Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on September 26th 2017
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult, Romance
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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.
While this book wasn’t quite on my radar before its release, I was sold after trusted fantasy-loving friends remarked on how beautiful it was. After reading… I would have to agree! I think of An Enchantment of Ravens as a lighter version of Uprooted, which I was a SUPER fan of. Seriously, every time a book was compared to Uprooted I jumped on it. An Enchantment of Ravens is the closest a book has come in these comparisons, even as it stands out on its own. I love how it’s a stand-alone, I love the slow-to-develop romance, and I love the enchanting faerie world that the author creates. Fantasy lovers, you’re missing out if you haven’t picked this one up!
I like how the main character Isobel is a painter – and a very skilled one, at that. Isobel’s clients are composed of the ridiculously wealthy, yet ridiculously dangerous fair folk. The thing with these fair folk is that although they live forever, they cannot create things like humans can. Because of that, Craft is a huge commodity for them, and one that they would spend lots of money and enchantments and favors on. Because of a recommendation, Isobel gets a new patron: the immortal and mysterious autumn prince, Rook. They slowly build a friendship of sorts with their painting sessions. A bit of a crush develops on Isobel’s part. But when Isobel paints emotion in Rook’s eyes, she gets in huge trouble and gets dragged back to the autumnlands to atone for her sins, and to fix Rook’s standing as the prince of the court.
But isn’t absurdity part of being human? We aren’t ageless creatures who watch centuries pass from afar. Our worlds are small, our lives are short, and we can only bleed a little before we fall.
Since I consider this mainly a light fantasy-romance, I won’t delve much into the whole fair folk aspect. There’s a lot to discover with them and their machinations (evil or not), so I do urge readers to pick this book up to find out for themselves! The romance was what really took the cake for me in this book. It’s a quiet sort of romance that hints at bittersweetness at times, and at other times just sweetness. It’s a romance that develops quite slowly, but also honestly. It’s a romance that has sacrifice, selflessness, and danger, since fae and human relationships are a huge no-no in the book.
While the writing itself is the perfect blend of magical descriptions and captivating dialogue, Isobel’s character really made the book shine. She has this subtle humor that makes readers want to savor her conversations and comebacks. Gods, I love her character so much. She’s so honest and refreshing. At first, she has a bit of a crush on Rook but when he drags her to the autumn court, she totally regrets those thoughts – and says it to his face! (You go girl!) And while that happens at the beginning of their relationship, there’s a slow-burn romance that still develops between the two for the rest of the book.
But that was the problem with the old me, I was coming to realize. She’d accepted that behaving correctly meant not being happy, because that was the way the world worked. She hadn’t asked enough – of life, or of herself.
An Enchantment of Ravens calls to my fantasy-lover’s soul. While it employs familiar fair folk, much of the book will leave readers shrouded in mystery as they guess what will happen next. There are cutting manipulations of fair folk, intriguing dialogue, and incredible character development for Isobel. Yeah, Rook was a sweet love interest that cares for her a lot, but Isobel really was the shining star. Fantasy readers… what’s not to love about this book? I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for Robertson’s other books!
Rating: 4 out of 5