Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson is the first book in the Vespertine series. This is the first series that Margaret Rogerson has written and I cannot find how many books are planned for this series yet. If I’d have to guess, I would say this will most likely be a trilogy. The way I discovered this book was randomly seeing the cover at Half Price Books, a local second hand book store that also sells new releases. Since I love Charlie Bowater’s art, I immediately recognized the art and since I’ve loved Margaret Rogerson’s other two books I bought it without even reading what it was about. I’m glad I did. Like always, I will not have any spoilers for Vespertine.
The spirits of Loraille don’t rest.
Artemisia is training to become a type of nun who spiritually cleanses the bodies of the dead so that their souls are able to pass on, called a Gray Sister. If they don’t, the dead will rise as spirits that have a bottomless hunger for the living. She prefers to deal with the dead rather than the living, who whisper together about Artemisia’s scarred hands and difficult past.
However, when her convent is invaded and attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia protects it with a saint’s relic that has a recently awoken ancient spirit bound to it. This malevolent spirit is known as a revenant, which can possess her at any time if Artemesia drops her guard. Now wielding the exceptional power nearly consumes her, but with death occupying Loraille, only a priestess that is trained to use a high relic, or vesperitne, has any hope of stopping it. Unfortunately all the information on vespertines have been lost after so long, Artemisia has to rely on the last available expert for assistance: the revenant itself.
While Artemisia uncovers a menacing mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her relationship with the revenant grows. And when an unseen evil begins to rise, Artemisia learns that facing this opponent may need her to go against everything that she has been taught to believe. That is, if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.
First of all, I didn’t realize that Vespertine was about nuns. What drew me in, besides the cover art, was the spirits. Another thing that I love, even before I started reading, is the dedication. I won’t ruin that for you, but I feel seen. Now I’ll discuss the two main characters in Vespertine: Artemisia and the revenant.
Alright, I cannot pick a favorite character. On one hand I relate to Artemisia in a lot of aspects, but on the other hand I relate so much to the revenant. First I’ll discuss Artemisia and why I relate to her so much. Now did I expect to relate to a nun on such a deep level? Absolutely not. However, if you remove the title of nun, Artemisia is a socially awkward girl with a big heart. Throughout Vespertine, you see examples of Artemisia not understanding how to communicate with her peers and actually self-isolates when her anxiety grows to be too much. Despite being socially awkward and social anxiety, Artemisia wants friendships and values helping and keeping people safe. Artemisia dislikes violence and cruelty against individuals and will neglect herself to help others.
Next is the revenant. Again, did I expect to relate to the highest level of malevolent spirits? Honestly, maybe a little. When the revenant officially becomes an active character, I absolutely fell in love. If Artemisia is my awkward and anxious half of my personality, then the revenant is the sarcastic, silver tongued, knowledgeable, and darker half of my personality. Where Artemisia is awkward and logical in her thinking, the revenant loves to talk, tends to ramble, and is more on the emotional side. Not only that, but the revenant gets embarrassed easily, pretends not to care, and has fears you wouldn’t expect. I want a revenant friend.
“Sometimes, if you want to save other people, you need to remember to save yourself first.”
“How delightful. Being horrid must come naturally to you.”
“I could devour their souls for you. It would be fun. Don’t pretend you aren’t tempted.”
“Humans simply love inventing superstitions and then getting killed because of them. Or better yet, using them as an excuse to kill other humans.”
“Whoever it is, they smell like incense, porridge, soul-numbing misery… Ah yes. A nun.”
Star Rating: /5
Spice Rating: 0/5
Add it to Your List: Add to your Goodreads
Snag a Copy: I will always suggest getting the hard cover, but buy in any format on Amazon
Interested in other books that I’ve read? Check out my other book reviews here!