An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Goodreads synopsis: 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.
I had very high expectations of this book, going in, and I’d heard so much hype about this book. The synopsis really intrigued me: I loved the idea that a consequence of becoming immortal was that you had to sacrifice all forms of art, including cooking, writing and painting, since they involve human emotions and faeries can’t feel in that way. It was a very interesting concept for a book. There were some parts I really loved, the descriptions of painting, for instance, were breathtaking and very detailed, and I fell in love with them.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the characters. I thought Isobel was okay, and Rook was fine, but I just couldn’t seem to connect to either of them enough to care what happened to them. When they were in danger, I just kinda shrugged. I wasn’t sat at the edge of my seat, frantically scanning through the pages. I think part of it was that An Enchantment of Ravens fell into that age-old pitfall of ‘insta-love.’ The author tries to avoid it, by explaining that the painting took some time, and therefore they had many afternoons to get to know each other, but because that happens off-page, it just sort of feels a bit instantaneous and rushed. And since it was such a short book, I thought it could have done a lot more with the romance between the two. If they had, I probably would have cared more about what happens to Isobel and Rook. The plot twists were pretty good, and I was entertained enough that the book didn’t feel like a drag, but I didn’t really feel enough about it to rate it amongst other books which do this kind of thing better.
6/10 stars. It was readable, and there were parts I enjoyed, but it isn’t going to be one I remember much about.