by Margaret Rogerson
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Releasing on October 5, 2021
YA FICTION-Fantasy, Paranormal
From the New York Times bestselling 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.
CONTENT WARNINGS: Death and violence.
Margaret Rogerson is the author of the New York Times bestsellers An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses. Visit her at MargaretRogerson.com.
By late in the day, the last signs of pursuit had faded. “I can’t sense them any longer,” the revenant said. “They either lost our trail, or they gave up. The priest wasn’t with them.”
Good. I imagined Leander crawling across the forest floor on his hands and knees, searching for his relic in the dirt.
I eased his horse out of the creek we had been following to hide our tracks, listening to the wet crunch of the stallion’s hooves transition to a solid thump on the soil. Sitting astride a warhorse was exhilarating after learning to ride on the calm old draft horses at my convent. He had carried me at a canter for the better part of an hour before we had finally slowed down, following the winding deer trails over the hills.
I needed something to call him. “Priestbane,” I said experimentally, and watched his ears swivel back with interest. He snorted out a breath that I took for approval. Patting his neck, I cast around for a telltale flash of white among the trees ahead. When I caught sight of Trouble flapping through the bare branches, I adjusted our path.
The revenant’s scornful voice broke in. “Don’t tell me you’re still following that raven.”
“I think he’s taking us somewhere. He’s flying eastward, which means we’re heading deeper into Roischal.”
“You do realize that there’s nothing mystical about ravens, don’t you? They don’t gather around convents because they’re divine messengers of your goddess. They come because that’s where humans bring the corpses.”
“That’s fine. If he’s leading us to corpses, that’s where I want to go.”
“You must be popular at the nun parties. Do you have any friends? Just out of curiosity.”
My hands tightened on the reins. Sophia might count, but she was eight years old, so that seemed embarrassing to admit out loud. “Do you?” I asked without inflection.
“I’ve been trapped inside a relic for the past century. What’s your excuse?”
“I was possessed by an ashgrim as a baby.” My voice sounded harsh and ugly. “When I was ten, I stuck my hands in a fire to get it to stop trying to kill my family. The other novices think I murdered them. That’s why.”
As soon as I finished, I felt blood rush to my face. That was a lot more than I’d intended to say out loud. A profound silence came from the revenant.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I added, before it could think of some other way to mock me.
To my relief, it didn’t speak again for a very long time.
Eventually, the trees thinned. Priestbane trotted into a clearing, a field hazy with mist flushed gold by the setting sun. I didn’t realize we had reached civilization until we startled a flock of grazing sheep, who fled bleating in terror, their rumps sodden with mud.
I reined Priestbane to a halt as their shapes vanished into the mist. The rooftops of a town loomed ahead, eerily silent at a time when children should be shouting, dogs barking, the air fragrant with the smoke of evening cookfires.
“Revenant, can you sense anything?”
The question seemed to draw it out of thought. I wondered if it had been plotting its next attempt to possess me. “Nothing aside from a few shades infesting those buildings’ crypts.”
“When they aren’t under chapels, they’re called cellars.”
“I don’t care,” it hissed. “Anyway, there are no humans ahead. At least,” it added nastily, “no living ones.”
BOOK BLOG TOUR
Simplybeccamee – Book Review
Stuck.in.the.stacks – Blogger’s Choice
Thereadingcornerforall – Blogger’s Choice
Justiceforreaders – Blogger’s Choice
Thebookoffaerie – Book Review
Bookloversbookreviews – Blogger’s Choice
For the blog tour, enter to win either one (1) physical finished copy of Vespertine or one (1) digital copy of Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson! Open USA only.
Giveaway starts: Monday, September 27, 2021
Giveaway ends: Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. CDT
*The bookstagram tour has a different giveaway, so don’t forget to check out those posts!