Review of ‘Vespertine’

Vespertine focuses on Artemisia as she takes hold of a revenant to save her convent. But what she doesn’t expect is to bond with it.


Margaret Rogerson
Margaret K. McElderry Books

The publisher and booksellers have been marketing Vespertine as “Venom meet Joan of Arc,” which could not be closer to the truth.

Artemisia is a nun-in-training. Nuns in this book have the power to banish spirits that could wreak havoc. They are respected. Some nuns can even hold relics bound with powerful spirits and call upon the power of the relics and the spirit to help defend.

When Artemisia’s convent is attacked by a horde of unclean spirits possessing the bodies of soldiers of the realm, she has no choice but to wake up a powerful spirit and let it use her body.

Between these two characters, a bond forms. After being possessed as a child, Artemisia has very little love for spirits and revenants. But as mysteries come into play, she discovers that the only one she can trust is the revenant that constantly threatens to take control of her body.

There is a lot of mystery that unfolds here. Mystery with high magic and how it is supposed to be forbidden and lost to the ages and yet somehow is being used on such a powerful scale as to.

And the pace at which the story develops is steady because it focuses on growing Artemisia and her relationship with the revenant.

Character Driven

What I loved about Vespertine was that it was so focused on developing Artemisia and her friendship with the revenant.

There is no romance in the story, and I loved that about this. Not every story has to have an underlying romantic plot. Sometimes a friendship and discovering your power is enough. I am not a romance reader. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind romance in the story, especially as a secondary plot. Still, I am not excited when the book is described as romance. It just is not what draws me in.

So to see Vespertine explore a story and grow the plot strictly on the character development was superb. You are drawn into the revenant, as snarky as he is, and it balances out Artemisia’s stoic tone. She is fierce and powerful, but she is also flawed and sees herself as just a little broken.

Artemisia is a character who wants to stay hidden, but her power and her calling throw her into the light. She is the only one who can solve this mystery, and with the help and growing respect for the revenant, she does.

Artemisia grows, reflected in the friendship she develops with the revenant.

Final Thoughts

Vespertine does not get enough credit, in my opinion. A thrilling novel, Vespertine draws you in with strong characters and an excellent plot.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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