An Enchantment of Ravens | Book Review

Title: An Enchantment of Ravens
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publish Date: September 26, 2017
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Kindle eBook

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.

This standalone fantasy novel was one that instantly took me into its pages, with its faerie premise, forbidden romance, and dangers in unexpected places, this book was a fast, fun read.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this because I actually didn’t know what it was about. I had read the synopsis a long time ago and had forgotten it, and so going into it completely blind was a fun experience for me. I found that the faerie aspect – the fair folk aspect – was done very well in the sense that Rogerson really captured the essence of the fae and their ethereal beauty and lack of human emotion or compassion, while also showing that each had a flaw somewhere in their glamour. It really tied in with what I hope for in faerie stories: showcasing the fae in such a way that they are “other” or “apart” from humans. It felt believable and real for the world it was written for.

The romance was a “slow burn” in the sense that the time that elapsed in the story was over months of time. Though the plot and story of the book itself was fast, the romance didn’t feel rushed or didn’t feel like it was instant. There was mutual attraction from the beginning, or something of the like, and it felt organic in the way that it grew.

I felt as though the plot was very centered around the romance, but it was also centered around the ego and how passion can turn something beautiful and dangerous. I did, however, find myself slightly upset when the plot didn’t go the way I was hoping – which isn’t a bad thing! I had hoped to see one part of the world it was set it, but we got a different part of the world, which was interesting to see how some of the fair folk lived and acted. But I also felt that some threads of the plot were off or thrown by the change and didn’t necessarily make sense or were very convenient. But again, there’s nothing wrong with this because it worked for the story.

I found myself enjoying Isobel’s character, while also finding her a bit too… mature for her age? I’m not sure if that’s the right word I’m looking for, but I was kind of hoping she would be in her twenties and be a prodigy painter and falling in love, but reading about a seventeen year old prodigy falling in love was still sweet. I’ve seen some amazing works teens can produce, so it’s not out of the realm of reality by any means. She was smart, careful, caring, and felt real.

Rook, as well, felt real and I enjoyed seeing how Rogerson portrayed him as having some sort of human emotion in him locked away. He was definitely powerful as a fae prince, and I really liked the aspect of how faerie magic could work in this world by using blood, and how the amount could affect how strong the effect was. He was a kind of stoic and broody character at times, but there were moments of tenderness, ferocity, and bravery that were great to see.

There were other characters along with the main two that really captured what deals with faeries could be like, and how just being around them could make a person more cautious. Gadfly, a patron of Isobel’s who has strong magic and a desire for art; March and May, Isobel’s sisters who were actually goats before being turned into humans; Lark, an excitable young fair folk who had never met a human before, and others who brought the story more depth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! There were a few things that I found myself questioning, but I also found myself just enjoying the story for what it was, the rich world that was created, the monsters, the fae, the characters. It was an overall fun read and I recommend it if you’re looking for a standalone fantasy romance.

★★★★☆

2020 Reading Goals & Challenges

We’re still quite early on in December, but I wanted to talk about some of my reading goals and challenges that I’m setting for myself in 2020 because, let’s be real, my reading the past few years has been a bit lackluster. So I really want to challenge myself to read novels again (and keep up with webcomics, of course, which has been 90% of what I’ve been reading the last few years).

Anyway, I’m also going to be talking about my year end goal for this year. It’s not much, but it’s something I’m going to hope to achieve before December is over.

So, let’s talk about them!

December 2019 Year End Goals

I have a couple of books I started reading this year, got about halfway through, and then put down and never picked up again, so I want to fix that lol (Not that I lost interest, per se, I’ve just had a very up and down mental and emotional year.)

So the books I want to complete by the end of December are:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I’m 55% of the way through as of this post, and I was loving it so much! I think I lost motivation because I ruined part of it on myself by looking ahead and just… I need to stop that lol

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I’m 39.78% of the way through the book as of this post, and again, it’s not that I wasn’t enjoying it, it was that my reading mood shifted and I just couldn’t pick it up for a while.

Those are the two primary books I want to read by the end of this year. I know I can do it; I just have to set some time to do so.

Okay, so these are some books I know I’m going to finish this month:

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – I have been listening to this audiobook on and off for… too damn long lol I have about 7.5 hours left to go as of this post, so I’m FINISHING IT DAMMIT. (The audiobook is 45 hours in length, so… it’s been a journey lol but a good one!) I love this book and can’t wait to start the next audibook – which is even longer than the first! 😀 *cry* And the third is even longer than the second… *sob* (It’s really fine. The story is fantastic so far!)

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – I started this book on a whim a few days ago because I really just wanted to read something that wasn’t a webcomic (or anything else on my shelf, clearly), and started reading this on my kindle and haven’t stopped. I’m about half way through and really enjoying it because I didn’t realize it was faeries, and I love faerie stories, so it’s been a great read for me so far.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – A few customers at my seasonal job (a bookstore) were telling me about how they or a relative/friend read this, and after reading the synopsis, I had to pick it up. WELL, I started and didn’t want to put it down, so. Definitely going to finish this book this month. It’s already magical and I’m only 24 pages into it as of writing this post.

I doubt I’ll have time to finish anything else this month, so I’ll leave other things for next year.

Speaking of, let’s talk about my goals for next year!

Reading Goals & Challenges for 2020

As I said earlier, I miss reading novels- truly, I do. And though I’ve been reading some here and there, I miss the days where I was reading 50 books in a year (about a book a week), and though I’m not aiming to hit that number again, I do want to try to read maybe half of that?

That was actually my goal for 2019, and, well… yeah, even if I read the five books above, I’d still be five short of that 25 book goal. But that’s fine! I’ll be a little disappointed in myself, but I’m not going to let it hinder me. I still read a decent amount of books – more than last year, for sure – and I’m proud of that! So, I’m going to keep that goal:

2020 Reading Goal: 25 books for the year

Now, let’s talk challenges. I want to seriously challenge myself in 2020 for a multitude of reasons, and so now I’m going to talk about some of the challenges I’m setting for myself this upcoming year:

Challenge 1: Any book on my TBR for that month MUST already exist on my shelves. That’s right. I’m going to try my best to not buy more books than I read this year. I want to seriously cut down my TBR since I’ve had some books for five years or so and haven’t touched them. (This may also include donating more books to my local library.) Of course, there will be some exceptions. But 99% of what I pick I want to already come from my shelves.

Challenge 2: Read at least three classics throughout the year. And by that, I still mean classics that are on my shelves. I mainly want to focus on Jane Austen, but I’ve got a few others I’d like to read at some point. Even though I find classics very difficult to get through, this is listed as a challenge for a reason.

Challenge 3: Complete as many reading prompts from the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge as I can. I wanted to participate in it this year, but I quickly fell off of the wagon, so I’m aiming to do as much as I can (and want) in 2020! They have such a fun list, so why not?

There’s no real reward or punishment that comes from completing or not completing these challenges other than the satisfaction of doing so. Maybe I should reward myself with chocolate or something…

Anyway, I think that’s it for my reading goals for next year! I’m not trying to push myself too hard, but rather ease myself back into reading. It’s been a rough few years mentally and emotionally, and I’ve only been recently starting to feel a little more human and less robotic. So I hope that 2020 brings a lot more happiness in the reading department as a result.

Let’s chat!

Tell me what your reading goals are for the new year! Are you planning on participating in any challenges? What are you most looking forward to next year (non-book related, if you want)? Let me know in the comments!