“One raven for uncertain peril. Six for danger sure to arrive. A dozen for death, if not avoided. The enchantment is sealed.”
Yesterday was the release of one my most anticipated reads of 2017- An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. Once I picked it up and started reading, I couldn’t stop. Within 5 pages I knew I wasn’t going to put it down until I read the last page- it has been a long time since a young adult fantasy took hold of me and didn’t let go and I greedily devoured it in one sitting.
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.
While I would love nothing more than to spoil the shit out of this story – I won’t, because I desperately want everyone to read it. If you aren’t new to the Young Adult Fantasy realm, you will draw some similarities between An Enchantment of Ravens and the famed ACOTAR – but stop it. Don’t you dare. An Enchantment is a lush, vibrant story that stands all on it’s own and doesn’t deserve the comparison.
Yes, there are fae, though they are called fair ones or fair folk and are simultaneously beautiful and hideous. Something always not quite right with their appearance. They resemble the fae that I always imagine in my head, wicked creatures who enjoy playing with the lives of mortals for sport.
Whimsy, the village/town in which Isobel lives with her aunt and adopted twin sisters (who are brilliantly written even with such small appearances), is almost like the in between of the world beyond (what you can imagine is our own world of magical ignorance) and then the fair folk lands, governed by seasons of course- but with a harsh beauty all their own. Whimsy’s season never changes, always a constant summer, and Isobel, at the beginning of our story craves change even though she doesn’t realize it.
The adventure begins early on, and so does the budding romance- there is humor, so much more so than you would expect and it is delivered with an effortless wit that accompanies the characters. I laughed out loud at least a dozen times, if not more. I also swooned so hard and held my breath not knowing if we would all survive.
Isobel is a fantastic character, a very self assured, self aware 17 year old who is refreshingly honest with herself and other characters.
Rook, oh my sweet Autumn Prince, is a delightfully complex character. He is also wonderfully swoon worthy, with quite possibly my favorite declaration of love since Mr. Darcy himself. I could willingly read 100 more pages of Rook just figuring out the whims of Isobel and mortals- but I also have never been more happy for a standalone fantasy. There is a sense of finality when you finish that anything more would be a disservice to the adventure and romance you just experienced.
Fantasies are a fickle thing, and rarely do you satiate your craving for worlds and characters in just one book- but Margaret Rogerson did just that. Do I want more of her fair folk lands, and Whimsy, and even her world beyond? Yes, absolutely, without any doubt. However, in my opinion, she does an exceptional job of creating this magical, brilliant world and the lands within it, beginning with page one. Nothing is over complicated, and yet it’s all intricate enough that I want to stamp my fictional passport and travel immediately to Whimsy.
My gut tells me to keep an eye on Margaret Rogerson- she has more stories to tell, and I am here for them. Every single one.