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Paint Me Like One Of Your Fae Girls

In An Enchantment of Ravens, Margaret Rogerson spins a fairy tale about what happens when you’re too good at your job.

Paint Me Like One Of Your Fae Girls

BOOK REPORT for An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Cover Story: Raven Big Face
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: A Is For Atmosphere
Bonus Factors: Faeries, Giant Treehouse, Standalone
Relationship Status: Campfire Storyteller

Cover Story: Raven Big Face

Anyone else a bit uncomfortable with how intensely this raven is staring us down? I’m guessing this is Rook in his raven form, protecting Isobel from any myriad of dangers. I like how there are visible brushstrokes mimicking a real painting, which is a nod to Isobel’s art. It’s fairly standard fantasy fare, but it’s pretty and catches my eye.

The Deal:

The town of Whimsy is a place frozen in endless summer, set on the edge of the faerie-lands where humans survive by trading their Craft with the fair folk for enchantments. The fair folk are unable to create anything substantial without magic, so they covet human items like dresses, cutlery, books—and especially art. Isobel is a portrait painter, a master of her Craft, and while her passion lies in oils and canvas, she does understand that by staying in her small town she’s confining herself to a small and stagnant existence.

Then one of her fair folk patrons recommends her services to the Autumn Prince, who hasn’t been seen in Whimsy in more than 300 years. He’s not like most of the detached, cold fair folk Isobel has met, and after weeks together, she manages to paint one of her best portraits, capturing real emotion in his eyes. But Isobel has no idea what damage she’s done, because feelings are considered the height of weakness in the fair folk, and she’s suddenly placed Rook in a very precarious position.

BFF Charm: Yay

Isobel would be my politest friend ever; she knows all the right curtseys and pleasantries, which makes sense when your continued existence depends on not offending magical sociopaths. She’s a dutiful niece to the aunt that’s raised her after her parents’ murder by magical beast, and a patient sister to her goats-turned-into-humans siblings. I loved that she carefully crafted the wording of the enchantments she traded for so they were iron-clad (heh) and super practical. She didn’t realize she longed for adventure until it tried to kill her, so when Rook ensorcels her to go to autumnland with him, she’s terrified but slightly exhilarated. I’m sure we could be friends, but between her all-day painting sessions and eventual kidnapping, I don’t think we’d ever find the time to hang out.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

I was worried when Isobel was instantly taken with Rook because of his unusual fair folk ways. She crushed on him pretty quickly without much build-up (that dreaded instalove!). Once he returned to steal her away, I was glad she at least had the sense to be Not Into It and declared her crush over.

But if entertainment has taught me anything it’s that it is tough to go on an extended nature hike—with something creepy around the next corner always out to kill you—and not start to feel some tingles for your travel companion. I wasn’t completely overwhelmed by Rook and Isobel’s attachment, but the author did provide enough reasoning why these two gravitated towards one another. Their relationship also contained a fair amount of humor despite the serious no-no they’re committing by falling in love, and I will always enjoy a romance more when it’s not all declarations of love and dramatic gestures.

Talky Talk: A Is For Atmosphere

I picked this up because I was in the mood for what I guessed would be a romance tinged with fantasy, rather than the other way around, and I was right in that assessment. Rogerson does a good job with her worldbuilding, taking what I assume are classic elements of faerie lore* and weaving in her own details. I (affectionately) refer to this type of story as an “on the road again adventure” because much of the action takes place en route from one location to another. While I wasn’t completely swept away by the romance itself, I did fall hard for Rogerson’s writing style; she perfectly captured that classic fairy tale feel, focusing on sensory-infused details and rich descriptions. I look forward to seeing what she writes next.

True story: I started reading this late at night (you’ll never stop me, adult responsibilities!) and when I checked the time at 11:30 p.m. I told myself, reasonably, that I would go to bed at midnight. When I looked at the clock again roughly ten minutes later (I swear), it was somehow 12:40 a.m.! This book went down so smoothly it literally made me lose time. At that point it would’ve been rude not to stay up and finish…so I did. #noregrets

*I’m a casual faerie fan, so my trivia knowledge stops at they hate iron, are big into nature, and look insanely beautiful but act insanely crazy.

Bonus Factor: Faeries

The fair folk in this story are compelled to respond to good manners, which made for some amusing moments, but then in the next second they’d do something cruel or psychopathic because they are really just giant, spoiled toddlers with inhuman powers and suddenly I was no longer laughing.

Bonus Factor: Giant Treehouse

Isobel ends up spending some time in a place with a really awesome(ly creepy) treehouse…and I do mean a treehouse: the walls, floor, and ceiling are made out of branches and leaves that are constantly growing, overtaking the artifacts scattered amongst its twisty halls.

Bonus Factor: Standalone

It can be so refreshing to put a book down after that last page and know you’re finished. No year-long dry spell awaits you; there are no cliffs to hang on, thereby ruining your manicure. Just a simple story, one and done. I did have some idle questions about the world once it was over (like why were the fair folk unable to make things? Could the green well do the opposite and turn a fair folk human?) but they weren’t the kind to keep me up at night.

Relationship Status: Campfire Storyteller

If we happened upon each other on the road, I’d share my fire with you, Book. I’ll give you part of my dinner if you simply tell me a story—you’ve got such a way with words.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. An Enchantment of Ravens is available now.

Stephanie Johnston's photo About the Author: Stephanie is an avid reader who moonlights as a college Educational Advisor. Though she now calls Orlando home, she grew up all over the U.S. Aside from her obsession with YA books and book-related activities, Stephanie loves watching way too much television, reading organizational/DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.