy the book, let us know.

I personally adored this story. It was such a delight to read. I can't say that I've ever read many fantasy novels like this. What stood out to me the most was the language. It was so beautiful, elegant, and set the perfect tone for the setting of Regency England.

Pruenella and Zacharaias have easily become some of my favorite characters in SFF. Prunella especially! I knew she was going places the moment I met her. She is so smart, resourceful, and powerful! Wow. I cannot wait to see what she does next. The last scene with Zacharias was beyond adorable. I wasn't surprised that they ended up as a couple, but it was such an endearing scene that I didn't mind. My heart positively melted.

Prunella's character was very complex and interesting because she had much ambition, but it was initially tempered by the fact the England the Society prohibits women from practicing magic. She is a gifted young woman who knows she excels at magic, but is shackle and weighed down by societal limitation. Oh, how wonderful it was to see her surmount all her obstacles to become Sorceress Royal! The next book will be entirely hers, I assume.

Zacharias, of course, is an absolute gentleman and a hero. I adore him too because he is honorable, kind, and knows injustice when he sees it. I didn't particularly like that Prunella needed his help to triumph, but it makes sense because misogyny was rampant at the time. Zacharias was immediately able to see the injustice of the school for gentlewitches and thankfully used his power to reform this awful practice.

There's so much too discuss, but I don't want to make this first post too long. I'll stop here and contribute more later.

Do you have any questions you'd like to ask the rest of the group? Want anything clarified? Have any interesting fan theories? Where is the story headed next? What did you like and not like about the story?
Let us know!


Shay (shayshortt) | 3 comments I loved this book, and I had a lot of thoughts on it! I'm planning to post my review to my blog on Tuesday, but I'm just going to share my draft here in advance :)

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Following the death of his guardian, Sir Stephen Wythe, Zacharias Wythe finds himself Sorcerer to the Crown, and head of the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, the chief magical body of England. It was Sir Stephen’s dearest wish that Zacharias succeed him, but that does not stop rumours from circulating that Zacharias murdered his benefactor in order to seize the Staff. Worse, sorcerers disgruntled by Zacharias’ sudden rise to power have chosen to blame the ascent of a black orphan to the nation’s highest magical office for Britain’s longstanding decrease in magical atmosphere. Hoping to uncover the reason for the ebb of magic, Zacharias travels to the British border with Faery. Along the way he acquires a traveling companion, one Miss Prunella Gentleman, the mixed-race daughter of a deceased English magician who brought her to England from India shortly before his untimely demise. Prunella causes Zacharias to question the Society’s longstanding prohibition on women performing magic, for this untrained young woman may be the most powerful magician he has ever seen, and hold the key to unlocking the flow of magic into England.

Zen Cho sets Sorcerer to the Crown in a recognizable historical England, during the Napoleonic Wars. However, her England is flavoured with magic, still touched by Faery, however much that magic may have been depleted in recent years. The once powerful society of magicians has lost some of its lustre, and the traditionalist magical families are pining for their glory days. Cho’s prose style also has a decidedly historical flavour. This setting and style are certainly reminiscent of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but it is in her two main characters that Cho reveals the true tack of her story, one that moves in a different direction from Clarke’s tale.

Zacharias is a complicated figure. He had no ambitions of his own to public office, preferring a more retired existence, but his dedication to the wishes of his guardian compels him to take up the Staff of office when Sir Stephen dies. Indeed, this has been the story of much of Zacharias’ life. On a ship in the Caribbean, Sir Stephen recognized Zacharias’ magical talent, and purchased him from the ship’s captain. Zacharias was taken to England, given a gentleman’s upbringing, a first rate magical education, and his emancipation on his thirteenth birthday. He has laboured all his life under a debt of gratitude, supressing complicated feelings about the fact that Sir Stephen did not buy his parents’ freedom from the ship’s captain. Nor did he feel he could disagree with Sir Stephen in life, lest he be perceived as ungrateful. Zacharias is essentially engaged in respectability politics, for “his chief aim had always been that he should be beyond reproach in word and deed, since his colour seemed to prove a ground for any allegation.” We get to see this fraught dynamic unravel, as Zacharias is haunted by Sir Stephen’s ghost, and their relationship after death has none of the boundaries it held in life.

Whereas Zacharias is a cautious and prudent character, always concerned with appearances and reputation, Prunella is much more headstrong and carefree. While Zacharias is retiring, a reluctant politician, Prunella is quite openly ambitious. After being dismissed from a girls’ school where young women of magical talent are taught to supress their abilities, Prunella sets her sights on London, and a marriage that will allow her to make her way in society. When the Sorcerer Royal visits the school to give a lecture, Prunella decides that Zacharias Wythe is her means of escape, and introduction to the society of England’s magical families. She seems quite unaware of his unpopularity, or the barriers their backgrounds may cause. Zacharias is a less challenging character, easier to like, but Prunella pushes the envelope with her assertiveness and naked desire to succeed.

