An Enchantment of Ravens
by Margaret Rogerson
What is it about:
A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
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. 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—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight 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.
What did I think of it:
I was totally lured in by the cover, I will confess. The story did sound cool as well, which left me with the fact that it was priced over my self-imposed limit of 10 Euro for a book. Luckily I got spending money to get myself a present for my birthday, so I decided that in that case I was allowed to go a bit over my limit.
And this is a beautiful read.
The faeries in this book are based on existing faerie lore, but also have they're unique rules. I was intrigued by them from the start.
The town of Whimsy, where Isobel lives is a human town, but it's sort of under Faerie protection, giving it an eternal summer. I will confess I wouldn't have minded if that part of the story had been explored a bit more. Instead it focuses on the fair folk and Isobel. I loved Isobel's number one client, Gadfly, who is used to introduce the reader to the fair folk and their peculiarities. Luckily he made a return appearance after the main story kicked off.
As for that main story - the trials and tribulations of Isobel and Rook: it was so good!
I wouldn't have minded if their meeting, and the painting of Rook's portrait, had been longer. But even with those weeks of painting condensed to be able to jump into the action, I very much enjoyed the start of their relationship. Once Rook takes Isobel into Faerie I was totally rooting for both of them to survive. Faerie is a dangerous and beautiful place. I loved both the story and the characters, and couldnt put the book down until I finished it.
It looks like this is a standalone, and the ending is satisfying. Even though: I wouldn't mind a sequel or companion novel that explores more of this world and the characters that inhabit it. I'm keeping an eye out for the next book by Rogerson.
Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful YA Fantasy read.
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