A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
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 know a lot of people didn’t like this one as much as Sorcery of Thorns and having read it, I can totally see why. Sorcery has so much more actual plot and there were some things that were improved on from a storytelling perspective which made Sorcery a more compelling read. That being said, I really loved this book. I went into it with trepidation, having seen other’s comments, and still wound up loving it in the end. I stayed up half the night reading this one, so I don’t know what higher endorsement I can give. From an emotional standpoint (because I tend to be a highly emotional reader) I was fully engaged.
An Enchantment of Ravens is basically a romance set in fantasy-land; the plot centers heavily around the relationship between the two main characters. If that’s not your bag, you’re probably going to be disappointed. If it is your bag, then welcome aboard, this book may be for you. I do think the strength of this book lies in its characters. Isobel is an interesting lead. She’s an artist to the fae who are all very strange and dangerous patrons. She lives in a town that does business with the fae, trading them their creation for wishes granted. This is an interesting concept, although you do start to wonder why people still take chances in asking the fae for enchantments when the fae are notoriously tricky and it almost always ends up being a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.
Anywho, Isobel is an artist supporting her family which consists of her aunt and two younger ‘siblings’ who are really two goats who were turned human by one of the fae. Welp. She prides her self in both her skill with a brush and her ability to negotiate with the fae. She’s confident, but not too confident, because she still has a healthy dose of caution when dealing with her fae patrons. That is, until she meets Rook, prince of the autumnlands. Rook hasn’t visited town for over a century, but suddenly he arrives, wanting Isobel to paint his portrait. He’s mysterious, but as Isobel gets to know him he seems, well, relatively normal for a fae prince.
I thought the romance in this was pretty sweet, you know, except for the whole kidnapping thing. I do appreciate that Isobel was rightfully outraged, that it cooled her feelings for Rook, and it took a long time for her to start feeling things for him again. I also appreciated how quickly Rook realized he made a giant mistake and was pretty contrite about it. It doesn’t negate what he did, but I like that he wasn’t stubborn about it, or forever insisting that he did nothing wrong. Like I said, the romance is the plot, and Isobel and Rook’s romance becomes a forbidden romance in that there’s an edict that the fae and humans can not fall in love with one another. In fact, fae aren’t supposed to be able to love at all. How do they fall in love then, what causes that? Hmm, I don’t know, let’s not look too far into it or we might spoil our enjoyment with plot holes. 😀
One thing I really appreciated was the way the fae were depicted once Isobel and Rook arrived at court with the other fae. Oh, they are very much not human, despite their glamour. They’re very creepy and hollow feeling. I love the way they’re depicted pantomiming human behavior because humans are something they’re fascinated by, but they don’t really know why exactly. I found that one of the most intriguing things about the story, these strange immortal creatures with all their magic craving something they don’t understand. Also, the boredom of immortality and the things they choose to amuse themselves with.
As far as criticisms, well, if you don’t connect with the characters or the romance you’re probably not going to enjoy this one because it’s world-building light and most of the plot centers on the relationship. I also think this leans a little towards wish fulfillment so that may be a detriment for some. Everything was a little too perfect and worked out too well. Personally, that wasn’t a negative for me. I don’t mind a little wish fulfillment now and then! Sometimes you want a book that makes you feel, well, feelings, and gives you a a satisfying ending with the faerie prince after some nice angst. This was exactly what I needed when I read it. 4/5 stars.