In addition to two nuanced and intriguing primary characters, another great figure in Sorcerer to the Crown is Mak Genggang, an elderly woman from the island of Janda Baik. England has a colonial interest in the island nation, but the Sultan of the tiny country is plagued by magical creatures, and complains of the dangerous power of the island’s magical elders, all women. He comes to England seeking help to supress these women, implicitly threatening to ally with the French if England does not assist him. Determined that the Sultan’s voice will not be the only one heard in England, Mak Genggang follows him abroad. She is living proof that women can be powerful magicians and community leaders. In addition to serving as a female mentor for Prunella, Mak Genggang is also the means by which Cho weaves in a plotline that addresses the colonial society in which the story takes place, machinery that is normally invisible in Regency fiction.

Although obviously highly socially conscious, Sorcerer to the Crown is also a great adventure, with a good bit of political intrigue. Even as he tries to solve the problem of England’s decreasing magical atmosphere, Zacharias is fighting off assassination attempts, and struggling to negotiate England’s tricky relationship with the neighbouring realm of Faery. Though Britain’s magical power has decreased, magical artifacts and creatures seem to be lurking everywhere, if you look beneath the surface. There is even a touch of romance at the periphery, though it is certain be more significant to the next two volumes of this planned trilogy, which begins with this well-rounded romp through magical England.


message 3: by Naz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Naz (Read Diverse Books) (xsorenx) | 33 comments Mod
Shay wrote: "I loved this book, and I had a lot of thoughts on it! I'm planning to post my review to my blog on Tuesday, but I'm just going to share my draft here in advance :)

___

Following the death of his..."


A great review, as always, Shay! Loved how thorough you were.
Mak was one of my favorite things about the novel in general and her story arc did a great job of exploring the mentality of colonialism that was very much alive in England at the time.

I actually wouldn't mind a heavier romance plot in the later two books because I loved Z&P :D But I can't imagine their love lives will be too easy since the trilogy just began.

I will be sure to share your review when it is up on your blog.

Thanks for reading!


message 4: by Jonathan (new) - added it

Jonathan | 1 comments such a wonderful and nuanced take on colonialism and race through the lens of a magical Britain. A lot of the book felt like scene setting for the next two novels but that was no bad thing!


message 5: by Naz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Naz (Read Diverse Books) (xsorenx) | 33 comments Mod
Jonathan wrote: "such a wonderful and nuanced take on colonialism and race through the lens of a magical Britain. A lot of the book felt like scene setting for the next two novels but that was no bad thing!"

You're right. The pacing was a little slow for me, but it was wonderful getting to know the characters and I just know it's going to get exciting in the later books. Prunella has an exciting life ahead of her!


message 6: by Thearmchaircritic (last edited Jul 19, 2016 12:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Thearmchaircritic (the-armchair-critic) | 5 comments Much has already been said. I liked the tone, the dry humour. The pacing was fine for me, but what I found interesting is that the book wasn't what I expected it to be about. I thought most of the story would be in Faeryland, a magical quest of sorts as is typical. Instead, I got a book that doesn't pretend that a single magical addition is the solution to all the conflict in the book.
Instead of: "Together, they must race through Faeryland to discover a solution to the magic block, the fate of the entire magical world rests on their shoulders." , I got something nicely different.

That moment when she feeds Nidget to Leofric though.


message 7: by Naz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Naz (Read Diverse Books) (xsorenx) | 33 comments Mod
Thearmchaircritic wrote: "Much has already been said. I liked the tone, the dry humour. The pacing was fine for me, but what I found interesting is that the book wasn't what I expected it to be about. I thought most of the ..."

I hope to see and learn more about Faeryland in book 2. This introduction to the story was delivered very well and now that we know the characters and have grown to love them (at least I have) we can focus on much more interesting plot!
Prunella has a lot of good and bad coming her way, but she's more than up to the task. Book 2 will be more about her than even book 1 was.

Yes, seeing Nidget get sacrificed like that was heartbreaking. This scene says a lot about Prunella and what she's capable of doing in times of crises and serious decision-making. Not sure whether this is a positive or negative thing...


Thearmchaircritic (the-armchair-critic) | 5 comments Naz wrote: "Thearmchaircritic wrote: "Much has already been said. I liked the tone, the dry humour. The pacing was fine for me, but what I found interesting is that the book wasn't what I expected it to be abo..."
I don't know about sequels in SFF, they almost never live up to the expectations I place on them. Question: this book counts as steampunk right?


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