TITLE: AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS
AUTHOR: MARGARET ROGERSON
PUBLISHED: 26TH SEPTEMBER 2017
PUBLISHER: MCELDERRY BOOKS
RATING: 3.5/5 STARS
“Yet no matter what they were doing, everyone in the forest waited with an indrawn breath, waiting for the taste of autumn, the smell of change, the first news of a king and queen unlike any the world had known before.”
An Enchantment of Ravens lies somewhere between a Miyazaki film and a Sarah J. Maas novel. The setting was whimsical and weird and all sorts of wonderful. The characters were witty and out of tune with reality: vicious, devious faeries, powerful royals, and thoughtful, hopeful humans intermingled.
An Enchantment of Ravens follows Isobel, a portrait artist with a clientele of dangerous fair folk. They seek after her Craft, unable to paint, write, or create anything themselves. Their efforts simply turn to dust. Isobel’s Craft earns her the honour of painting the portrait of the Autumn prince, Rook. But when he arrives, she makes a mistake, painting mortal sorrow in his eyes. In a fury, Rook spirits her away to the faerie lands, where she is to stand trial for her crime.
I adored the beginning of this book. It had me hooked from the first sentence. The chapters spent with Isobel and Rook in her studio were so delicate and lovely, and I was praising the beautiful writing and clever plot in each new page. Then something happened. The story became…not clever anymore? I’m not quite sure when, or why, but suddenly what I had thought was going to be a really interesting look at the insta-love trope, just became a little ridiculous, unrealistic, and annoying.
The characters on the whole were also ridiculous, unrealistic, and sometimes annoying. But…it worked? Perhaps it was the whimsical, Miyazaki vibes, but the something that felt off about this story, was also sort of what made it work. Even now, months after finishing it, I remember the weird yet curious and playful tone of the characters, relationships and settings.
However, all of this whimsy could not hide what felt like a massive lack of any gripping story. I couldn’t work out what the story really was for most of the book. I was not always sure of the point of certain scenes, and never felt hooked on the plot.
I was debating for a while as to whether this book should have that extra .5 of a star. If I hadn’t loved this book so dearly for the first third of the story, I think I would have taken it off. The writing was so gorgeous and dreamy and witty that I would definitely pick up whatever Rogerson writes next. I think that this story just wasn’t as great, or as developed, as I was hoping it would be.