An Enchantment of Ravens - Margaret Rogerson

After a while reading a particular genre, it takes a talented author to make a well-worn story idea and turn it into something new - this is particularly true of those stories where humans and fae interact, like An Enchantment of Ravens. In the end, this was a well-written book that definitely worked for me and the fact it seemed to take forever to finish was much more about me than the book itself. 

 

Our protagonist is Isobel, a teenage painter living in Whimsy, which is a place where human and fae freely interact. The fae come to Whimsy for the things they can't do themselves, which is essentially anything that comes within the category of Craft: making food, clothes or anything to do with art. Whimsy is also in the grip of the Alder King, so it's always summer there and never autumn, even though the fae from other lands visit and bring something of themselves. 

 

Isobel's portraits of the fae are in demand, which is all very well until the arrival of Rook - as king of the autumn lands, his reign is always under threat at the first sign of weakness and Isobel paints him as she sees him, with a suspiciously human emotion visible on his face. This act, and the relationship she has forged with him over the time Rook has sat for his painting, put both of them at risk along with the entirety of Whimsy. Hijinks ensue. 

 

Although it was obvious from the outset that there would be a romantic relationship between Isobel and Rook, the author doesn't shy away from showing that humans and fae are definitely different in many ways. The fae use glamour to hide their true appearance, so even what Isobel has painted is not what Rook truly looks like, just makes him different enough from the other fae to be at risk. Isobel herself is capable and competent, not a shrinking violet who needs to be rescued, and that was one aspect of the story which I really liked.

 

Another positive - this a standalone novel, so there's resolution here, which makes for a pleasant surprise when we're usually faced with an endless procession of trilogies and longer. I'll definitely be checking out this author's next book, Sorcery of Thorns, as I enjoyed this one so much.