I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, but it has 3.5 stars in my mind.
I liked this book a lot, but ran into some trouble when it came to the overall tone. It treads the line between comedy and dramatic intrigue, which sometimes made it hard to accept how a scene was written. The climactic battle, for instance, came off as very flippant rather than funny, and it was jarring for me. It didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the book, and I preferred the intrigue to the battle.
Also, the book starts slow. The prologue is wonderful and is a nice introduction to Zacharias, but it takes a while for the plot to kick in and the pacing to settle. Once Zacharias meets Prunella, however, things take off and the book is easy to lose yourself in. The world building is fascinating, with England slowly losing its magic and the upper crust looking for a scapegoat to blame. That forms the center of the overarching plot, and Zacharias and Prunella serve as excellent centerpieces who are able to outmaneuver their enemies. Prunella especially, who displays a cunning and ruthlessness that may turn some off, but works extremely well for her development and role.
The characters are all great, with Zacharias and Prunella taking the limelight, but the supporting characters have strong personalities as well. Zacharias grows the most, I think, but it’s Prunella who goes on the journey of self-discovery as she uncovers her past and her own magical ability.
Overall, Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is a very good read, though I recommend taking a look at a sample before buying the book. The language aims to be period-specific, so if that’s a turn off for you, you may not enjoy the book. I personally tend not to enjoy that kind of writing, but I do think it worked here and found myself enjoying the style far more than I expected to.