Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson
Rogerson described this as Joan of Arc meets Venom. I was sold.
Artemisia is a nun training to be a Grey Sister. She’s a bit of a recluse, doesn’t get on so well with others… oh, and she cleanses the bodies of the dead so they don’t rise again as murderous spirits (note the helpful spirit hierarchy at the back of the book) . When possessed soldiers attack her convent she fights them off by awakening the power of an ancient revenant bound to a saints relic. Death has come knocking and Artemisia must now learn to wield the extraordinary power of the revenant which has taken up residence inside her and threatens to consume her. She races to unravel the secrets of the saints, uncover dark magic and learn to accept help from new friends… even the revenant.
I love Rogerson’s writing style, it’s like comfort food. This is a great read full of her usual immersive imagery and world building. Her books feel a little short by fantasy standards but she packs in so much, diving straight into the action - sometimes less leaves you wanting more! I enjoyed the relationship between Artemisia and the grumpy revenant, although I felt it could have gone a bit darker and ruthless at times. There is no romance but I didn’t feel there should have been yet. The ending felt a little abrupt but there is a part two coming and I’m really looking forward to seeing more character development, more badass fighting nuns and perhaps there may even be some romance - we shall see!
Genre: YA Fantasy
Book 1 (incomplete series)