Book Reviews

Review: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

I have no idea what I was expecting with Vespertine. The last Rogerson book I read was An Enchantment of Ravens and this one has a VERY different vibe. And I’m totally obsessed with it. There’s an order of magical nuns who take care of the dead and a very sassy spirit. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Vespertine begins with fast paced action and spirits. I was immediately drawn to Artemisia. To the ways we know she is different, has a haunted past, but we aren’t sure what it is. All the ways she’s always been taught that she’s alone. Without allies and friends, how can Artemisia handle the revenant, the history she doesn’t know, or a hidden evil? While there’s plenty of action to become immersed in, what I ended up loving the most were the characters.

Artemisia may have hit a bit too close to home. With the weight of the wold on her shoulders, she is alone and unsure to whom she can turn. Her past haunts her, sets her apart from others, and she slowly reveals her past to us. But what I loved was watching her unlikely alliance with the revenant. If they can find a way to draw a temporary truce to try to find, and destroy, this hidden evil. Don’t even get me started on how much I love this spirit – how wry, sarcastic, and witty they are.

Artemisia is used to being on her own, but she doesn’t have to be. Throughout Vespertine watching her find new friends and alliances was my favorite element. Another element of Vespertine I enjoyed was the way Rogerson approaches religion. The ways we can become an imagine – something larger than ourselves without us trying. And all the ways that it can be responsible for erasing history, for wondering what role it has in our life.

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Vespertine is a thrilling story about ghosts and battles and religion, but also about bravery and friendship. About what we have to be when we don’t want to and when the world isn’t sure if it’s ready. I am so excited to see where Artemisia’s story goes! Find Vespertine on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


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