Author: Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
First Published: September 26, 2017
Genres: Fantasy Romance, High Fantasy, Young Adult
Isobel is an artistic prodigy with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread 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, Rook spirits her away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously wrong in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending on each other 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.
I won’t lie, I’m a sucker for beautiful covers and the cover for this book is easily one of my all-time favorites. The world-building in this book is pretty great, filled to the brim with fantastic imagery and seasonal-based nature magic. I also really loved that this book was heavily focused on the magic of art, which had a power all its own totally separate from the actual fairy magic. My favorite part of the book was the darker take on fairy folklore that I found to be both beautiful and haunting at the same time. I liked all of the fairy side characters, their flamboyant personalities bordered on being monstrous and I really enjoyed the way that these characters were portrayed.
“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?”
Now this book suffers from two factors which made it hard for me to decide how I felt about it. One was the romance, which already spells trouble given that this is a fantasy romance novel. It was a classic case of instalove, and when romance is the central theme of the story I need to be convinced – the book just didn’t do that for me, even by the end of the novel. I liked both Isobel and Rook and wanted to root for them, but the romance between them felt a little forced.
The other issue I had was the basis for the plot itself, as outlined in the synopsis. Isobel paints human emotion in Rook’s eyes and is taken captive to stand trial, which sounds a bit lame and apparently was just a shaky excuse as the trial and punishment part gets dropped almost immediately. From there the reason the two travel together seems unclear and the middle part of the book dragged a little bit.
While An Enchantment of Ravens wasn’t a stellar read for me, it was still fun, fast, and broke my reading slump. I’m happy that I read it and I think it could be a favorite for the right readers, especially those that are into fantasy romance novels such as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Rogerson has the potential to be great and I’d be more than happy to read more of her books in the future.
Warnings: mild violence