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.

★★★★☆

Darkfever Book Review

darkfeverTitle: Darkfever
Series: Book #1 in the Fever series
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publisher: Dell
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
Genre: Adult – Urban Fantasy
Pages: 347
Format: Purchased Paperback

When MacKayla’s sister was murdered, she left a single clue to her death, a cryptic message on Mac’s cel phone. Journeying to Ireland in search of answers, Mac is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed – a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae.

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysteriou Jericho…while at the same time, the ruthless V’lane – an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women – closes in on her. As the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: to find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book – because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control both worlds in their hands.

As this book had faeries in it, I was instantly intrigued. I’ve always loved faeries and reading about the Fae and their world, so when I picked this book up I was instantly intrigued. This book also had a great premise: a grieving sister seeking vengeance for her sister who was murdered overseas. That alone also had me wanting to read this book.

When I read it, though, I wasn’t totally sold on it, but there was still enough of the book that had me wanting to know what would happen next that I’m definitely going to continue onto the next book.

When the book started, it had me hooked – I HAD to know what would happen next. But as MacKayla was doing more in Dublin, I was actually kind of annoyed with a lot of her decisions and felt that some of the other characters had a lot of similar personalities, so they kind of blended in together.

But I will say that I did enjoy reading about the Fae and the different types within this book, and that there was a whole other world that was joined with ours that was right under our noses. That sort of aspect of the world building intrigued me by far. The Shades, the Gray Man, the Many-Mouths-Thing, all of the different kinds of Fae were interesting and held their own sort of stories and folklore behind them that really made them come to life on the pages.

So let me talk a bit about MacKayla and some of the other characters. MacKayla was kind of really prissy in this book. I found a lot of what she said or thought to be annoying in the way a bratty kid who got everything she wanted and her way to be said. The tone came across that way on occasion – not always. She also praised her appearance way more often than was necessary. Don’t get me wrong – appreciation of one’s own beauty is perfectly fine, but when it feels like it’s every other chapter, it can be a little bit overbearing.

Other times I thought that she acted like any other normal person would in that situation, or she acted like how her blood called to her and who she was. Overall I wasn’t totally thrilled with her character, but I’m hoping she’ll mellow out in the upcoming books and really hone her skills as a sidhe-seer. I was a little sad we got to see so little of her sidhe-seer skills in this book, but then again, it was only the beginning.

Jerico Barrons was a mysterious character throughout the whole novel. He acted much more mature than what his age perceived him to be, and that kind of threw me for a loop. He was very sort of domineering, always trying to be in charge, and Mac was always butting heads against him. I really want to get to know him better because I really don’t feel like I got a true feel for him, but I do have my theories that he, himself, is a Fae – we’ll just have to see if that theory is true!

V’lane, the Fae who drives human women to want sex like crazy, was also just as mysterious and only made two appearances in the book, but both times were highly erotic in ways that didn’t really involve touching or anything of the sort. His character just felt kind of put in there to me, like he was just there for certain plot points, but I’m sure he’ll make more appearances in further books.

Other than that, I really hope that the plot grows and that the characters grow, too. I felt like this book could have been a lot better and included so much more.

That’s also not to say this book was bad! Some of the descriptive elements helped to paint the picture of Dublin and the state in which it is in, and also it held elements that made me wondering what will happen next. If you want to give it a shot, definitely do so, but just remember that this is the first book in the series and that it’s just laying the foundation for the rest of the series.

I give this book a 3.5/5 stars and recommend it to anyone looking to get into some more adult urban fantasy.