Sorcerer to the Crown

A Sorcerer Royal Novel
By: Zen Cho
Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
Series: Sorcerer Royal, Book 1
Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (433 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but somehow disappointing

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

So. Much. Fun!

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!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Heyer-style court intrigue with magic and mayhem

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.


6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Imagine Diana Wynne Jones wrote Strange & Norell

Would you listen to Sorcerer to the Crown again? Why?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters are hilarious and find themselves in situations only they could create.

Have you listened to any of Jenny Sterlin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Great performance by Jenny Sterlin.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Good Story, Great Narrator

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.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Looking for more!

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

nothing Oriental about this book

This is a malange of English tropes from Shirley Temple's Little Miss Sunshine to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Nothing to offend, it is very readable. Simply annoying that young women have to be told over and over they're just as good as men. Looking forward to the day when there's no longer an audience for these books.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So under-rated!

Quirky, well written, and a page turner. I’m shocked this hasn’t received more attention. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not up to Heyer's standards, nor Rowling either

I came to this with high hopes since I have enjoyed both Georgette Heyer and J.K. Rowling, but I was disappointed. It lacked most of the wit and sparkle of Heyer's Regency romances and was really heavy on the magical stuff, even more so than the Harry Potter series. Instead of using the characters to further the plot, instead great gobs of magic are introduced to lift the heroine out of her difficulties. The author needs to set some limits to the use of magic in the plot. Jenny Sterlin does a reasonable job of the narration but I found that it was often difficult to distinguish between the character's voices.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable story with engaging characters

I liked this audiobook and book. The characters are very likeable, especially Zacharias. The lead, Prunella, is almost too powerful and effortlessly perfect, but that’s preferable to a damsel in constant distress or an immoral protagonist. And I still really loved her all in all.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and all of its characters quite a lot. The relationships between the characters are especially wonderful as they are multidimensional and show the depth of human connection, illustrating how we can be feel simultaneous paradoxical emotions about each other sometimes. The side characters are very strong too and I found myself interested in learning more about them; so I was certainly drawn into this world of Cho’s.
The plot is solid and intriguing. It does feel like a slow pace even though a lot is happening. So, it wasn’t un-put-downable, but sometimes that’s a good thing and prolongs the enjoyment.
I enjoyed the way the romance was handled and in many ways all the action is similar- it’s happening, but it’s not so emotionally intense or all consuming for the reader. This is a major part of the appeal of the book for me. And my number one important quality in a book: minimal to no angst! Huzzah!
The narrator’s performance was excellent, no complaints there.
My only complaint about the story itself is that there are occasionally sudden scene changes or jumps that are hard to visualize for their lack of lead in or context.
Will definitely check out the next in the series though.

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  • Beccameriel
  • 10-11-15

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.

1 person found this helpful