In Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel, An Enchantment of Ravens, a skilled human painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince. Filled to the brim with folklore and beautiful prose, An Enchantment of Ravens is a must read for fans of the genre – and especially those who love all things faeries!
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.
I was on the fence about whether or not I would love An Enchantment of Ravens – but after reading it, I am so glad that I did! This is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of Fall 2017, and I know I would have been missing out had a I not read it. The combination of the gorgeous, poetic writing, the intricately flowing tale and the relationship between Isobel and Rook made for a wonderful read.
Isobel and Rook had an interesting relationship right from the beginning, and even after their feelings for one another began to take hold, I absolutely adored the quirky, sarcastic tone of their relationship as they danced around the Fae’s “Good Law” (which forbids mortals and Fae from falling in love). Isobel is absolutely unyielding in her values and morals, causing Rook, who for his part is mostly aloof and pompous, to reconsider what he knows of humans. And as he falls for her, he develops a respect of her. This is not to say that their relationship is all about Isobel getting exactly what she wants – as much as I adore strong female characters, I do tend to frown upon relationships wherein one half of the relationships gets everything they want at the detriment of the other. No, Isobel and Rook have a relatively balanced relationship, both respecting the values and limitations of the other.
The tale that Rogerson wove is also both poetic in nature and intricately complex. While the beautifully written lines of the story draw the reader in, entrancing them in a world so elegantly and intricately described – painted, almost – the plot itself is just as intricate and stunning as the prose. Twisting and winding from the very beginning, Rogerson takes readers on a journey that is worthy of any Fae kingdom, lined with Fae Lords, promises made and broken, twisting words and lies unspoken, all leading to a stunning climax that will leave readers wishing this wasn’t (currently) a stand-alone novel!
Overall, as is likely evident, I really enjoyed this read. While I wasn’t expecting a “journey” story, I quickly found myself drawn in my Rogerson’s writing style and the character’s individuality and quirky interactions. From there, the intriguing plot and equally engaging character relationships had me hooked. So if you’re a fan of all things Fantasy and Fae, this one is definitely worth the read (4/5)!