Thursday, March 22, 2018

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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. 

“Frankly, I had no idea how anyone knew if they were in love in the first place. Was there ever a single thread a person could pick out from the knot and say “Yes—I am in love—here’s the proof!” or was it always caught up in a wretched tangle of ifs and buts and maybes?”
An Enchantment of Ravens was a somewhat enjoyable read. I felt like I spent the entire book doing one of two things: watching Isobel paint or walking through the woods. At first I enjoyed the descriptions of curves and colors, but then I think my mind started to skip over those details. They were lovely illustrations, but there were a lot of them.

Rook and Isobel have an odd relationship that doesn't always make sense. I felt like I was picking a flower and saying, "She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me..." I never knew how they truly felt about each other, but somehow everyone else did. I wish we had learned more about Rook's raven pendant (and the story behind it), because I feel like that would have answered a lot of my questions. Isobel seemed very isolated from the world, but savvy in the ways of faerie. People were awed by her Craft and proximity to the Fair Folk, but she didn't seem to have single friend. 

I was really disappointed when it felt like I was always one-step ahead of the characters. It was a little frustrating waiting for them to figure things out, and honestly I thought Rook would have been more knowledgeable about his world. It seems like a lot of things happen that he isn't prepared for, yet he's a Prince of Faerie. He's supposed to be crazy powerful, but we don't see him use that power too often, and never when it's needed.

Overall, I liked the story. I feel like things either didn't make sense, or they clicked into place too easily. An Enchantment of Ravens just didn't wow me like I thought it would.

38 comments:

  1. Hmmm I would expect Rook to know more about his world too if he's a part of it and a prince even. It's frustrating sometimes when characters don't seem to realize or know things that are obvious to the reader. Glad it was still enjoyable though.

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    1. All of the other faeries twist their words, but Rook doesn't seem very conniving. It's hard to see how he's maintained his position for centuries without someone challenging him. Since he isn't manipulative and evil, he would have to be ridiculously strong, which he's supposed to be. I just felt like he was too easily overpowered more than once. He never had this great big show of power that people seemed to fear but not fear.

      The story was nice, and I enjoyed the world, but it just didn't thrill me.

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  2. Reviews seem to be really split on this one, and you seem to be in the middle. Sorry it didn't meet your exceptions, but if it makes you feel any better, your review made me smile. "Rook and Isobel have an odd relationship that doesn't always make sense. I felt like I was picking a flower and saying, 'She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me...'" <-- loved this.

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    1. Haha! Thank you! They kept going back and forth with their feelings. Do I love him? Yes! Wait...no. Maybe? The flower thing just popped into my head! I remember doing things like that as a kid.

      I was pretty solidly in the middle with this one. There were aspects I really liked, but then there was lot that fell short for me.

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  3. Ah bummer! This sounds like it would be a miss for me as well... Great review!

    Erica | Erica Robyn Reads

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    1. You could always try it just in case! I hadn't read too many reviews for this one before I started it, or I might not have read it myself. I'm glad I did, though. There were some really pretty parts, but overall didn't amaze me like I thought it would.

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  4. This isn't my typical read and it doesn't sound like this was a WOW type book so I will probably skip. The cover is pretty though :) Great review!

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    1. It didn't wow me, but I felt like it could have. I wish a few things had been done a little differently, but I agree about the cover!

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  5. That’s a lovely cover and the premise sounds interesting. It’s too bad it wasn’t great.

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    1. I really like the cover, too! I had hoped for more after reading the premise, but alas...

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  6. Sorry to hear you didn't like this one as much as you'd hoped.

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    1. It was okay, but not something I'll read again.

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  7. I don’t often reach for fantasy but even so this one has kind of been on my radar. Reading your thoughts on it makes me think I should probably just skip it. The fact that you were constantly figuring things out ahead of the characters would get old - and I’d be left wondering why Rook didn’t know more about his own world. Weird. Sorry this wasn’t a bigger hit for you.

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    1. I love fantasy! It's one of the reasons this book appealed to me so much. It just didn't feel very fantastical. Yes, they live in Faerie, and the perspective was different, but there wasn't much else that stood out. I guess Craft, maybe?

