Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

With a flick of her paintbrush, Isobel creates stunning portraits for a dangerous set of clients: the fair folk. These immortal creatures cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and they trade valuable enchantments for Isobel’s paintings. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—Isobel makes a deadly mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, a weakness that could cost him his throne, and even his life.

Furious, Rook spirits Isobel away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously amiss in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending upon each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, perhaps even love . . . a forbidden emotion that would violate the fair folks’ ruthless laws, rendering both their lives forfeit. What force could Isobel's paintings conjure that is powerful enough to defy the ancient malice of the fairy courts?

Isobel and Rook journey along a knife-edge in a lush world where beauty masks corruption and the cost of survival might be more frightening than death itself.

Frankly, I had no idea how anyone knew if they were in love in the first place. Was there ever a single thread a person could pick out of the knot and say "Yes--I am in love--here's the proof!" or was it always caught up in a wretched tangle of ifs and buts and maybes?

My Review:

It took me a moment to really get into this book, about three or so chapters longer than I give most slow-starting books. There was something about Isobel that kept me turning the pages. While she is somewhat passive through much of the book, there are points when she takes control or manipulates a situation and comes out better off than she might have been if she had been active through the entire book. Truly, it was more realistic than a heroine constantly taking control. People have their moments, and I appreciated that Rogerson moved back and forth from leading to following and back again throughout the book.

As for the fair folk, I adored her small details and more famous folklore to create a somewhat different atmosphere from most fae-centered books. The Green Well, the Barrow Lord, the Good Law… all inspired and well fleshed out concepts and adaptations.

I found myself pulled into Rook’s story but also thoroughly annoyed with him several times (which I suspect was the author’s plan.) And who could forget March and May? The goats turned into literal kids, also known as Isobel’s accidental sisters brought about by an enchantment gone wrong.

I was slightly disappointed that Isobel’s raven enchantment was not a bigger part of the story considering the book is titled An Enchantment of Ravens. I suppose one could say Rook is the enchantment, but still, if we go the route of directly giving the main character a flock of ravens, then we should use them fully!

The action is not overwhelming but is enough to keep you turning pages, and with a few kissing scenes, it kept the romance flowing as well. Far from erotica, it does have a steamy moment or two, but they are tasteful and controlled, appropriate for the YA audience, in my opinion.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would like to read more by this author.

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