Review of An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
I chose An Enchantment of Ravens because I had seen quite a few recommendations of it online. I wanted something to listen to while driving, as the other book I’m currently reading is not available in audiobook format and this one seemed like a perfect choice to get me through the work week, so I purchased it via Audible. Turns out, I loved it so much I may or may not have ordered it from Amazon and paid extra for one-day shipping so I could finish it that way. (The audiobook is fantastic though!)
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, I’d seen it recommended to those that love Sarah J. Maas novels, but had also seen contradictions to those recommendations as well. But overall, those who read it said they loved it, even if it wasn’t what they thought it would be. The best way I can describe this is that its a fairytale, but a twisted fairytale, rather than your traditional “and they lived happily-ever-after” type story.
I found myself engrossed with this story within just a few pages. The descriptions are rich, the writing almost lyrical. One thing was clear from the start, Margaret Rogerson knows how to write a beautiful story. When she introduces a new concept or word, she weaves the meaning of it right into the story, its explanation never felt out of place or for the benefit of the reader only. The only real fault I can give her writing is that I found myself a little lost a couple of times, feeling as though I missed something that had happened because the action of it was so subtle or implied through her writing that I had to go back and reread a sentence.
“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?”
In this story, fair folk and mortals trade with each other, enchantments for Craft. A fair folk’s Craft is their enchantment, but they value the Craft of mortals over all else, as it is the one thing they cannot create themselves. Vice versa, mortals find themselves enthralled with the possibilities of a fair folk’s enchantments and many find it hard to resist the opportunity to have one bestowed upon them, even if there is always a catch to it. Our main character, Isobel has learned to be clever when negotiating the terms of her enchantments, considering all possibilities and choosing those that benefit her family and their survival, rather than those that serve only vanity or greed.
Isobel’s Craft is her painting and she has become sought out by the fair folk above all other mortals. This has created an advantage and disadvantage for her, for she knows the fair folk better than any other but it has also garnered her attention she isn’t certain she is prepared for. When Isobel is informed that the autumn prince, Rook, plans to come calling, she worries of the implications if her Craft is found to be unsatisfactory.
However, Isobel finds that Rook isn’t quite what she had in mind and finds herself drawn to his almost human emotions, even if his aloofness in how to interact with her almost confounds her. For who could be so rude and yet so charming in one sentence? Soon thereafter, a misunderstanding finds Isobel and Rook forced to trust one another for their own mutual survival and with it comes a greater awareness of the other and what comes with the trust they have given.
One aspect I loved is as the story progresses, Isobel finds, with her Craft, she can create her own catch, as the fair folk often do with their enchantments. Isobel learns how to use this knowledge to her advantage, for more than herself and her family may depend upon its implications.
The characters were fantastic, with depth and ulterior motives I did not expect or see coming. Their actions left me feeling sorrow, pride and betrayal. At first I thought this would be another insta-love romantic fairytale, but those feelings were soon quashed within the first few chapters. While Isobel and Rook have an undeniable attraction to each other, their world will not permit the growth of such feelings, for the consequences are dire.
Overall, I found this story fast-paced and an entertainingly quick read because of its ability to instantly draw me in. I enjoyed Rogerson’s take on the fair folk, creating something more akin to traditional fairy characteristics, something to fear and be wary of, rather than pine over. As I stated previously, this story is a twisted fairytale through-and-through. I’d be lying if I said I don’t hope for the chance to return to Isobel and Rook’s world in the future!
Lastly, I’d like to comment on the stunning cover art by Charlie Bowater. I felt the artwork really captures the atmosphere of the story. I suggest you check out more of her art, she has some wonderful pieces portraying other favorite book characters!