Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens


An Enchantment of Ravens
by Margaret Rogerson

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication date: September 26, 2017
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Ebook, 304 pages
My rating: 3/5 ★
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.

An Enchantment of Ravens has been all over bookstagram lately, and when I heard how much everyone seemed to love it, I knew I had to give it a try. This is one of those books that I probably wouldn't have picked up if it weren't for the online book community, and for once I don't think I would've really missed out on anything. Because somehow, this book and I didn't really click.

First of all, the plot. The goodreads synopsis tells you all you need to know: We follow Isobel, a human painter who sells her Craft to fairies in return for fairy enchantments. When the prince of the autumn court comes to take her away, our real adventure begins. Isobel and Rook travel together until they somehow arrive at the spring court, where they end up having to face the consequences for their actions. To me, the plot was all over the place. It starts out with Rook taking Isobel with him to the autumn court, but they never even arrive there. Instead, new problems and threats pop up out of nowhere until the previous ones are long forgotten. In the end, everything falls magically into place by - if I may say so: not very spectacularly - resolving the most recent issue. All in all, it just didn't work for me, most of all because I found the world building to be lacking.

Secondly, the romance. I felt like this was one of the biggest selling points of this novel, yet somehow I just didn't get it. First of all, can someone please explain to me how this instalove has so many people swooning? I thought instalove was one of those tropes where the book community comes together in dislike. This book seems to be an exception, but not for me. It was like Wintersong all over again - I just didn't see the appeal of Rook, and I felt like the author wasn't even trying to make him appealing. Isobel just magically fell in love at the beginning of the story and we were to accept that for what it was. I was hoping for a slow burn, well developed romance, but unfortunately what I got was far from that.

So, what did I like about this book? First and foremost, Isobel's family and especially her sisters. They were unique, quirky and strange but still very likable. Unfortunately, there was far too little of them in the story but what we did get of them, I really enjoyed. I also liked Rogerson's writing style. It was easy to read but not bland, and it kept me going even though I wasn't enjoying myself that much for big parts of the book. All in all, I would say this book was decent, but since I was expecting extraordinary, I can't help but be disappointed.