Honestly, reading Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans was another case of window shopping stealing me away without any idea what’s going on. I.e., I thought the cover was gorgeous and it’s published by Orbit, which is honestly all that I needed. I had no idea what this book was about when I requested it, so I was pleasantly surprised by the wild ride I was in for (despite a few misgivings).
An ARC copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Publisher: Orbit Books | Release Date: September 2022 | Pages: 406
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Paperback | Source: ARC
Since the city of Bezim was shaken half into the sea by a magical earthquake, the Inquisitors have policed alchemy with brutal efficiency. Nothing too powerful, too complicated, too much like real magic is allowed–and the careful science that’s left is kept too expensive for any but the rich and indolent to tinker with. Siyon Velo, a glorified errand boy scraping together lesson money from a little inter-planar fetch and carry, doesn’t qualify.
But when Siyon accidentally commits a public act of impossible magic, he’s catapulted into the limelight. Except the limelight is a bad place to be when the planes themselves start lurching out of alignment, threatening to send the rest of the city into the sea.
Now Siyon, a dockside brat who clawed his way up and proved himself on rooftops with saber in hand, might be Bezim’s only hope. Because if they don’t fix the cascading failures of magic in their plane, the Powers and their armies in the other three will do it for them.
On the Page
- Captivity and confinement
- Death of a lover
- Loss of bodily function
- Murder and attempted murder
- Physical injuries
- Arranged marriage
Content warnings are written up by me, unless specified. Subject to being an incomplete list, though guided by referencing this list and trying to highlight as many as I can identify.
- It’s QUEER: Not only do we have a queer, MLM relationship front and center, but it felt like an accepting, queernorm world, as well. Give me more of this in my fantasy, please and thank you.
- The large cast of character-POV: I appreciated being able to read this from multiple POVs. Siyon’s I enjoyed, but I liked seeing others as all the shit went down, too.
- Anahid, in particular: I thought our main cast of characters were really lovely. But I found myself drawn to Anahid, especially. My heart went out to her situation, yet I admired how deftly she handled what she was usually thrust into. Also, let his woman play carrack (sp?) or so help me!
- The romance: Siyon and Izmirlian, y’all. That’s all I can say. 😍
- The beginning: I don’t know if it was because I read Notorious Sorcerer when I was sick or because I’m just an idiot. 😅 But I really struggled with understanding the dynamics of the worldbuilding, at the beginning especially. It felt like so many names, places and roles were thrown at us right from the start, without the grounding I needed to make sense of it.
- The magic system: Likewise, I really struggled with understanding the magic system. I can tell it’s awesome! I am honestly fascinated and want to understand it. But if you asked me to explain it, I couldn’t even begin to try. Again, this could be my own Nyquil-induced brain fog, but I hope the sequels can make it a bit clearer for me, tbh.
All in all, I enjoyed reading Notorious Sorcerer! I will definitely be continuing the series, because I’m very curious about what’s going to happen next (particularly for Siyon in his new role and Anahid because I love her). The characters and queernorm world are my absolutely favorite and I’ll be excited to dive back into it. However, my confusion on some key elements of the plot and world left me not being head over heels in love with it. Hence, the 3.5 gems.