First of all, I need more from this world! I fell utterly in love with this story and devoured the whole book in one evening; I just could not put it down. An Enchantment of Ravens was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, so when it landed on my doorstep a day early, I couldn’t help but squeal! I’d heard so many great things about the book, and being a lover of Fae and Faeries in general, I just knew I was going to love it; I wasn’t disappointed. Read on my full spoiler free review.
From the cover:
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.
Within only a couple of pages, I was hooked. Written in first person I felt completely drawn into the world, as the first few chapters alone created a feeling of tension and uneasiness. Rogerson managed to provide a history of the world in just a few pages which was necessary and entertaining, and not at all like info dumping. We’re told about an aversion to iron and the inability to lie, which you come to expect with Fae but there were original aspects too, such as the need to be polite at all times and having to return a bow or curtsy no matter where or when.
The descriptions of the Fair Folk were amazing and vivid; I’d never seen them this way before, and I’ve read a lot of books about Fae let me tell you. We got to see a more deadly side to the otherwordly creatures through their true form (which sounds terrifying), and I enjoyed the idea that being a member of the Fair Folk isn’t as wonderful as we are led to believe.
An Enchantment of Ravens was packed with fantastical world building. Reading the story felt very dreamlike and just as the name suggests, enchanting. Rogerson’s writing was just exquisite and I found myself reading lines over and over to try soak up the magnificence. Isobel’s passion for painting was really brought to life, as the painting process was described in such beautiful detail that even I, who has no talent for painting, was swept away and the talent really just poured off the page.
I was rooting for Isobel from the very beginning. She was brave, caring, clever, true to herself and relatable, even though we definitely do not share an affinity for art. Having been through such trauma when she was younger, and feeling as though she must provide for her family, Isobel is one of those characters whose strength you have to admire and that you just want the best for.
It was a similar story with Rook: I loved him right away. A charming and cocky unruly copper haired Prince of Autumn. MARRY ME? From the moment the pair met, you immediately knew that he was different to the Fair Folk that Isobel had spoken about. That apology moment when they first met had my heart melting already!
The relationship between Rook and Isobel was just 10/10 for me. Both were true to their selves and weren’t afraid to disagree with one another, but also really respected and cared for one another. Arguably there isn’t much build up to the love between the two, and some may call this “insta-love” but I really enjoyed it and thought it was executed brilliantly. We are told that Isobel and Rook spent many days together which we didn’t see all of, so it’s obvious that the feeling have developed over time.
The story was primarily journey based, as the two must travel through the Fair Folk lands whilst trying to remain out of danger and away from the Wild Hunt, but there was enough happening plot wise to keep me gripped. Following their journey, I loved seeing the character development. Rook began revealing his true self and the more we saw of him, the more I loved him. Isobel grew but still remained true to her values and beliefs which I loved to see and it was definitely refreshing to see the choice she made.
The mortal/fae divide didn’t dwindle as the romance increased which was entertaining but also interesting to read about, as in many other Fae books, they have no issues getting to grips with human tendencies. Sometimes when characters fall in love, any difficulties they encountered at first just disappear, but not this time. I appreciated the fact that Rook still did not fully comprehend human behaviours, and the way he acted was so sweet and a little funny, especially to Isobel’s hunger and tears.
As far as side characters go, I LOVED March and May, Isobel’s sisters. As goats that were subject to a Fair Folk enchantment that transformed them into humans, I’d never read about characters like these before and they definitely provided a little comedy and originality.
Isobel and Rook encounter many other Fair Folk on their journey, and each was very different, but as I do not want to ruin anything I’m going to keep my mouth shut. Let’s just say that there are characters whose motives and actions are a little dubious, some that want to help and some that are just downright evil. The Fair Folk all have a tell, something that makes it obvious that they aren’t human despite their glamour, like their height, or too sharp cheekbones, or longer fingers. Throughout their journey the pair battle Fairy beasts, creatures made of earth and human remains that they attempt to cover with a glamour of an animal. Both of which are again original aspects of a Fae story for me and added not only another threat, but another dimension to the story too.
An Enchantment of Ravens was an enthralling, original and magical read that I would recommend to anyone who loves beautifully written fantastical journeys, Fae, romance or just a novel they can sink their teeth into and escape from the world for just a little while. I would loved to have read more about the character’s and world’s future (basically I just need more) but think it ended on a sweet and pleasing note that satisfied me. I can’t wait for Rogerson’s future books as this might just have secured her as a favourite author of mine. I think I’m going to have to read it all over again. A solid 4.5/5 stars from me – I just wish it were longer! An Enchantment of Ravens is out today.
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