Vespertine Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
From the New York Times best-selling author of Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a thrilling new YA fantasy about a teen girl with mythic abilities who must defend her world against restless spirits of the dead.
The dead of Loraille do not rest.
Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.
When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her - but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.
As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe - if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 6 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 05, 2021|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #23,907 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#45 in Horror Fiction for Teens
#67 in Dark Fantasy for Teens
#77 in Teen & Young Adult Ghost Stories
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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Artemisia has the sight. She can see spirits in the world and sense them in relics. A diligent follower of the Gray Lady, Artemisia fights bravely to protect the only semblance of home when it is overrun by thralls, spirit-possessed humans, with the unwitting help of the strongest class of spirit, a revenant.
Now saddled together, Artemisia and the revenant embark on a journey to discover who or what is behind the attacks at the peril of both their lives. What she discovers along the way threatens to break all that she believes to be true about herself, her purpose, and her truth.
Margaret Rogerson has crafted another unique and addictive story set in a grittier world. Her writing continues to entangle and delight with a smooth cadence, skillful word crafting, and delightful pockets of humor. Her characters are neatly drawn, relatable, and layered by experience and expectations.
Things I Liked:
Artemisia’s character is disabled, socially anxious, dealing with repressed trauma, and doesn’t have great social skills to accurately read people’s body language and intentions. It’s refreshing to see the world through her eyes and many aspects are very relatable.
Artemisia’s budding relationships with other characters are well written, believable, and rooted in empathy. I especially enjoyed the banter between her and the revenant as well as her budding admiration for Marguerite.
Leander’s presence in the book is engaging, drawing the reader into his mysteries with a myriad of feelings toward his character.
The setting, religious ambiance, and magic system are really interesting and draws the reader in.
Things I Disliked:
Honestly, nothing. I can’t think of anything I disliked about this book other than it ended and I have to wait for another one.
The magic system is not as complex or difficult to understand as others seem to think. There are five levels of spirits, each spirit in each level has a name in accordance with its death. The higher the level, the more dangerous the spirit. Simple. Those who are stronger in the sight can subdue and handle stronger spirits. Simple. The old magic is still a mystery because Artemisia (and therefore the reader) is still learning the truth about what is it and how it links to her world.
While nothing romantic happens in this story (it isn’t missed and I’m a huge fan of romance), but, and I could be absolutely wrong about this, I do think there were subtle hints pointing to a possible romance in the next book.
Vespertine is a great read and I highly recommend it.
While I didn’t love this one as much as the author’s previous novels (particularly her debut An Enchantment of Ravens, which was just excellent!), Vespertine is still an interesting story that eventually managed to hook me.
I liked the main character and her Revenant counterpart – their banter was fantastic, and the character growth was sufficient and believable. I’ve seen others comment on the seeming lack of development for the other characters in the book – but I actually didn’t mind. Both her allies and her enemies were well-drawn so I never lost track of who was who, or which character was speaking. They all had clear, solid personalities and voices. But this book is about Artemisia and her Revenant. Her struggles to keep everyone at arm’s length is kind of the whole point – especially since it’s basically up to her to save the world.
However, I had some issues with both the pacing and the prose. The action starts immediately within the first page or two, which was a bit disorienting – this is a brand new world (or at the very least, an alternate, magical history), and I felt thrust into a seemingly high-stakes situation with no grounding on either the surroundings or the characters involved. The backstory is told as we go along, which for me took some of the gravity out of the events. I don’t usually have trouble following a historical fantasy novel (is that even a genre?), but the world building on-the-fly wasn’t working for me this time, and it took me a while to get into the story. I’m going to give the author grace here and say that it’s not her, it’s me b/c I eventually found my footing and the last third of the book was a sprint to the end!
I also didn’t feel as though the writing was up to her usual standards. There was a lot of “he had done that”, “she had said that”, “they must have realized this” often within the same sentence, so I found myself stumbling over the prose (and in some cases, re-structuring and re-writing sentences in my head, which is never a good thing!). I don’t remember experiencing this with her previous books. In fact, the lush, lyrical prose is one of the things I loved about Enchantment of Ravens. The author mentions on her acknowledgement page that she struggled a bit in writing this book – which I can totally see.
For some reason, I didn’t realize that this is the first book of a duology, but don’t worry! The author steers clear of the cliffhanger trope. So while it makes sense that there’s more to come for these characters (and I definitely want more to their story), I would also be completely satisfied if this were a standalone novel.
All that being said, would I recommend this book? Yes! I like the characters, I liked the plot, I liked that it was free of all of the “woke” agenda reps that seem forced into novels these days. I liked that there was no agenda or proselytizing at all – it’s simply a good story about a world where revenant spirits are just moments away from taking over and killing everyone, and our heroine has the potential to stop them. What is she going to do about it? And at what cost?
I love how Artemisia is characterised, with all her expressions a little off as a result of her childhood experiences, and with insight into it without any means or particular need to change it. She is characterised as neurodiverse in a way that’s specific to the fantasy setting.
Some of her developing friendships are delightful and unexpected, and I look forward to where the Lady (or her own sense of purpose) takes her in the next book. Which should be soon, please.
When a revenant is better at remembering worldly needs than the human it possesses, is it a sign of care or selfish refusal to be returned to a cage?
Top reviews from other countries
The world-building is detailed and convincing, the friendships and loyalties developed during the book are warm and believable. The deities are flawed along with their followers.
What's not to love - a wonderful book!
Beautifully written - simple & unpretentious.
An involving & empathetic story that explores perceptions of right from wrong, good vs evil, and personal strength & vulnerabilty. It leaves one pondering the concept of redemption & the myth/fallibility of saintly righteousness.
A new favourite. I'll be buying the hard copy for my bookcase's Forever/Re-Read Collection too!
I can't wait for the next book.