An Enchantment of Ravens
by Margaret Rogerson
* * * * Stars (Great!)
Isobel, a human girl living in Whimsy, a human settlement within the bounds of the Fair Folk, is only seventeen, but she is a master of her Craft – painting – and fair folk are always seeking her out to paint their portraits. When she learns that the autumn prince, Rook, is returning, specifically to commission a painting from her, Isobel rushes to make sure that everything is ready. He surprises her, however, by being both like and unlike his people. She sees something in his eyes that she struggles to bring to life on her canvas. When she succeeds in the end, she feels triumphant, but the prince returns in a rage, and drags her off to face trial for shaming him before his people. What did she do wrong? After facing several malevolent beasts as well as the Hunt, both admit to having feelings for one another. Unfortunately, their love is forbidden by the Alder King’s law, and when it is discovered (after they take refuge with Gadfly in the springlands) their lives are forfeit. There are hard choices to be made, and if they survive, they will never be the same.
Isobel and the other humans in Whimsy have a really fascinating relationship with the Fair Folk – humans are adept at Craft (art, writing, cooking, sewing, etc.) which the Fair Folk admire, but cannot create themselves. They have developed a unique system of trade where Craft is exchanged for enchantments (the wording of which must be very specific, for although the Fair Folk cannot lie, they are mischievous and devious and will often enchant humans in ways they did not expect/imagine). Isobel and Rook’s feelings for one another seem to develop rather quickly, but overall the story is detailed, rich, and clever. Readers will be eager for a sequel to see what Isobel accomplishes next.
Reviewed by YA Librarian