The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty's lands. But lately the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman - a freed slave who doesn't even have a familiar - as their Sorcerer Royal and allowing England's once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven't stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man's profession.
At his wit's end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, 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 that will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain - and the world at large.
©2015 Zen Cho (P)2015 Recorded Books
I expected to love this book, as it contains many of my favorite elements - a Regency setting with smart dialogue, a feisty heroine, and magic! But the story at some points dragged on and then would suddenly leap to a crisis or someone suddenly had amazing powers. The narration was fine.
Stick with this story--a kind of fantasy AU blend of Georgette Heyer and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell--because when it takes off, it really goes. Comedy of manners, mostly, but there are a few laugh-out-loud moments. Consciously brings in colonialism, sexism and racism in the 18th/early 19th century, so there are serious issues as well.
Jenny Sterlin gets into the spirit of the game and has the lingo down perfectly.
If you like Regency romance and fantasy, try SORCERER TO THE CROWN. Looking forward to the sequel!
Sorcerer to the Crown is a glorious debut entry into the fantasy book world and Zen Cho's skill and imagination is a delight. It was a never ending collection of surprises, both amusing and intriguing. Serious issues concerning the treatment of women and slavery are also introduced and it is good to have these aspects included as well as lighter ones.
It is written in Georgette Heyer Regency style and this is achieved well and suited the story. Without spoilering I have to hint there is a mode of transport introduced which I shall dream of using, but it's certainly not a barouche.
The reason the story only gets 4 stars from me is because it was so packed out with characters and events some aspects got slightly lost in the crowd. I wished this had either been in two volumes or some of these enchanting concepts had been reserved for later so they could have been appreciated better.
Jenny Sterlin's narration flows as beautifully as usual, differentiation between characters was excellent, with their individual voices well chosen and performed.
I am most surely looking forward to the next book in the Royal Sorcerer series.
Jenny Sterlin is a marvel and I have loved her readings/performances for years. (See the Laurie R. King/Marry Russel stories). However, even her perfect and interesting rendering of this book could not make the 2 dimensional characters come alive. I gave up after 3 hours or so.
Perhaps Ms. Cho will develop into a writer of complex and interesting characters. She is not there yet.
I would have loved this story and its fantastic characters in any format, but Jenny Sterlin elevated the entire book with her perfect narration. She does an excellent job with a wide cast of characters. With a lesser narrator, it might have been easy to get lost in the fantasy elements of the story, but Sterlin keeps everything clear and easy to understand.
This is a story full of good-natured humor. Pompous, conniving men of the magical establishment need reigning in, and the beleaguered Sorcerer Royal is too busy to deal with them. Enter Prunella, who turns everything upside down.
The characters are hilarious and find themselves in situations only they could create.
Great performance by Jenny Sterlin.
I've been into epic fantasy, sci-fi and everything in between since I first read The Lord of the Rings. I also love detective novels.
It's a good book that was well written and beautifully read. I couldn't find another book from this author in the store sadly but I will be looking out for them.
I love her readings of Laurie R. King novels, so I was excited to see she was reading this one. I thought Sorcerer to the Crown was just fine. I had a hard time staying with it, because it's a lot of talk about boring magical government and a lot of the coolest action happens while the boring government stuff is going on, and you just hear about it afterward. Also, the romance is a little too subtle.
You definitely can not judge a book by it's cover. This book was extremely exciting. It's instantly become one of my top five favorites. A super eloquent tale but depressing as well. It would seem that Zen has no intention of writing another.
Zen Cho's novel offers all the joys of genre(s) fiction with all the disappointing stuff crossed out and rewritten just as one would like
Jenny Sterling is a perfect, dryly humorous narrator
"Can't wait for the rest of the trilogy"
I was sold on this when it was described as Georgette Heyer with magic. It has the lightness and wit of Heyer's classic Regency romances but acknowledges that dark side of British imperialism plus magic. How could I not love it? Zen Cho captures the feel of the period really well. The treatment of POC and women are tackled in a serious but never stodgy or preachy way. There is lightness and humour here too. The differences between male and female magic are really well thought out. The moment that Zacharias realises how Prunella is feeding her familiars was excellenty done and made me snigger. Really looking forward to how the trilogy develops.
Jenny Sterlin is fine as a narrator and gets it right most of the time.
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