Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel, An Enchantment of Ravens, has been one of my most anticipated 2017 releases ever since I first heard about it. I think I’m really just a sucker for any novel that centers around fae. Why are they like the coolest fantasy creatures ever? And why aren’t they feature in more books? These are the questions that keep me up at night. Also, let’s all just take a moment and look at that gorgeous cover designed by the amazingly talented Charlie Bowater… STUNNING.
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.
What can I say about Rogerson’s writing style? It has a very strong lyrical and atmospheric quality that reminded me of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and the more recent novel by Meagan Spooner, Hunted. Rogerson does a wonderful job of creating this amazing setting that can immediately transport you into the story. I loved that she chose to show the more traditional not-so-pretty side of Fae, rather than the current perfectionist view that tends to dominate their portrayal in YA. I want to see them as the real mysterious, yet dangerous creatures that they are, and Rogerson does that perfectly!
I liked Isobel as a character. I found her to be fairly similar to Feyre in ACOTAR, in that they are both strong and independent, but ultimately succumb to the fear of the unknown once they are pulled into the Fae world. I saw some people complaining on Goodreads that they thought Isobel begins making stupid decisions once she meets Rook, but I found that to be pretty realistic. I mean, hell, if I met some gorgeous guy and then found out he was super dangerous and got dragged into whatever it is that he’s involved with, I’d probably end up making some very questionable choices too. Fear is a very powerful and chaotic thing, people! Either way, I liked Isobel and didn’t really see any issues with her choices. I also loved how protective she was of her family. Her, Sarah, May and March are my new favorite family unit. I’m suddenly really wanting to turn some goats into human twin sisters and watch them eat random shit, haha!
Then you have the Fae characters… Rook is the ultimate love interest. I think he’s kind of a mixture of Lucien and Rowan Whitethorn. You definitely can tell how dangerous and powerful he is, and yet his lack of understanding human emotions and social cues is freaking hilarious. His interactions with Isobel were wonderful, especially when she uses sarcasm. Gadfly is another interesting character. He’s the ultimate trickster and you never can figure out what his true goal is. I think he might actually be my favorite character. I really appreciate a good mystery and that is definitely what Gadfly is.
I didn’t have any big issues with this story. I thought it was written beautifully and full of intriguing characters. You could make an argument that it involves a bit of insta-love, however, I didn’t really feel that was the case. I found it to be a natural progression of attraction to mutual understanding and finally, love. I only wish that this book had been just a little bit longer and used the extra length to really focus on the summer court, as the climax felt a little rushed.
This novel turned out to be everything that I wanted and more. It was beautiful, dark, and features one of my favorite tropes, the forbidden romance. I would love for Rogerson to continue writing stories set in this world, as I think there’s so much opportunity for expansion. I need more, more, MORE! Rogerson has immediately captured my attention with this debut novel and I look forward to whatever she writes next!
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Have you read An Enchantment of Ravens? What did you think of it? Do you like the portrayal of Fae in it? What did you think of Isobel as a character?