An Enchantment of Ravens was a beautifully written book that kept my attention from start to finish!
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.
An Enchantment of Ravens was wonderful! I think my favorite thing about this book was how sophisticated the language was. There were words in here that I don’t often see while reading, which was awesome! I like it when authors include words we don’t usually use on a day-to-day basis, especially when it feels natural and not like they were writing with a thesaurus by their side. The sentences flowed very well, and the tone was formal without feeling stuffy.
I also liked the characters. Isobel is the main character in this book. She’s a no-nonsense type of girl who tries her hardest to think with her head and not her heart. Despite this, she is still very caring and humble. She tries her hardest to hold herself and her family together, even if this makes her seem cold-hearted at times. She’s just a great character all around!
I think my favorite characters were March and May. These two little girls used to be goats until a fair one decided to turn them into humans on a whim. Isobel and her Aunt Emma decide to adopt the two, despite the fact that they still have some goat-like tendencies. I thought this was a very creative subplot, as I’ve never read anything like it before. March and May added so much lightheartedness to this book, which helped relieve the tension at certain points in the story. I just wish they had more appearances!
I had a couple of issues with this book that prevented me from giving it five stars. The first thing that bothered me was the beginning. The reader is kind of thrown into the story with little explanation of the terms that were being used. Words like Whimsy and The Green Well were just inserted into the dialogue and weren’t explained until later. This made for a confusing couple of chapters. They DO get explained, though, just not right away.
Also, the end of the book felt a bit rushed. There was a lot going on in the last few pages, and I was caught up in the action and glued to the page. However, the last chapter ends abruptly after the action is over. In fact, it almost feels as if the scene is left unfinished before the book moves on to the epilogue. I just needed more of a denouement before the epilogue. The epilogue was great, though! It ended the book perfectly, although I still have some questions left unanswered by it.
The main thing that bothered me, though, was the setting. There is a human village called Whimsy in what must be Fairyland. Whimsy was very undefined. I had so many questions about it, like where these humans came from, whether they were there of their own free will or if the fair ones kidnapped them, etc. There were also brief mentions of how the people of Whimsy could only get certain items from the human world, but it was very dangerous to acquire them. It was never explained who went and got these items, or why it was dangerous, or even what these items were. I just had so many questions that went unanswered.
This was a great book that drew me in and didn’t let me go until the end of the epilogue. While I had some issues with the setting, I still highly recommend this book! I give An Enchantment of Ravens four out of five stars.
QUOTES I LIKED:
The fairy beast lowered its head and bellowed across the field, a deep, rousing, and putrid sound, as though someone had blown into an ancient hunting horn stuffed full of rotting moss – 5%
Two of the trees hiked up their roots and shuffled aside, in a rather hasty, anxious way, as though they were a pair of bewildered matrons at whom he’d just hurled a billiard ball. – 26%
“Somehow I’ve even grown fond of your – your irritating questions and your short legs and your accidental attempts to kill me.”
I recoiled. “That’s the worst declaration of love I’ve ever heard!”