Thursday, September 7, 2017

An Enchanting Yet Disappointing Story

Title: An Enchantment of Ravens
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: September 26th, 2017!
*I picked up a copy of this at ALA Annual.

From Goodreads...
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 Review!
What first drew me in was the writing. It was lovely, and it fit so much better than the writing in The Cruel Prince did for that book (see here I was trying NOT to make comparisons because that’s not exactly fair, but WELL, after reading two fae stories nearly back-to-back, I can’t help it). The world was small, yes, but it was vibrant. And I was, well, enchanted. So enchanted that I didn’t seem to care that there was barely a plot until the book hit an underwhelming climax that brought one weakness of the story into stark relief.

The romance started out as insta-love, which made what happened throughout the end not as believable as the author wanted it to be. I’m not opposed to instant attraction and lust, but the readers are not given the time to feel love in the beginning, when Rook and Isobel spend over a month on his portrait. To be fair, the relationship does grow throughout the rest of the story. It moves from tense distrust and confusion to a wary friendship born of survival. So I did like that, but sometimes the love felt forced, and I wanted to see it naturally evolve.

But that was kind of the only thing this book was about. There just wasn’t much to it? A huge part of it was about Isobel’s skill for making faeries feel and think and remember, and there were some fairyland subplots weaved in-between, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. It had all the makings of a favorite but fell short when it was abruptly spun into a fanciful tale that ended in a way that did fit the book, yes, but was super dissatisfying after a fantastic start.

I enjoyed it a hell of a lot, though. The characters, especially. I really did love both Isobel, extraordinary painter who knows better than to entangle herself with one of the fair folk, and Rook, arrogant autumn prince who loves the humans more than his kind says he should. That should have made for a hate-to-love romance I could get behind, but I wish this had been longer to make it more developed. Because the road to the epilogue was dependent on their love, I needed that.

I am, however, here for more illustrated covers. This one is so pretty, and I love that it’s her and the raven, which has much significance in the story. It is so whimsical. But I’ve mixed feelings on this book as a whole. It’s sad because this was one of my highly anticipated fall reads. *sigh* It was very different from The Cruel Prince, though, which was good since I read them so close together. An Enchantment of Ravens was certainly an engrossing book, but one where the enchantment didn’t last.


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