Desert Isle Keeper
An Enchantment of Ravens
From the moment I heard about An Enchantment of Ravens, I knew I had to read it. It looked like exactly the kind of dark paranormal romance I usually love, and it was every bit as grand a reading experience as I was hoping it would be.
Isobel and her family live in the village of Whimsy, a human settlement not far from the lands ruled by the Fair Folk. Although the two races will never be friends, the Fair Folk tolerate humans in order to avail themselves of human craft because they are unable to create even the simplest of things without magic. If they so much as put pen to paper, or thread a needle, they’ll turn to dust.
Since early childhood, Isobel has been a masterful portrait artist and her portraits are highly sought after by Fair Folk and humans alike. The Fair Folk pay her in magic rather than actual money, something that suits Isobel just fine. Her family will never want for food, clothing, or shelter, due to the many enchantments her clients have cast for her.
When Rook, the prince of the Autumn Lands, approaches Isobel to have his portrait painted, she’s caught off guard. Rook is her first royal client, and she wants desperately to please him. After all, his magic is far greater than any she’s previously encountered, and Isobel’s aunt and two younger sisters are sure to benefit from whatever enchantment she convinces him to cast as payment. Plus, there’s something about Rook that speaks to Isobel’s very soul, something that sets him apart from the other Fair Folk she’s painted.
It doesn’t take her long to finish the portrait, and, in her opinion, it’s her very best work – Rook seems to practically leap from the canvas. Unfortunately, Rook does not agree with Isobel’s assessment of the painting, for she has painted him with an expression of human sorrow. Now Rook is out to save face, for human emotion is seen as a weakness by his subjects, and such weakness is likely to cost him his life.
Rook is enraged by what he sees as Isobel’s betrayal, and he demands she accompanies him deep into the lands ruled by the Fair Folk to stand trial for her transgression. Their eventual destination is the Autumn Lands, which is quite a distance from the village where Isobel makes her home. Their journey proves to be quite perilous, as trouble befalls them pretty soon after they start out. Rook has many enemies, and he and Isobel are forced to rely on one another in order to stay alive.
It doesn’t take Isobel long to realize she’s a little bit in love with Rook. Sure, he’s arrogant and demanding, but he’s also the most beautiful creature she’s ever laid eyes on and perhaps his most important attribute is his seeming ability to actually care about her. Maybe he’s just keeping her alive until her trial, but Isobel is convinced there’s more to it than that.
According to something called The Good Law, the two races must never become romantically involved with one another so a romantic entanglement between Rook and Isobel is completely out of the question. The penalty for breaking this law is most often death, but some humans have managed to beat the odds and become Fair Folk themselves, thus enabling them to spend eternity with their beloved. Isobel, however is determined to avoid this fate, for becoming one of the Fair Folk will cost her her ability to paint.
Once I started reading this book, I hated having to put it down. The world building is fantastic, and I loved the author’s take on faery lore. Ms. Rogerson’s Fair Folk are very similar to other faery creatures I’ve read about, but she also puts her own spin on them, making them completely her own. They’re totally without feeling, something that adds an extra layer of darkness to the story, and I was completely captivated by Isobel’s attempts to retain her humanity while in their midst.
The romance between Isobel and Rook is slow, but very believable. Both are aware of the price they’ll be forced to pay for giving into their feelings, but neither is able to completely lay those feelings to rest. Watching them come together was a true joy.
If you loved A Court of Thorns and Roses, you won’t want to miss An Enchantment of Ravens. My only complaint is the fact that it appears to be a standalone novel. I sincerely hope Ms. Rogerson decides to return to this world filled with equal parts mystery and majesty in the very near future.