Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

309697415 out of 5 Stars!!!

Sometimes there are books you’re drawn to from the very beginning. Whether it’s the cover, a book excerpt, a recommendation from a friend…

I actually read a blog post on query writing that featured the query for An Enchantment of Ravens several months ago, before the book hit shelves. I can see why the agent snatched this one up right away.

Plus with that gorgeous cover… I knew I had to read it!

The Blurb

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.

My Thoughts

I loved this book so much!

The concept is breathtaking–a talented portrait artist with the ability to paint feelings into her subjects. The descriptions of the paint and the creation of the art, everything from stretching canvases to hand-mixing pigments, are startlingly beautiful. But the beauty didn’t stop there. The writing style was very easy to read but poetic at the same time. Very few authors are able to find that balance, which makes it especially impressive for a debut author like Rogerson.

The characters and interactions were thrilling. Isobel is young but far from naive. It’s impossible to work regularly with the fair folk and not become a bit cynical, especially after losing her parents to brutal fairy creatures. But this book isn’t all about the vicious games of the fairies. Isobel’s aunt and hilarious adopted “siblings” (who happen to not actually be quite human) add a whole layer of humanity to the story and made me both want to laugh out loud and cry at several points within the story.

Through her work as a portrait artist, Isobel meets Rook, who happens to be the ruler of the autumn court. Isobel becomes infatuated with Rook during the weeks while she paints his portrait–ruminating over his face and wondering why she can’t get it just right. She ends up painting sorrow into his eyes, a very human emotion that the fae see as weakness. Rook is humiliated and returns to drag Isobel to his court to face trial for her “crime”.

Because the fae are nothing if not violent and vain. The descriptions of the fae and their courts are haunting and somewhat disturbing. Even Rook, who keeps up a glamor of a handsome copper haired gentleman, is monstrous beneath the layer of magic. So when Isobel is dragged away by Rook, she fears for the worst.

But it turns out to seem more like an excuse to spend more time with her… Although this story is magical and somewhat violent, it is first and foremost a romance. The plot altogether is rather simplistic, possibly my only real complaint about this novel. I was actually floored by how straightforward and simple the story line was. But in the end, I was still on the edge of my seat right up to the end of the book

I can happily give An Enchantment of Ravens 5 out of 5 stars! I’m looking forward to see what else Rogerson has up her sleeve for future novels 🙂

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