The Backlog: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson



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Title: An Enchantment of Ravens 
Author: Margaret Rogerson 
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: September 26th 2017
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Synopsis:
A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.



I received an advance copy of this book from Indigo Teen in exchange for an honest review.


What a delicious morsel of a book.

I didn't really understand why people didn't like this book and I heard a lot of mixed things about this book. Some absolutely adored it, and some really didn't like it at all. I admit I was really drawn in by the cover. And of course, the description of the book is tantalizing as well.

An Enchantment of Ravens follows Isobel, a girl who is talented with the Craft of painting. She paints portraits of faerie folk in exchange for enchantments, as the fae have a strong desire for items of Craft (such as paintings, books, cooking, etc) but are unable to create it themselves. Isobel is the most talented painter of her generation and has been chosen to paint the portraits of faerie folk and when she is tasked with painting the portrait of Rook, the Autumn Prince, she unknowingly put his position at risk when she paints a deeply human sorrow in his eyes. Angered by this, Rook spirits her away to the faerie lands to have her put on trial for her crime. However, danger lurks and soon they are on the run from The Wild Hunt.

This book is fairly short, just ending shy of 300 pages. I like my fantasy books THICK so it allows for time to world build in a way that's natural and allows for a deeper look at the world that's been created and not just a shallow exploration. With this book, it's kind of clear that more world building could have been done. There are things that are hinted at, but nothing is truly explored with a depth that I would have really desired. Like why is Whimsy stuck in an eternal summer? Why is the World Beyond so dangerous? I have some outstanding questions that could have easily been answered through further world building. However, while it is short, it feels complete in a way that I find satisfying. The brief length of the book and the shallow dip of the toes in water  that is the world building are simply a blip in the radar of the bigger picture -- a fitting metaphor for this book where there is emphasis on the vibrant, fleeting lives of humans in the yawning chasm of eternity that the fae must endure.

A large part of the problem that people have with this book is that there is no plot. And that's very true. There doesn't really seem to be a driving force in this book beyond the whims of the characters. There is an illusion of one with the "i need to put Isobel on trial. grrr", but really that gets dropped so quickly. This is very much a character book with the focus being on the relationship between Rook and Isobel and the consequences of their actions.

I really enjoyed the characterizations of the faerie folk in this book. It's always more fun when the faerie books are about how tricky and cruel and tantalizing the faerie can be. The faeries cannot create, so they seek humans to do it for them. They do not feel and cannot lie. And as one of the faeries mentions to Isobel, it is the humans who can create and make their eternal mark on the world while the faeries cannot, and can simply endure the span of time, observing.

The writing of this book is spectacular and overall, I really enjoyed this book for what it is. It is brief, but what an impact it makes.




Happy Reading!
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1 comment:

  1. I've been wanting to read this book but the mixed reviews have left me confused!! It's on my 2019 TBR and hopefully I'll get to it soon :) Great review!

    Uma@Books.Bags.Burgers.

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