Book Review: Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans

I’m loving the books that Orbit is publishing this year. So many of the books coming out from them are amazing, and Notorious Sorcerer is another one of these. I hadn’t heard much about this book before I saw that it was available to review, but it was clearly a perfect book for me. Thanks to Nazia for this one.

Notorious Sorcerer is set in the world of Bezim, where the Bravi sling swords and race through the night, alchemists practice rituals behind closed doors, and the rich are willing to pay for both. Siyon Velo is an alchemist who hops between the planes collecting materials for the city’s alchemists. His hope is that he’ll earn enough to join the Summer House and the rest of the trained alchemists. But when he accidentally uses magic that should be impossible, he’s thrown into the limelight, just as hell breaks loose in the city. Now he has to try to save things, but he’s not sure he even knows how to.

I’ve found there are more and more fantasy books coming out that are these almost regency-feeling political fantasies. They clearly aren’t set in our world or a specific time, but the courtly settings have this sort of feel. I’m not big on reading historical books set in that period, but I like fantasy with those vibes. It’s quite weird.

I’m obviously big on queer books too, and this one is. Siyon is openly bi or pan, and he winds up in a relationship with Izmirlian, a rich man who tries to hire him to do something else impossible. Their relationship is a lot of fun, and I liked seeing their growth. Throughout the book, they know their story isn’t going to end together, even if they kind of want it to. But they enjoy the time they had. That said, I’d still like to see them get back together. Looking at the plot of book 2, I hope that can maybe happen. But at the same time, I guess it would be realistic if they didn’t as they want different things. I don’t know. I just want more of them, ha!

Siyon isn’t the only character who you follow the narration of. There’s Izmirlian, yes. You see his relationship with his family and why he wants what he wants. But there’s also Zagiri, a young woman who continues to run the roofs with the Bravi when she should be becoming a lady. And Anahid, a lady and Zagiri’s sister who takes Siyon into her home but wants an opportunity to get out there and gamble. Most of the characters in this are the privileged of this world, which contrasts pretty nicely against Siyon’s experience. But it would’ve been nice to have like Daruj’s perspective. I really liked his character.

I will say that the world-building took a little while for me to look forward to. There are a lot of different terms for different types of people. There are also mentions of different countries and they kind of come out of the blue. That said, the world did feel real. Evans did a good job, as it was easy to immerse myself once I got used to it all. I had such a fun time with this book. It was just a little bit of a slow read.

You get a variety of different creatures as well as humans with their alchemy from the different planes. There are angels, harpies and djinn, and they definitely add to the atmosphere. Their worlds all feel so different, but their involvement in our world also just felt so human. I’m curious about what it means when these creatures fall. And hey, the harpy is still around at the end. So that’s going to be a lot of fun.

I’m eager to get the rest of the books in this trilogy, and I don’t want to wait but alas, I have to. This was really fun and interesting. It made me laugh, it made me emotional, and I just had a damn good time with it.

If you love a good fantasy, then check this one out.

5/5 Stars

Title: Notorious Sorcerer

Author: Davina Evans

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range:  Adult

Publisher:  Orbit

Release Date: 15/9/2022


Amazon UK | Amazon USWaterstones | Bookshop Org

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