Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
|Rating: 5 Stars|
Summary: 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.
Review: Wow. Just… wow. I loved this book. I can't believe this is Margaret Rogerson's debut novel, either. As soon as I finished reading An Enchantment of Ravens, I immediately went to see if I could find more books by her and followed her author profile on Goodreads.
Julia Whelan did a phenomenal job narrating this book. The second thing I did after finishing this book (after desperately searching for more to read by Margaret Rogerson) is to go on Audible and look up other books Julia Whelan has narrated. She is just amazing to listen to. Julia reads with a depth of feeling that really embellishes the text, without overdoing it and sending it into absurdity. This is impressive as she voices several non-human characters with somewhat mercurial ranges of emotion. I now want to read this book again in print, rather than listening to it, to see how much of my love was the book itself and how much can be contributed to Julia's reading of it.
This books has so many classic elements of faeries, and I love Rogerson's fantasy and almost-horror interpretation of the fae folk. I've been on a romance kick for a while now, but this stirred up a thirst in me and sent me searching for more fantasy with a focus on the fae. I love Isobel's relationship with her fae patrons, especially with Gadfly and Rook. I found myself with tears welling in my eyes on more than one occasion, and this book resonated with me, touching something in my heart that is filled with a yearning, keening longing. Isobel is challenged throughout to book to question her preconceived notions and what she knows to be true, as well as being placed in a situation which seems to basically be up against a rock and a hard place, with no real good solution. I admire her resourcefulness, her strength, and her courage of conviction. And, oh Lord, Rook… *dreamy sigh* My poor, sweet, confused Rook. I just want to hug him and squish him and call him mine.
You know you've stumbled across a real jewel when you're ready to read it again immediately upon finishing it. I even listened to all the audible credits and nonsense at the end because I wasn't ready for it to end!