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.
Know when you are excited but still kinda wary about a book? That was me with An Enchantment of Ravens. I had heard wonderful things about this book, but the blurb made me a bit wary because I’m just not the person for YA fantasy books that focus on romance. I usually hate the guys, don’t care about the girls and am in general very annoyed with everything going on. Still, the reviews I read for this one praised it a lot for its writing so I decided to give it a try. I’m happy to say I’m not disappointed.
The writing is indeed gorgeous and yes, the book focuses 100% on the romance, but I actually enjoyed it. The reason? Rook. He was so different from the usual boring hot love interests in YA – I loved, for example, how his flaws were obvious and not excused (he’s super vain and arrogant), and his lack of understanding of mortal issues (like eating) was so endearing. Even his relationship with Isobel convinced me and I loved their dynamic.
(This might sound petty, but it just made it more clear to me how the fae of Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses are annoying and, honestly, boring. I loved the faeries of An Enchantment of Ravens).
The book would be damn near perfect for me if not for two things: how easy the ending was and the lack of explanation about some things.
Example: why is it forbidden for faeries and humans to fall in love? It’s the Good Law, all right, but that’s it? The Elder King said so millennia ago because he was feeling like it, I guess? Which, okay, fine, I can understand, but it does feel a bit deliberate.
Second example: Rook’s emotions. Why can Rook feel stuff if the others faeries can’t? (And since faeries can’t feel anything, why does the Good Law even exist? I mean, the love had to be mutual for the Law to be broken, but how could it be mutual if faeries can’t fall in love?). I wish all of this had been explained and I don’t believe it would’ve been hard. As it is, it feels like a lot of the book’s conflict exists because the plot said so and not because it has a plausible reason for existing.
Now, the ending…. I liked it, but it happened too fast and the final fight, so to speak, was just too easy. I get why it went like that and again, I liked it, but it was a bit anticlimactic.
I wish this book was a series, honestly. There is just so much I wanted to know (like, why were the faerie lands dying/rotting? Was it just because the Elder King was asleep?) and it felt like the author didn’t have the space/time to show everything. But An Enchantment of Ravens was still an awesome book and I would recommend it to anyone. 4.0 stars.