Title: An Enchantment of Ravens
Published: September 26, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Library Book
Synopsis: The town of Whimsy sits at the edge of the fae realm and they love all human Craft, which the fae cannot create. Isobel is a painter who has many fair folk patrons. But when she paints human emotion in the autumn prince’s eyes, he takes her to the fae realm to stand trial. But with danger along the way, a different path unfolds…
To be honest, I wasn’t going to read this book in the beginning. I felt like it would’ve been another cliche YA fantasy book and with people also comparing elements of it to ACOTAR, that also turned me off. But after a co-worker of mine read it and enjoyed it, I decided to give it a chance. So after getting it from the library, I was whisked off on the most unexpected journey. NOTE: This is NOT ACOTAR! While this is a fae book, this story is completely its own and shouldn’t be compared to that book at all. But here are five reasons why this book was perfect for me.
1. Isobel as a MC: This girl proved to be one of my new all time favorite characters. Isobel is a mature person (with flaws of course), who deals with the fair folk often. She uses polite etiquette to make sure she’s not caught by a fair folk’s tricky intentions to get back at her. But as she goes on her journey with Rook, the autumn prince, she surprised me with how aware she was of her emotions, her actions and also, how smart she is. She doesn’t constantly get distracted by Rook’s attractive nature; when he takes her away, she tries to find ways to escape and even thinks about leaving him when he’s down. She says many times that if something sounds too good to be true, it always is and she sticks to that. She doesn’t let herself become distracted by what’s happening around her. Here are some quotes from the book that show ways that I loved this MC:
“Why fair folk so desired portraits was beyond me. I supposed it had something to do with vanity, and their insatiable thirst to surround themselves with human Craft. They would never reflect on their youth, because they knew nothing else, and by the time they died, if they did, their portraits would be long rotted away to nothing.” (pg. 3)
“And as the years passed I grew disenchanted with enchantments, which were just as much a lie. No matter how cleverly they were worded, all but the most mundane, practical spells soured with age. Those that weren’t cleverly worded ruined lives.” (pg. 12)
“Therefore, I beg you to excuse my foolishness when I say that suddenly, I wanted that smell more than anything I had ever wanted before. I wanted it with a terrifying thirst. Not him, exactly, but rather whatever great, mysterious change it represented- a promise that somewhere, the world was different.” (pg. 20)
“Then it happens to you, and you understand you aren’t any different from those girls after all. Oh, they still seem just as absurd- you’ve simply joined them, in quite a humbling way. But isn’t absurdity part of being human? We aren’t ageless creatures who watch centuries pass from afar. Our worlds are small, our lives are short and we can only bleed a little before we fall.” (pgs. 47-48)
This girl knows she’s being absurd with being attracted to Rook, but also reminds herself and the reader that that is part of being human. It’s completely true! We don’t always understand feeling we have or actions that we do. That’s why Isobel stands out to me: she knows that being absurd is being human and makes her relatable to the reader.
2. Subjects the Book Covers
All I’m going to say is that the author tackles subjects like what it means to be human, searching your feelings for the truth, politeness, loving someone despite their flaws and immortality that felt magical and also grounded 🙂
This was the most unexpected part of the book, but it helped with the magical reading experience. Fae don’t understand human needs, customs and other things and that gives room for some funny scenes between Rook and Isobel. Here’s a couple examples:
“I assure you, most humans aren’t accustomed to going a full day without a meal.” He continued looking deeply skeptical, so I added in a steadfast tone,”I’m feeling quite poorly. In fact, I can’t take another step. If I don’t eat soon, I may die.” His hair practically stood on end. I almost felt bad for him. “Stay here,” he said urgently, and vanished. The leaves he’d been standing on eddied as though stirred by a draft. (pg. 81)
“My sisters weren’t precisely human. They’d begun life as a pair of goat kids before a fair one had had too much wine and enchanted them on a lark. It was slow going, but I reminded myself that at least it was going. This time last year they hadn’t been house trained. At it worked in their favor that their transformative enchantment had rendered part of them more or less indestructible: I’d seen March survive eating a broken pot, poison oak, deadly nightshade and several unfortunate salamanders without ill effects. For all my concern, March jumping off cabinets posed more danger to the kitchen furniture.” (pg. 8)
I loved the romance in this book, coming from someone whose found few YA romances I actually like. This was the perfect balance of acceptance, humor, sometimes untrusting, uncertainty and falling in love. The chemistry between Rook and Isobel is inescapable. Isobel knows she felt infatuation towards Rook and doesn’t know if she loves him, but things do change over time and how circumstances change. Their romance felt natural with how it progressed. People argue that this book has “instalove” and I argue that they’re wrong. Instalove is when you immediately fall in love with someone; Romeo and Juliet are the prime example. They only know they love each other and nothing gets away of that; they never question what they truly feel. But this book shows how someone can come into your life, show truths you never noticed and also learn more about yourself. Here’s the prime example I found to support this thought:
“I was no longer certain what I’d felt for Rook back in the parlor truly had been love. It had felt like it at the time. I’d never experienced anything like it before. But I’d hardly known him, even though in my feverish infatuation I’d felt as though we’d been confiding in each other for years. Could you really love someone that way, when all they were to you was a pleasant illusion?” (pg. 137)
Don’t go into this book believing what negative reviews people have said. The change Isobel goes through is great. I would say though that Laini Taylor fans will love this book 🙂
5. That Special Feeling
You know when you’re reading a book and you just get pulled in every time you read it? You feel like this book was meant for you and that it connects with you on more levels than you can explain? That’s how I felt reading this book. This was pure magic every time I opened it back up. It was magical, funny, beautiful, romantic and that affected me a lot. I’ve never had, or rarely had, a reading experience like this. It’s these special feelings that make us love books and love reading. After I finished this book, if I had the time, I would immediately read it again. Could it have been longer? I wouldn’t have complained. While there seems to be no sequel at all, I still loved this book dearly. The magic still hasn’t left me after finishing it a couple days ago. This was true human Craft 🙂
Have you read this book? Are you excited to read it? If you’ve read it, what do you think of it?