Goodreads: An Enchantment of Ravens
Source: City Book Review
Published: September 26, 2017
Isobel is renowned for her portrait painting, and the beautiful, deadly fair folk are her most prestigious patrons, being unable to engage in any creative Craft themselves without losing their immortality. She has perfected her dealing with them and their tricksy wish-granting to an art itself—until the day she paints human emotion into the Autumn Prince’s eyes—a weakness—and must stand trial for her treachery.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into An Enchantment of Ravens, but I think I anticipated that this would be more of a fantasy adventure novel and less of a paranormal romance. I like romance in books but not when the romance is the entire book of the book, which was one of the primary reasons An Enchantment of Ravens did not quite work for me. The other issue is that the book is fairly generic and just doesn’t stand out from the YA crowd or even from other human/Fae romances I’ve read.
The book starts intriguingly, with a description of a town called Whimsy and a fairy folk who have zero ability to perform Craft (which apparently includes “making” literally anything, from clothing to art to writing to food; don’t ask what these people eat since they can’t cook). However, as the book progresses, the world building gets more and more muddled, as Rogerson springs an increasing number of magic rules, customs, and creatures onto the readers. And, frankly, I still don’t understand how the world works at large, such as how one gets into the Fae lands or how one gets into the World Beyond (which seems to be the rest of the human world besides the single town of Whimsy?)
The romance is equally baffling at the beginning, since it’s not really clear how or when the protagonists fall in love. In theory, they have days of interaction; in reality, Rogerson fails to actually describe their conversations or what might have led to their romantic feelings. It’s not necessarily instalove because there is some build-up; it’s more that the build-up is bafflingly off-page. As the book progresses, the romance gets better, and I do think Rogerson has some talent in writing romantic tension and declarations of love. I simply wish she had used more of that talent at the start of the story.
Plot-wise, it seems as though things happen primarily because they are obstacles to the protagonists’ love. There’s not really a larger story here, even though there are hints about the transformative power of Isobel’s Craft that I would have loved to see further explored. I have seen some readers complain about the episodic nature of the beginning of the book. Episodic quests don’t inherently bother me, but it does seem here as if there’s no real purpose to a lot of the challenges that Isobel and the prince face.
Overall, the book is fine but not remarkable. If you’re normally a fan of Fae/human romances, like the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, An Enchantment of Ravens could be something to look into. If, like me, you want more adventure than romance, this might not be for you.