A Treason of Thorns by Laura Weymouth
Nothing is perfect, and as such, the reviews in this blog are chaotic. My main aim is to share my thoughts, joy and opinions on a book, not make a publication perfect review. This blog endorses authenticity, showing up and joy over perfection.
Between the fact that this was written by Laura Weymouth who has a way with nostalgic, emotion-heavy interesting books and the fact it was usually put in lists alongside Mexican Gothic due to the whole sentient houses vibe, I had to read this book.
The start sets us on the life events that will change Violet’s, also goes as Vi, life and take from the comfort of the life she thinks she will have to depending on the hopes that she can return to that life. And then we get to the return, why she is coming back and the conditions on which she is.
I will start by saying that I struggled a little with Vi through most of the book. She was a well-written character but she was also incredibly frustrating with her hyper-focus on the need to be a Caretaker, ignoring so many other things and at first not really providing good motives beyond “this is what I should be doing” and hanging on what ifs and hopes from the past, to slightly extreme points. This kept frustrating me because at times I just wanted her to sit down, realise how much she had achieved outside of Burleigh and just you know, do something with it.
However, as the story progresses, we do find out and understand her motives better, which meant that by the time we come close to the end I was not frustrated with her anymore. I still didn’t agree with some of her choices but I saw them in a better light. So, I do warn you that if you expect a perfectly polished character that will do what you want, this isn’t it.
However, this is definitely a dark and interesting book about grief, and about agency. It tackles in some ways the definition or idea of what one is destined to do and if our destiny really is what we think or not, and if we can reshape it or ignore it. But not only that, it works on trying to understand why we do things sometimes for that destiny or against it and what agency we have.
I liked the story, and think it could have had more lore, more of the story of Burleigh and the houses, of how Caretakers and magic worked a little more padded up because I wanted to know more about how this universe worked. And I did love the idea of how far Vi is willing to go and what that means for her.
Overall, I would say this is a gritty book, with a main character that has a lot of ideas of who she ought to be and what the perfect future is, and who then has to grapple with reality and challenges that she didn’t expect alongside a magical house and a minor cast of characters. I recommend it for the emotional background and interesting approach to grief and magic. Alongside some other items, I would rather not mention much because it would be spoilers but that became very interesting including the King and the bond on houses and that part of the lore.