Book Review: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Title:  Sorcerer to the Crown
Series: A Sorcerer Royal Novel
Author: Zen Cho
Sale Date: September 1, 2015
Age: Ages 18 And Up  
Genre: Fantasy / Historical
Pages: 384
Publisher: Ace
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Buy: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large.

SORCERER TO THE CROWN, Zen Cho's newest full-length novel, is the first in a series of historical fantasy books set in Regency London blending a touch of fantasy, politics, humor, and romance while taking a poke at Regency prejudices. 
What happens when England’s first black Sorcerer Royal takes on his rude (racist) sorcerer colleagues, the angry Fairy Court, an interloping ghost, and an outrageous female with a surprising amount of magic at her fingertips? Magic, mayhem and a touch of romance, of course!

Zacharias Wythe has his plate full - he's dealing with conflicts within the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers as their newest leader, as well as the diminishing magic and rumors about his involvement with the demise of his magical mentor. Then - there's Prunella, an unexpected and wilful, yet completely charming addition to his tangled problems. 

Although Zacharias is a great character, easy to like and sympathize with - it is Prunella who stole the show for me. Through unexpected circumstances, these two meet and there is some great banter and rapport between, building to the possibility of romance. Whereas Zacharias is undoubtedly acknowledged in the story for his magical affinity - Prunella, as a person of the female gender, is forbidden to acknowledge her magic.  Because, gasp - a woman cannot possibly be magically inclined. She is a bit of a minx, and I loved the fact that she is a bit cheeky and mischievous making a great foil for Zacharias calm and steadfast personality. Together they take on politics and prejudice while charming an angry witch, and uncover England's missing magic.

I do want to mention the writing style, as I think it plays a large aspect on whether or not the reader will enjoy SORCERER TO THE CROWN to its fullest. Inspired by Georgette Heyer, Cho writes with an authentic feeling Regency flare, and should be a great fit for fans who enjoy this genre. 

I ended up reading SORCERER TO THE CROWN in bits and pieces, setting it down for a short time only to pick it up again, drawn back to the story. It took me awhile to get myself acquainted with the writing, but I'm so glad I continued. And yes, there's a reason why there's a dragon on the cover, plus a few unexpected characters out of fairyland make an appearance that I enjoyed. 

I recommend SORCERER TO THE CROWN to readers who enjoy manners with their magic, regency inspired writing and are looking for characters that are not your typical hero and heroine!