I picked up Bookworm by Christopher Nuttall for two reasons. The first was that it was, as the title suggests, about books and the second was that it involved magic.It is also largely set around a huge library filled with these books on magic, my interest was piqued.
Elaine No-Kin was brought up in an orphanage in the Golden City, never knowing her parents or where she came from. Although her magic is limited she attends and graduates from the Peerless School and then takes a job at the Great Library. The Great Library holds the largest collection of books on magic there is, including those books which are banned as they contain information on the dark magic which nearly destroyed them in the necromantic war many years ago.
While sorting through a box of books left to the Great Library by a recently deceased duke Elaine accidentally sets off a magical trap which almost kills her. When she finally comes round she realises that she now has the the knowledge from every book in the library stored inside her own head, including the banned books kept locked in the Black Vault.
I am very conflicted on this book, so lets start with the good points. If there is one thing I love it’s imagination put into books about magic. This book definitely has that. The magic system is well thought out and it works well, throughout the book we see hints of magics capabilities and its limits. We are shown the different and complex ways it can be used, and its shortcomings. The main character is very relatable, and the other characters are really brought to life and hold their own. The plot moves at a good pace and definitely kept me interested, the world it itself is fascinating and beautifully described.
With all the praise I have given, why then am I conflicted and whats stopping me from giving this book a five star rating? This book is listed in more than one place as being Young Adult fiction, so why then is it filled with so much sex? It adds nothing to the story and certainly makes it inappropriate for the young adult category. Elaine and her roommate have a fairly detailed conversation about oral sex after Elaine’s first date, she later walks in on a man receiving oral sex, after being kidnapped she is tortured, mostly psychically but there is also some sexual abuse from her captors. This is all rounded off with a graphic sex scene between Elaine and Bee, her new boyfriend. I have no issue with erotica, but if I want to read that then I will buy it. I don’t expect to find in when reading a young adult book.
Although the book is part of a series, the plot comes together nicely at the end. It makes it clear that there is a next one but wraps most things up satisfyingly. If it had not been for a repeated sexual content this book would have had five stars. However it just felt out of place and inappropriate, therefore I have given it 3 stars.