AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Pub Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Source: ARC from ALAAC 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.
I sort of knew I would either love or hate An Enchantment of Ravens as soon as I heard of it.
Wait, wait, let me explain. The thing about fairy/fae/fey stories is that I’ve read so many that I’m very picky about them. There’s something like Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, which I love, and then there’s something like SJM’s take on the fey, which is very meh for me, to say the least. So I went into this book a little hesitantly, unsure of which version I would get.
Guys, this book is definitely the good version. Possibly the best version ever.
Let me back up. The book starts very strong, and you’re immediately thrust into the story. The best thing by far was the main character’s (Isobel) voice. Even now, I can picture her perfectly in my mind, her very practical and sensible but also wicked smart and a bit fiery personality. In case you can’t tell, I sort of loved her. Like a lot.
Isobel is an artist. Hearing her talk about her love for painting resonated so deep with me, because it’s how I feel about my “craft”, the written (~hint~) word (AKA writing). She has a really unique job—she paints portraits of the fey, AKA people you do not want to mess with.
And those fey are not the kind of fair folk you see in SJM’s books (which hardly count as fey in my opinion). They’re much more like the kind in Julie Kagawa’s books, if you’re familiar with them and looking for a comparison. These are incredibly smart and cruel and old creatures that you do not want to mess with. And Isobel knows this. It was so refreshing to see an MC actually be afraid of them (or at least aware of their power) instead of ignoring that just because they’re “beautiful” or say a few heart-fluttering compliments.
It’s not just Isobel that I loved, it was her entire support system. It was her adorable family, including her two little sisters that were once goats and were turned into humans by a fey (yes, I still laugh about this). All of the cast, main or otherwise, was lovable, and if not, at the very least they were well-crafted characters.
The plot and pacing were perfect. From the first page, I knew I was going to love this book. I was never, ever bored—this is the kind of book you stay up all night reading, telling yourself just one more chapter. There is something in this story for everyone, whether you’re there for the gorgeous prose, tales of the fair folk, fights with immortal and terrifying creatures, and perhaps the best thing, a heartbreakingly beautiful romance.
I’m not going to lie—this was probably the best romance I’ve read in YA in a long, long, long time. Rook, the Autumn prince, is Isobel’s love interest, and dear god, I was in love with him the second he’s introduced. He was hilarious without meaning to be, but he was also kind and sooooo charming. But, don’t forget, he’s also a super deadly creature, with strength beyond Isobel’s wildest dreams and a touch of cruelty that reminded me how dangerous he really was.
(In case you’re worried about that last line, don’t worry. I swear this is a healthy relationship—as much as one can be, considering the circumstances in the story—and there are no harmful tropes or clichés. It’s just pure, sweet adorableness that you will absolutely fall in love with)
Isobel and Rook are the perfect couple, and yes, I know I say this for a lot of reviews. But I really mean it this time. They were almost polar opposites, but they complemented each other so well. This isn’t exactly a slow burn love, but it is very, very well developed and their development was so well done. It felt 100% real and dear god, just thinking about it now makes me want to cry because it was amazing and everything I could have ever wanted.
I honestly have nothing bad to say about this book. Everything from the ground up was perfect, starting with the beautiful writing and ending with the incredible character arcs, romance, and story. My only complaint is that it’s a standalone book, something that definitely made me cry when I found out (I’m not kidding, there is proof on twitter). I wish there was more to Isobel and Rook’s story, but I’m pretty happy with the ending.
So yes, you 110% need to buy this book when it is published soon. This is the kind of book you call sick into work for because you need to devote an entire day to its masterful storytelling.
(And as a PS—that cover is absolutely gorgeous and I every time I see it I cry because that is the kind of cover I dream of having one day)
Overall, An Enchantment of Ravens is one of the best books in YA. It has every element necessary to a good story: well-crafted characters, a lead with an unforgettable voice, a riveting plot, and an achingly beautiful romance. I mean, if you got to this point in my review, you need to buy this book because I promise, it’s worth it. If you need me, I’ll be shouting my love of it from the rooftops for the rest of my life.
I decided to open the rafflecopter early so you guys can get your entries for daily comments in as you go! Remember, don’t forget to collect all the secret words and only enter the *entire* secret message at the end! The full details are here, but as a reminder, this is open internationally!