An Enchantment of Ravens. Margaret Rogerson. Romance/Young adult/Fantasy. 300 pages. 2017. 4 stars.
“The ability to feel is a strength, not a weakness.”
“Not for us,” he said. “Never for us.”
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.
Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
I was a master of the Craft, escorted by a prince, but I had to wonder whether I truly was a special case, or if every mortal deluded themselves into thinking they were an exception to the rule.
This book is one of my most anticipated releases of the year and reading it was a rollercoaster of an experience! My thoughts are on both ends of the spectrum so I’ll /try/ to keep this review as coherent as I can.
The first few chapters were very exciting. I was as good as vibrating with excitement when I started the book and the novelty of it took awhile to wear off. When I got to the succeeding chapters, I felt like dozing off. Maybe it was because I wasn’t familiar with faerie folklore, or maybe it was because the way it was written felt very off for me—I can’t really pinpoint it, but I felt displaced when reading the book. Usually I have no trouble immersing myself in the story and getting lost in the narrative but in this book I was constantly aware that I was merely a reader and not the main character. This can also be attributed to the fact that the novel was written in a way that it addresses the reader (oooooh metafiction!!!) with lines like “Let me tell you that…” which implies that we’re not within the main character’s thoughts. It was like the main character herself wrote the story in hopes of someone else to read it. (I hope this makes sense because I can’t find any other way to phrase it!)
As for the romance, it was a bit too cliché for me. I get that it wasn’t instalove since the first few chapters left out a big chunk of Isobel and Rook’s interactions but there were lines within the novel that made me go “ehhhhh no”. There were redeeming factors! The awkwardness of Rook was something I was fond of
“Are you in love with me?” I blurted out.
A terrible silence followed. Rook didn’t turn around.
“Please say something.”
He rounded on me. “Is that so terrible? You say it as though it’s the most awful thing you can imagine. It isn’t as though I’ve done it on purpose. Somehow I’ve even grown fond of your—your irritating questions, and your short legs, and your accidental attempts to kill me.”
I recoiled. “That’s the worst declaration of love I’ve ever heard!”
The plot felt a bit all over the place especially with the ending. I was confused 50% of the time and had to resort to try and figure it out at the end by piecing everything together. Because of that, it lost the thrilling suspense factor that was supposed to be present with the action.
Something I enjoyed very much was the masquerade ball. Seriously, an author just has to insert a ball in a book and I’d pick it up right away.
I’m giving this book 4 stars because this was a very hyped up release ever since April/May so given all the hype, An Enchantment of Ravens was able to deliver! Recently hyped up books have a tendency to greatly disappoint me, so I’m very pleased that this one didn’t!