      I think the ending was supposed to be some big surprise, but the not-so-subtle hints dropped throughout the book didn't leave much to the imagination. There were one or two things that I didn't anticipate, but there was too much that was obvious. Rook really needed to know more about his people and world.

      It's okay! There is always another book, and this one seems to have appealed to others. Personal preference!

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  8. Sounds annoying lol

    Is it a series? I do love that cover.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. It was slightly annoying, lol.

      I don't think it will be a series! The ending seemed final.

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  9. Being an old fairie one would think he would know a few things...

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  10. That cover wows me, though sad to see the story didn't wow you

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    1. Love the cover! The story was okay. It was somewhat enjoyable, or I wouldn't have finished it.

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  11. It is too bad when a book doesn't quite live up to your expectations. I can have a hard time with books that become overly descriptive myself.

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    1. I just feel like it went on and on with her paints and the colors, and then how she painted this, this and this. At one point she paints something, and I honestly don't know how she didn't run out of somethings to paint. I don't know... a lot of things just didn't sit well with me.

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  12. I remember being so excited for this book when it was coming out, but then there were immediately so many mixed reviews, many with similar complaints to what you experienced while reading. I'll probably still read this at some point but have definitely decided that it's not a priority read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the book!

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    1. Definitely read it! I think mixed reviews means it's for some people and not others. I think I fell squarely in the middle on this one. I adored the concept for this book, but think a lot of things could have been done in fewer pages, or just not mentioned at all. It didn't click with me, you know? It's hard to explain sometimes when a book isn't a love or hate.

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  13. I still want to read this and will probably grab it from my library (already checked it out once but didn't get to it). However, sounds like the story inside doesn't live up to that beautiful cover!

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    1. The first part of the book takes place in her house (goes on and on), the middle part takes place in the woods (forever...), and the end is a little sporadic. The Big Bad isn't really addressed until the end, but I think it would have been more fun if the Big Bad had a more prominent role throughout. I think it would have added more conflict to the story. However, it felt like the characters take longer than necessary to reach the climax.

      Adore the cover!

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    2. Also, you should definitely still read it for yourself! You might feel differently.

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  14. It is frustrating when you feel you're ahead of the characters in figuring things out, or when they have powers and don't use them! Overly descriptive writing can really bog a plot down, too. I don't think this one would work for me. Great review, Lindsi! :)

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    1. Thanks, Rachel! In some books you're supposed to know before the characters, and I don't mind that when it's written well, but I don't think I was supposed to know (or guess) major plot points before they happened. It just fell into place too easily, you know? I wasn't like, "OMG DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN?!" It was a nice story, though.

      Very descriptive! I enjoyed it at first, but then not so much.

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    2. Rook really annoyed me. He's "so powerful" but doesn't seem to ever use those powers until the end, and even then... ack.

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  15. Wile some complicated things, it looks good in a whole. The cover is really beautiful in any case

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    1. Even though I had my issues, I still enjoyed the book. If I didn't like it a little, I would have stopped reading it long before the end. The cover is gorgeous!

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  16. great review! I haven’t read this one yet but theres been a lot of buzz about it lately so I might have to check it out! Be honest is this book worth my time?

    Happy reading :)

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    1. It depends on your reading preferences, how you like to read books, etc. Like, I didn't mind listening to this as an audiobook in the background while I did other things. I enjoyed listening to it, but I wasn't upset if I missed a few things. I know there has been a lot of buzz for this one, and I can see why, but it fell flat for me in a few areas.

      I do think you should read it, because what I didn't like might be what you love! You'll never know unless you try.

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  17. AWWW It's always sad when one doesn't enjoy a book, but I totally get why. It sounds like I wouldn't enjoy it either. Thank you for your thoughtful review!
    -Lupe @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

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    1. Thank you! I did enjoy it, just not as much as I thought I would! I finished it! I don't hesitate to DNF a book if it isn't working for me, so it was at least worth completing.

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  18. This one didn't meet my expectations unfortunately. I too wanted to know more about Rook and his past.

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    1. I felt like he was so mysterious and yet he's one of the main characters. I still didn't really know much about him at the end. Who was the girl? Did she have a Craft? What actually went on between them? The Good Law? What has he being doing since then? I was left with so many questions when this ended.

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