An Enchantment of Ravens was my most anticipated debut of 2017. I even did a Waiting on Wednesday post about it! The incredibly talented Charlie Bowater tweeted about this book and I fell instantly in love with it because it’s about Faeries! I listened to the audiobook last December, but it really wasn’t for me. Unfortunately, the narration didn’t feel right and iI was really bothered by i. Luckily, I got a beautiful hardback copy for Christmas! I really do love this book so much more now I don’t have to listen to “bad” narration! Here’s my spoiler free review.
“Ah, but you were not a pawn. All along, you have been the queen.”
Books about Faeries are my absolute favourite. I’ve read quite a lot of them, and although all these stories are different, there are also quite a few similarities. I was very curious to see what An Enchantment of Ravens was going to be like. Would it be all sunshine and rainbows? Or would it be super dark and twisted? Well, I’m beyond excited to say it was definitely that last one. It was dark, gruesome and even a little bit disgusting at times and I absolutely LOVED it! There were a lot of new elements in the book that I hadn’t seen before (like the Fair Folk not being able to do Craft) and of course we also had the “familiar” elements (like how they use glamours on everything all the time so they seem beautiful while in fact their disgusting creatures). Oh boy, I loved it so, so, SO MUCH.
For me, the characters were a bit “ruined” because of the audiobook narration, which I listened to first. When I started reading, I had to force myself not to imagine the character’s voices, because I didn’t like them at all. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite put it out of my mind and it slipped in every once in a while. I just couldn’t forget and because of that, I liked some of the characters (like Rook, Gadfly and Lark) much less. I did love Rook much better than before, but there was still something about him… I did love Isobel, though! I felt like she was such down to earth, real character who loves art and makes odd comparisons when talking about the Fair Folk but it worked.
Something I hadn’t realised when listening to the audiobook, is the insta-love between Isobel and Rook. An Enchantment of Ravens starts a bit slow, but the love was there – literally out of nowhere – from the start. There was literally no reason for them to be in love other than the fact that Isobel painted his portrait and it started to bother me a little bit towards the end. There isn’t much dept to their relationship. But to be honest, though, I really didn’t mind. This was really the kind romance where you could just shut your brain off and enjoy the ride. I love how the bickered with each other and complicated they sometimes made it for each other. It was also quite hilarious sometimes! The humour was very welcome, as it was an unexpected part of the book.
As for the Autumn vibes… I didn’t really feel them. I mean, didn’t we all feel like this was the perfect Autumn book? I mean, look at that cover! And an Autumn prince? Yes, please! Unfortunately, it wasn’t very Autumn-ish. Thinking about it, I missed some essential world building. There was enough, but I’m still curious. There’s something about the Fearie Courts and Whimsy that’s apparently different from the World Beyond. But how/why is there a difference? Is Whimsy a part of that World Beyond? I don’t think we got an explanation and I kind of really wish to know! I’d also love to see even more of the Courts, but again, we didn’t really get that, either.
I liked the plot twists at the end, but it also went a little fast. Like, it’s as if we’ve fast forwarded to the end because suddenly things went so fast and I gotta admit that I could not keep up when I was listening to the audiobook. It was easier to follow along when just reading the book but… It just missed something. Or maybe some things should’ve been different? The villain, for example, really only came into the story towards the end, which was a bit confusing. We’d read of him before, but we didn’t get enough info to truly say “Omg, that’s a badass villain!” because he really wasn’t. The other sort of “villain” was much more epic and sinister. I loved it! I was so confused but it was honestly something I wanted to be confused about because it’s a Fair One and it made sense!
I do desperately wanted to rate An Enchantment of Ravens five stars because I really do love it, but I just don’t think it would be honest. Yes, I love this book, but it’s not worth five stars. It’s wonderful and whimsical and dark and twisted and it’s definitely my kind of book, I just think it could’ve been a little bit better.
About An Enchantment of Ravens
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.
Isn’t An Enchantment of Raven‘s cover beautiful? Have you read the book yet?
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