Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Well, I have to be honest. I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would, which seems to be the case for a hefty number of books I’ve read over the past couple years. Still, I would say that I fairly enjoyed An Enchantment of Ravens.

It’s main strength is in its whimsical charm (the main character, Isobel, even lives in a town called Whimsy). The novel puts a unique twist on fairy mythology, but still has that feel of an old-timey fairy tale. It’s always summer because the aging Alder King, the fairy ruler of the summer court, has more power than any other being. Creatures constructed of bones, dirt, and magic rise from the earth and attack. Fairies enchant themselves to look like beautiful humans because they are naturally grotesque-looking. For example, Rook, the hero of the story, takes the guise of a handsome young man when he isn’t a raven, but his true appearance is skeletal and emaciated. This goes well with his position as the ruler of the autumn court, as if his body represents the transition from summer and life to winter and death.

So in short, the world-building itself is fascinating. The characters are individually likeable, too. Isobel may not be a born ass-kicker, but she is smart and cautious. Rook is both a goofball and a badass, but mostly a goofball. A vain goofball. It’s hard not to like him. And Gadfly is charming, clever, and morally ambiguous. I pictured him as Jeff Goldblum the entire time I was reading haha.

Unfortunately, the story’s main detriment is in its accelerated romance. I had a hard time believing that someone as discerning as Isobel could fall for a fairy, a being humans have been taught to fear, after only painting him for — what? A few days? A few weeks? It doesn’t really matter because, for the reader, it’s only a few pages. Also, I personally prefer a romance that’s primarily shown through dialogue and small gestures rather than makeout sessions and outright confessions of love. If the novel had been longer, the romance might have had more room to develop and the plot wrap-up wouldn’t have felt too easy.

Still, I plan on giving Rogerson’s work another chance. I’m looking forward to Sorcery of Thorns coming out this spring.

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