Title: A Treason of Thorns
Author: Laura E. Weymouth
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: September 10th, 2019 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic kept both the countryside and Violet happy.
That is, until her father’s treason destroyed everything.
Now she’s been given a chance to return home. But Burleigh isn’t what she remembered. Wild with grief, Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain. As its tormented magic ravages the countryside, Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“A good Caretaker puts her House first.
Before her own life.”
Burleigh House is one of six great houses in England, and Violet’s family have been its caretakers for generations. But when her father commits treason and is punished with House arrest, which can only end with his death, Violet is forced to leave her home. When she finally returns seven years later, Burleigh lies in ruin and it’s magic has become corrupt, severely damaging the countryside. Violet is in a race against time to do what she can to fix things before the king burns it down, but the House holds many secrets, and the price to free Burleigh is far higher than she knows.
The idea of a sentient house is both creepy and intriguing, and the descriptions of Burleigh are so vivid that I could easily picture the vines and flowers growing, the House remembering memories of people long gone and even showing emotion in its own strange way. What history was introduced surrounding the great houses was very interesting and I would have loved to see more background on this. This book also has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve seen this year.
On the other hand, A Treason of Thorns was repetitive, irritatingly so at times, and also felt like it would be appropriate for a much younger audience. The pacing is rather slow – several scenes were dragged out which made the book much longer than it had to be. While the story happens over the course of a summer, the climax of the book happens in a matter of days and felt very rushed.
Violet is a hard character to like and even harder to connect to. She is extremely headstrong, and is blinded by what she has been taught, to put the house first – and she does so, prioritizing the house over actual people at times. Her arc was quite good though, especially as she finally started to understand that while she had to do what was best for the house in her role as a caretaker, she also had to do what was best for herself regardless of what Burleigh wanted. The side characters however, were very well written, Princess Esperanza and Wyn in particular. The king initially appeared to be a promising villain, but later on seems to appear only when the plot was lacking conflict and needed to be moved along. Also, I’m quite confused as to why the punishment for treason would be placing the caretaker under house arrest, since it affects all the surrounding lands and the people who live there too.
Overall, I liked the concept of the story, but it lacked world-building and leaves many questions unanswered, such as how houses have magic in the first place. While this book wasn’t really my cup of tea, A Treason of Thorns is nevertheless an imaginative and unique tale.
A Treason of Thorns releases on September 10th, 2019.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!