An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Published September 26, 2017
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.
First of all, look at that beautiful cover from Charlie Bowater, one of my favorite artists. (In person, it is also a bit shimmery and gorgeous.)
I feel as though I’m in the minority of people who was not utterly enchanted by this book. While I believe An Enchantment of Ravens is a wonderful debut, there were a few problems that I had with the lack of development of both the world and some of the characters that are repeatedly mentioned. While only so much can be covered in 300 pages, parts of it felt really unfinished.
My main complaint is the shallowness in the relationships between the main character Isobel and her family members. Her “little sisters” seem thrown into the story almost purely for the whimsical and magical aspect rather than anything to further the story. The scenery, while described in the beginning, seems to drop off as the book continues and the character travels.
The main love interest, Rook, while full of funny quips and questions, in many cases seems a bit naive for a Fae who is supposedly thousands of years old. While he may not be used to human culture, his childishness was a little too overplayed for my taste. GIVE ME POSSESSIVE FAE MALES. *ahem*
Perhaps part of my negativity comes from just having reread the entire A Court of Thorns and Roses series, which has (in my opinion) such deep characters and vivid world. An Enchantment of Ravens is marketed to more of a middle-grade audience, so there is considerably less physical romance occurring and it is all around more innocent. Does this mean I’m officially outgrowing middle-grade fantasy ??? D: D: D:
Don’t be dissuaded if this was initially something you thought you might like. As stated previously, a lot of people absolutely ADORED this book (including people whose tastes I hold in high regard). Maybe this was just a kind of “right read, wrong time” book for me. Perhaps I’ll pick it up again in the future. There is a bit of an open ending which implies that there may be more books if the publisher is so inclined to sign more.